Fairplay

  • Room 01: Identity ITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 02: DemocracyITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 03: LogomaniaITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 04: DioramaITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 05: Project RoomITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 06: BazaarITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 07: PostproductionITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 08: GlocalITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Room 09: The Italy of ObjectsITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001
  • Maria Luisa Frisa
By Sofia Celeste - 16 March 2018

Fashion's Curator: Maria Luisa Frisa on Italiana, her latest masterpiece

MILAN, ITALY - Maria Luisa Frisa, a critic and curator, whose exhibits embody the essence of Italian fashion, cut the ribbon last month on Italiana. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001." Italiana kicked off the Milan ready to wear shows and will run until May 6. It was co-curated with W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi and promoted and produced by the city of Milan and the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. Some 130 looks by top designers from Giorgio Armani to the late Gianni Versace served to tell a page of a history that begins from the first runway show staged in Milan by Walter Albini up until the fashion that was born amid the financial boom and after the 9/11 attacks.

Fairplay chatted with Frisa, who is also the director of the multimedia arts and fashion graduate course Venice's IUAV university... and has made her unmistakable mark on the some of the most emblematic exhibits of our time: Gucci Museo's "Garden Galleria" and Museo Salvatore Ferragamo's "Between Art and Fashion"... just to name a few.

You have written about everyone from Diana Vreeland to Donatella Versace to Walter Albini. You’re THE storyteller. Do you consider yourself a historian of fashion?

Stories interest me, but I am not a historian. I look at the past because it is necessary for the present. I consider myself a professor and an art critic.

You actually started out in magazines. In the 1980s you worked with Stefano Tonchi on Westuff. Where did your interest in fashion come from?

I have always loved fashion and I have always loved dressing up a lot. If you love dressing up, then you are a person who loves fashion. But my interest in the industry really started with Stefano and Westuff. That was a real turning point and then Giorgio Armani called me to work on the Emporio Armani magazine.

I was really impressed by the latest exhibit at the newly revamped Gucci Museum. Sure there was some Tom Ford and Frida Giannini in there but there was a LOT of Michele, who has worked as its creative director for such a short time. Why is that?

I think that it was really about a journey through the archive and since its is not an archive, but a gallery, everything that is being exhibit dates from the turn of the 20th century to now. It was logical that Michele’s presence is interesting and it was important to tell Gucci’s story through Michele’s eyes and with his sensibilities. I had carte blanche for this project that gave it a contemporary feeling. Everything from his “guccification” from the Gucci logo to the double “G”.

How is Italian fashion being appreciated in the world? Do people think this is where the origins of fashion lie?

I don’t think that we need to change anything to get to know the history of Italian fashion better. What we have forgotten to do is tell our story. We have forgotten to tell the story of our identity and qualities to define what Italian fashion really is.

Your latest exhibit is called “ITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001” What was the reasoning behind all the key events on the timeline? Some are random like Silvio Berlusconi and the publication of Donna…

Italiana is not just a show about fashion that tells the story of an environment and design and fashion and art. There are things that happened that are logical. It’s all subjective and can also be critical. Choices are choices. Someone else may have chosen other events.

I remember 2001. Milan was so different and it really seemed like fashion’s heyday. How was it for you?

2001, is a symbol. It is also when the twin towers fell and the world’s equilibrium changed and a new point of view was formed. It was also the year that large luxury groups started to buy Italian brands. The euro also came along one year later. And that also changed the equilibrium of Italian fashion.

How do you feel about the new creative minds that are shaping fashion and the new emerging talent that has arisen from Milan?

Italy is really demonstrating that it is an author of fashion and that it is a reference for the whole world. There are people in their 40s like Alessandro Michele that are the designers of the moment. Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior and Riccardo Tisci of Burberry. There are also ceos that are Italians that have made a name for themselves abroad. There is also this new generation forming here in Milan that includes Pierpaolo Piccioli, as well as Marco de Vincenzo, Fausto Puglisi… and Arthur Arbesser (who is not from here but works here) and they all have so much personality. The list really goes on but it is logical that Italian style is different.

  

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

MILAN, ITALY - Maria Luisa Frisa, a critic and curator, whose exhibits embody the essence of Italian fashion, cut the ribbon last month on Italiana. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001." Italiana kicked off the Milan ready to wear shows and will run until May 6. It was co-curated with W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi and promoted and produced by the city of Milan and the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. Some 130 looks by top designers from Giorgio Armani to the late Gianni Versace served to tell a page of a history that begins from the first runway show staged in Milan by Walter Albini up until the fashion that was born amid the financial boom and after the 9/11 attacks.

Fairplay chatted with Frisa, who is also the director of the multimedia arts and fashion graduate course Venice's IUAV university... and has made her unmistakable mark on the some of the most emblematic exhibits of our time: Gucci Museo's "Garden Galleria" and Museo Salvatore Ferragamo's "Between Art and Fashion"... just to name a few.

You have written about everyone from Diana Vreeland to Donatella Versace to Walter Albini. You’re THE storyteller. Do you consider yourself a historian of fashion?

Stories interest me, but I am not a historian. I look at the past because it is necessary for the present. I consider myself a professor and an art critic.

You actually started out in magazines. In the 1980s you worked with Stefano Tonchi on Westuff. Where did your interest in fashion come from?

I have always loved fashion and I have always loved dressing up a lot. If you love dressing up, then you are a person who loves fashion. But my interest in the industry really started with Stefano and Westuff. That was a real turning point and then Giorgio Armani called me to work on the Emporio Armani magazine.

I was really impressed by the latest exhibit at the newly revamped Gucci Museum. Sure there was some Tom Ford and Frida Giannini in there but there was a LOT of Michele, who has worked as its creative director for such a short time. Why is that?

I think that it was really about a journey through the archive and since its is not an archive, but a gallery, everything that is being exhibit dates from the turn of the 20th century to now. It was logical that Michele’s presence is interesting and it was important to tell Gucci’s story through Michele’s eyes and with his sensibilities. I had carte blanche for this project that gave it a contemporary feeling. Everything from his “guccification” from the Gucci logo to the double “G”.

How is Italian fashion being appreciated in the world? Do people think this is where the origins of fashion lie?

I don’t think that we need to change anything to get to know the history of Italian fashion better. What we have forgotten to do is tell our story. We have forgotten to tell the story of our identity and qualities to define what Italian fashion really is.

Your latest exhibit is called “ITALIANA. Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971-2001” What was the reasoning behind all the key events on the timeline? Some are random like Silvio Berlusconi and the publication of Donna…

Italiana is not just a show about fashion that tells the story of an environment and design and fashion and art. There are things that happened that are logical. It’s all subjective and can also be critical. Choices are choices. Someone else may have chosen other events.

I remember 2001. Milan was so different and it really seemed like fashion’s heyday. How was it for you?

2001, is a symbol. It is also when the twin towers fell and the world’s equilibrium changed and a new point of view was formed. It was also the year that large luxury groups started to buy Italian brands. The euro also came along one year later. And that also changed the equilibrium of Italian fashion.

How do you feel about the new creative minds that are shaping fashion and the new emerging talent that has arisen from Milan?

Italy is really demonstrating that it is an author of fashion and that it is a reference for the whole world. There are people in their 40s like Alessandro Michele that are the designers of the moment. Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior and Riccardo Tisci of Burberry. There are also ceos that are Italians that have made a name for themselves abroad. There is also this new generation forming here in Milan that includes Pierpaolo Piccioli, as well as Marco de Vincenzo, Fausto Puglisi… and Arthur Arbesser (who is not from here but works here) and they all have so much personality. The list really goes on but it is logical that Italian style is different.

  

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

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