Step into the fascinating world of Gianfranco Ferré, where fashion alchemy is unveiled. That’s how we can summarise the spirit behind “The Alchemist of Fashion: Unveiling the Formula of Gianfranco Ferré” exhibition, curated by the students of the Master in Art Management and Art and Fashion Curatorship at Istituto Marangoni Firenze (including myself) in collaboration with WP Store, WP Archive and WP Repair.
“The Alchemist of Fashion: Unveiling the Formula of Gianfranco Ferré,” an exhibition curated by Istituto Marangoni Firenze Master's students in collaboration with WP
The exhibition, divided into two spaces, was a real highlight of the Pitti Immagine Uomo week, showcasing the craftsmanship of Ferré’s unfinished garments in the Bottega area of the WP Store in Florence, while the Cabinet of Curiosities, located in the WP loft, presented a captivating journey through four thematic sections. As a curator, I invite you to join me in exploring this extraordinary exhibition about the so-called “architect of fashion,” experiencing the show on the screen as if you were walking through its rooms.
Opening the doors to Ferré’s creative process
Gianfranco Ferré's Bottega recreated at the WP Store in Florence
Visitors entering the Bottega are immediately immersed in the essence of Gianfranco Ferré’s creative process. Unfinished garments adorn the space, offering a unique glimpse into the mind of the master designer. Each piece shows the meticulous attention to detail and innovative techniques Ferré employed. The Bottega allows us to appreciate the beauty of his sketches that come to life here while capturing the craftsmanship of the finished products.
The enchanting loft experience
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As they climb to the loft, visitors are greeted by the Cabinet of Curiosities, an enchanting space divided into four thematic sections.
The Cabinet of Curiosities inside the WP Relais in via della Vigna Nuova in Florence
The first section, “Elements,” captured the essence of nature that inspired Gianfranco Ferré, with garments reflecting earth, air, fire, and water. The second section, “Runway Architecture,” transports us to the catwalk, showcasing Ferré’s architectural approach to fashion, seamlessly blending structure and movement.
Embarking on a fashionable journey
The third thematic section, “Voyage Oriental,” inside the loft of the WP Relais
Continuing our voyage, the third section, “Voyage Oriental,” invites us to embark on a journey into fashion influenced by the East. Intricate details and vibrant colours evoke the richness of Eastern cultures, blending with Ferré’s unmistakable style.
The fourth section, “Medieval”
Finally, the fourth section, “Medieval,” transports us to a bygone era, where we can discover Ferré’s reinterpretation of medieval aesthetics, bridging the gap between history and contemporary fashion.
The heart of Ferré’s legacy
Focusing on preserving Ferré’s legacy, we carefully selected every garment and object on display from the WP Archive in Bologna – in 2014, WP Archive acquired part of Gianfranco Ferré’s historical archive.
The section named “Voyage Oriental” invites visitors to embark on a journey into fashion influenced by the East
Our primary goal? To show the visionary man behind the garments, shedding light on Gianfranco Ferré as a person, not just a designer. We hope to have created a bond between visitors and this creative genius to give you an insight into his inspirations, ideas and unique approach to fashion.
A curator’s perspective
As one of the curators of this unique exhibition, I can share with you the impact it had on its first visitors. The exhibition immediately sparked conversations, evoked emotions and inspired a new generation of designers.
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Since its opening, this testament to Gianfranco Ferré’s unparalleled vision has highlighted how essential it is to preserve his legacy for years to come. The collaboration between Istituto Marangoni students, WP Store, WP Archive and WP Repair demonstrates the power of collective effort and a shared passion for fashion history.
A medieval-inspired look by Gianfranco Ferré as shown in “The Alchemist of Fashion: Unveiling the Formula of Gianfranco Ferré” exhibition
When visiting the exhibition, many said that “The Alchemist of Fashion: Unveiling the Formula of Gianfranco Ferré” took them on a fascinating journey through the creative mind of a fashion legend. From the works-in-progress displayed in the Bottega to the thematic sections in the Cabinet of Curiosities, it is all about an immersion into the magic of Ferré.