13 Jan 2009



 “Workwear”, says Alfredo Canessa chairman of the Fondazione Pitti Discovery, “ties in perfectly with the great Pitti Immagine and Discovery projects dedicated to fashion as a stylistic, social and cultural phenomenon. I am thinking of Uniforme, of Excess-moda e underground degli anni Ottanta, of Lo Sguardo Italiano – exhibitions and books that delved into the sources of inspiration for those who create fashion and the way in which fashion products and their esthetics have, in turn, influenced artists, photographers and different types of communicators. Workwear also confirms Florence’s vocation of promoting a contemporary culture of fashion with high quality projects. We would not be able to carry through with these programs if we did not have a partner, such as the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze that believes in us and in the city. Once again it is by our side, intelligently and confidently participating in the evolution of our cultural strategies.

The protagonists of WORKWEAR LAVORO MODA SEDUZIONE will be the clothing, accessories, images and sounds of the work and fashion worlds that will dialogue with each other. The WORKWEAR project starts from observation of how the simple, functional esthetics of work clothes, developed to move with the body and protect it, have provided an endless source of fashion inspiration since the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the citations and references to work attire are infinite in both men’s and women’s fashions, this exhibition is not a historical excursus about work clothes, but rather a presentation of analogies in shapes and materials, an exercise in exchanges, references and inspirations between the two worlds.

Displayed on freight pallets, wood and metal workbenches, clothing and related items for all work environments will offer a spectacular show – based on the quantities and originality of the shapes and materials.

The exhibit
  - selected by Oliviero Toscani with La Sterpaia Bottega dell’Arte della Comunicazione features:
300 different work-suits, some of which are truly striking: from fireproof suits in multilayered fiber to the diving suits, from space suits to firemen’s uniforms, from fishermen’s suits to nurses’ uniforms. 
2,500 safety and protective gear, hardhats, welders’ masks, aprons and gloves (in chain mail for meat processing, etc.) protective masks (in laminated glass and other materials), and safety shoes with reinforced, perforation-proof toes and soles, etc..
15,000 images from Corbis – image resource for the project – shown in sequence: from famous photos to movie and video clips in which the working world plays a leading role.
60 canvases/screens hanging showing videos and photos all related to work.
70 garments – selected by Olivier Sailland and Maria Luisa Frisa (for the Italian part) by the most famous names in fashion from Prada to Krizia, from Armani to Moschino, from Comme des Garçons to Yamamoto, from CP Company to Stone Island. 
The clothes will be arranged by theme and references – the pocket, apron, chain mail – the presentations will be technical, industrial, or poetic, and even glamorous as if they were being shown on a fashion runway. Videos of fashion shows will be projected on the walls highlighting what fashion has acquired and adapted from the working world.

WORKWEAR is also an “invitation” to think about safety. There are people who work in difficult, dangerous, uncomfortable, special and even extreme conditions and there are companies that manufacture clothing and accessories to protect them from the risks they encounter day after day. For this reason the exhibition will focus special attention on research, technological innovations in the materials and design of work clothes that are of truly vital importance. And as fashion has inspired the working world, there are many work garments that look to fashion so that precisely the people who need them for safety and protection will be happy to wear them.

The setting is the Stazione Leopolda, an extraordinary example of industrial archeology, built as a railroad station then converted into a maintenance shop for rolling stock that has conserved both the structure and atmosphere of the workplace.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a book/catalogue, published by Marisilio Editori and the Fondazione Pitti Discovery
Italian and English editions.
Along with the curators’ essays, the catalogue will include the results of an iconographic study on the subject of work in historical terms and as an inspiration for fashion.

On display and in the catalogue

ALL THE IMAGES SHOWN AT THE EXHIBIT are from Agenzia Corbis Italian.
“We are truly enthusiastic about working with Pitti Immagine and Oliviero Toscani; we liked their selected subject WORKWEAR from the start.. Naturally, being able to provide 15,000 images on a single topic fills us with pride. We are convinced that Oliviero Toscani and his staff will only enhance them even more. WORKWEAR is the proof that the Corbis archives offer nearly infinite possibilities for conceiving and staging extraordinary exhibitions” Luca Messaggi, Director Sales and Service Corbis Italia.

: Fraizzoli, Giordani Giancarlo, Lotto Works, Masi, Moldex, Proteco Sub, Raitex, Scott Health & Safety, Siggi Group, Sperian Protection, Stewart, Tecnologie Monaldo Monaldi, Utility by Diadora .

 Adeline Andrè, Agnes B., Allegri, Antonio Marras, C.P. Company, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Comme des Garçons, Dsquared2, Elsa Schiaparelli, Giorgio Armani/Emporio Armani, Hermès, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Krizia, Louis Vuitton, Maison Martin Margiela, Marithé & Francois Girbaud, Max Mara, Miu Miu, Moschino, Prada, Stone Island, Thierry Mugler, Versace, Walter van Beirendonck, Yohji Yamamoto.