Visually Impaired Tour: Italian Style

April 16, 2015 @ 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
LEFT: Gian Paolo Barbieri, Gianfranco Ferre advertisement, Fall/Winter 1991, ©GIANPAOLOBARBIERI;
LEFT: Gian Paolo Barbieri, Gianfranco Ferre advertisement, Fall/Winter 1991,

This major exhibition will be a glamorous, comprehensive look at Italian fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day. The story is explored through the key individuals and organizations that have contributed to Italy’s reputation for quality and style. The exhibition will include both women’s fashion and menswear, highlighting the exceptional techniques, materials, and expertise for which Italy has become renowned.

Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 will examine Italy’s dramatic transition from postwar devastation to a burgeoning industry facilitated by the landmark “Sala Bianca” catwalk shows held in Florence in the 1950s, propelling Italian fashion onto the world stage.

During the 1950s and ‘60s several high- profile Hollywood films were shot on location in Italy, which had an enormous impact on fashion as stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor became style ambassadors for Italian fashion, fueling a keen international appetite for luxurious clothing made in Italy.

From the early 1970s, the popularity of couture gave way to enthusiasm for manufactured fashion. Milan became Italy’s new fashion capital. Since the mid-1990s, fashion has become a global trade with Italian designers becoming celebrities, solidifying Italy’s reputation as an international tastemaker. The exhibition concludes with an examination of the future of Italian fashion.

Italian Style includes more than 100 ensembles and accessories by leading Italian fashion houses, including Pucci, Valentino, Gucci, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Prada, and Versace.

For its presentation in Portland, the exhibition’s only West Coast venue, the Museum will organize a variety of programs and activities exploring Italian culture and fashion, as well as the emerging fashion scene in Portland. Italian Style is the fourth in a series of exhibitions at the Museum exploring design.

Explore this exhibit with a docent skilled in bringing art to life. Tours for visually impaired visitors feature vivid descriptions of works in the Museum’s collection, with detailed historical information and tactile examples.

Free for members and aides; $3 Museum admission fee for non-members. Guide dogs are welcome. For more information, please leave a message at 503-276-4290.

Exhibition organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and curated by Sonnet Stanfill, Curator of 20th Century and Contemporary Fashion at the V&A. Host curated by Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director.


LEAD SPONSORS Joanne Lilley and Laura S. Meier

ITALIAN STYLE COUNCIL GOLD: Frances Bowes, Lisa Domenico Brooke, Ronna and Eric, Frederick D. and Gail Y. Jubitz Foundation, Cyndy and Edward Maletis, The Mark Family in honor of Mary Mark, Nancie S. McGraw, Arlene Schnitzer/The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation and Jordan Schnitzer, Andrée H. Stevens, and Helen Jo and Bill Whitsell;

SILVER: Shirley Papé, Ameriprise, Swigert Warren Foundation, Travel Portland, and Wells Fargo;

BRONZE: John E. Buchanan Jr. Endowment Fund, Mary Beth and Roger Burpee, Katherine and Mark Frandsen, Selby and Douglas Key, Kathleen Lewis, David and Dolorosa Margulis, Angela and Rex Snow, Katrina and Ted Wheeler and Nicoletta’s Table and Marketplace; IN-KIND: City Center Parking, and Dave Holt/ Dalla Terra.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.