Homage to a trendy icon

By Rachel Bimonte (Roger Williams University)

FLORENCE, IT –Many people may think that museums are for rainy days and I must say, walking into a museum on a sunny day in Florence did seem odd, but once I got my first look around Museo Stefano Bardini, I was not disappointed about spending a couple hours inside.

Museo Stefano Bardini is located in Florence at via dei Renai, 37 on the other side of the Arno. Stefano Bardini himself was an Italian antiquarian who stopped his fast paced art business and collected his items to display them in the museum. He had two children, his daughter named Emma, was an icon of style and was often photographed in elegant gowns, hats and shoes. Because of this, she helped shape fashion in the beginning of the 20th century and for many more years to come.

The museum is an antique building that was a great atmosphere to be in. All of the original Stefano Bardini items are housed there still and in addition to them, there are pieces of fashion sprinkled all around the museum – from top to bottom for the Tailor-Made Dressed fashion exhibit. These fashion items will be on display in the museum to pay homage to Emma Bardini until February 22, 2016.

The garments varied in style, color and age and they each had a certain charm. The designers of the items varied from Valentino, to Nina Ricci and Thierry Mugler. The clothes and pictures of Emma Bardini displayed are mixed from the years 1910-1970. If you have a knack for fashion, art, history or anything antique and want to appreciate it even more than you already do, this is the place for you to come and spend some time.

The detail of each piece of clothing was stunning and with every sparkle, thread and feather, my eye was caught. It is amazing to think that women in the late 19th century and early 20th century wore clothing items such as the ones displayed because for most of the pieces, I could say I would wear them still today.

One of the dresses that specifically stopped me was the dress by Valentino in the 1970s. It has embroidered fabric webbing that makes up the entire tailored dress and mini roses crafted throughout. It has a certain shimmer to it and the manikin wore it high up on the neck with longer three-quarter length sleeves. It is a dress that I can picture a modern day celebrity wearing on the red carpet.

Another dress that caught my eye was a dress that I can picture myself wearing to an event of any kind. The dress is by Pupa Carmine, a Milanese designer that always customized her items with detail. That is true for this dress too, it is a multicolored cocktail dress and every inch of it is stitched with sequins. When I saw the dress, I thought of a cocktail dress and that is exactly the intention of this design in the 1980s.

Lastly, to reflect upon the set up and design of the garments throughout the museum, it was breathtaking. To see a room intended for summer and swim wear, another room intended for ball gowns, an entire staircase dedicated to bridal wear and countless rooms for short and long dresses. There is truly something here for everyone: of all ages, genders and tastes to see.

Fashion is truly timeless and this museum reassured that for me again and again. It is true, fashion is always changing but usually, it makes it full circle. There are few places that people can go to really appreciate style and all it has brought to us over the years, but the Emma Bardini exhibit in Museo Stefano Bardini does not fail to please.

To check out this fabulously stylish exhibit, you can stop by between the hours of 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and it is in the museum until February 22, 2016. This is a Florence special you will not want to be fashionably late for.

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