Pitti Palace, Florence
Founded in 1983, the collection comprises 6,000 items from the 16th – 20th centuries, including fashion, theatre costumes and accessories. It is one of the few museums of the history of fashion in Italy and one of the most important in the world. A selection is exhibited in rotation every two years, along with temporary exhibits. Highlights include the funerial clothing of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici and his wife Eleonor of Toledo, and a reconstructed version of the dress she wears in her portrait by Bronzino.
2. Centre for the History of Textiles and Costume (Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume)
Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice
This museum contains a rich collection of textiles and costumes (which seems to be focused on the 18th century, though it is unclear from their website), as well as a library specialising in the history of fabrics, costumes and fashion. Highlighting the skill of artisans at the time for which luxury of the Venetians were famous, the museum also has a new section devoted to perfume. One room is dedicated to 18th century men’s waistcoats! They also offer occasional “backstage” tours to the nearby weaving studio Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua, which still uses 18th century looms to produce exquisite velvets, brocades, and damasks, many of which are commissioned by royal palaces around the world.
Housed inside the medieval Palazzo della Mercanzia, the ultramodern space holds gowns, luggage, and even a Gucci-designed Classic Cadillac Seville. The museum holds other fashion exhibitions along with historical and contemporary pieces from the Gucci brand.
This collection is dedicated to the life and work of Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo. The museum contains 10,000 shoes created between 1920s – 1960. Following Ferragamo’s death the collection was expanded by his widow and children. The museum also includes films, press cuttings, advertising materials, clothes and accessories from the 1950s to the present day.
This collection of clothes, fabrics, prints, materials and ornamental clothes make up a rich sample of Fortuny’s work in the field of fabrics and fashion design, in which the artist took ornamental motifs and reinterpreted them in a modern decorative style. Fortuny drew decorative models and designs from precious Renaissance velvets and from fabrics from exotic cultures.
The Textile Museum of Prato is the only museum in Italy dedicated to the art and technology of textile production, from pre-columbian textiles to the industrial manufacturing of the 20th century. The collection contains over 6,000 objects, including archeological textiles, medieval vestments, embroidery from the 15th-20th centuries, and equipment for every part of textile production.