ZoneModa Journal. Vol.9 n.2 (2019)
ISSN 2611-0563

Cultural Heritage Practices & Critical Fashion Theory: How Does (High) Fashion Interpret Cultural Heritage?
A workshop at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University,
New York, October 3 2019

Gianluigi Di GiangirolamoUniversità di Bologna (Italy)

Published: 2019-12-23

On October 3, 2019 at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies of Columbia University in New York a relevant event was held around the theme of the relationship between fashion and cultural heritage, the workshop: Cultural Heritage Practices & Critical Fashion Theory: How Does (High) Fashion Interpret Cultural Heritage?

This activity was born within a broad research program pursued for several years by the Observatory for Cultural Heritage of the Columbia’s Italian Academy and concerns the second phase of the international research project entitled “Heritage Practices and Critical Fashion Theories,” which also involves PSL University (Université Paris Sciences & Lettres).

During this workshop international experts from different academic disciplines intervened and together discussed and examined the relevant aspects of the relationship between fashion and cultural heritage. A relationship based on a very close and reciprocal relationship. On one side it is a material and immaterial heritage composed of fabrics, clothes, accessories, models, designs, documents, styles and know-how. An heritage that serves as a point of support throughout the whole fashion production process, to innovate and renew creations, styles and knowledge and also represents the culture of a country such as Italy or France. On the other side the fashion system, and the luxury companies contribute with an important role in preserving, conserving, and promoting the fine arts.

Thanks to this workshop the different experiences and points of view, of the scholars who took part at the conference, helped to put and fix more basis for such an important relationship between the world of fashion and the context of cultural heritage and this for future and expected developments in research in this field.

During the event, after an introduction by the member of the workshop organizing committee Barbara Faedda of the Columbia’s Italian Academy, Daniela Calanca of the University of Bologna, opens the lectures with a speech about the complexities and the articulations of the relationship between fashion and cultural heritage and this from the historical point of view.

From the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales of Paris, Barbara Carnevali spoke with an intervention on the “Milanese style” and the relationship between fashion, architecture and design and Emanuele Coccia who focused on the Christian Dior case and the invention of the “French-ness” as heritage for fashion. Lynda Dematteo from the Institut Interdisciplinaire d’Anthropologie du Contemporain of Paris with her contribution on the heritage beyond the seams explained the relationship between fashion, gender and social norms. The Gucci case study was presented by Eugenia Paulicelli from the CUNY Graduate Center, Queens College, highlighting the Eurocentricity of the fashion industry. In closing the lectures, Simona Segre Reinach of the University of Bologna spoke about the topic of global fashion focusing on the different Italian strategies in this context.

The workshop was also an occasion to introduce the opening of the exhibition “Full of Enthusiasm: American Buyers Captured by Italian Fashion in the 1950s,” still organized by the Columbia’s Italian Academy, where was exhibited a selection of photographs granted by Neri Fadigati Giorgini president of the Giorgini Archive of Florence. The images display the Italian high fashion shows organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in Florence from the 50s. Such events that achieved resounding success and had a huge impact in the economic, cultural and political relations between Italy and the United States.