The 2019 exhibition line-up at the Uffizi Galleries kicks off with a colourful and wild show at the Museum of Costume and Fashion. Animalia Fashion, running until May 5,explores the cross between contemporary haute-couture and the animal kingdom, with its vast variety of colours, patterns and shapes. Dresses stand like veritable sculptures, while fabrics and embroideries are treated like nature-instilled paintings, each one drawing inspiration from the world of animals through the use of motifs and, at times, the animals themselves.
Visitors to the exhibition won’t find your typical leopard prints, nor will they get a glimpse of zebra stripes and tiger patterns. Animalia Fashion is dedicated to insects, swans, lobsters and serpents, fish, shells, corals and babirusas. “With an array of nearly 100 pieces, including dresses, bags, shoes, jewellery and accessories,” said Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Galleries, “haute-couture is moulded into an imaginary realm, where mannequins become creatures of a modern and poetic bestiary.” Curator Patricia Lurati continued, “In a thrilling dialogue with this zoo of fabrics, feathers, hides and much more, visitors will be surprised and enthralled in discover the wonders of the animal kingdom, transformed, here, into a source of inspiration for designers and creating unexpected juxtapositions.”
The exhibition was designed to be something of a fanciful and exaggerated museum of natural history. Clothing, accessories and jewellery are transformed into experiences; they’re a journey through the history of zoology and a chance to discover the forms and colours of both common and rare animals alike. The show also shines a light on the extraordinary power of contemporary fashion, with a display of stuffed animals, spiders in display cases, historic paintings and objects from Florence’s Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, and reproductions of drawings of ancient beasts and others from a medieval tacuina sanitatis.