Press office Biennale di Firenze

Florence the city of fashion

The first Florence Biennial, dedicated to the relationship between the world of fashion and the visual arts, aesthetic culture, architecture, design, photography, cinema, sociology and customs, will be opening on September 21st. Seven exhibitions, Ņinvolving" all the main museums in Florence and Prato (including the Uffizi, the Medici Chapels and the Specola Museum), will investigate and describe the various effects, reciprocal influences and creative possibilities that fashion, as a daily expression of mass culture, is likely to experience in the near future. Although the Florence Biennial is clearly international in character, it is also bound to make a fundamental contribution towards the image of Italian fashion design. By developing the cultural scope of fashion design, the event will be able to underline the growing importance that this element now plays in the organization of a productive system that is admired throughout the world for its technical and creative qualities. The Italian Fashion system will, thanks to the Florence Biennial, find itself better equipped to compete with Paris, which has always been thought of as the only capital with an international fashion culture, and can encourage strategic collaboration with the various institutional boards and organizations that at present operate in Italy in a completely individual way. Florence Biennial's activity will also help to stimulate Italy to make more decisive commitments in the field of culture, which is at the basis of any strategic intervention, in a period in which intellectual content is becoming more and more important (for research, innovation and technology) for both products and services. This ambitious project, whose main aim is to interpret, develop and present the culture of fashion and its role according to the creativity of the present day, can only be properly expressed in a suitable and utterly unique setting such as Florence: a setting that not only represents great culture and art but also offers the communicative force, spontaneity and universitality that can only be found in the world of Fashion. It will also stimulate an increase in the already large number of important initiatives that have been held in Florence in recent years and that have contributed towards making its fashion design so famous throughout the world. Forty well-known protagonists of the Arts will be partecipating in the Florence Biennial: sculptors and painters like Roy Lichtenstein, Julian Schnabel, Tony Cragg, Kiki Smith, Damien Hirst, Jan Fabre, Beverly Semmes and Rosemarie Trockel; photographers and film makers like Inez van Lamsweerde, Bruce Weber, Nan Goldin and Joel Schumacher; musicians like David Bowie and Elton John and thirty-eight internationally known names in fashion, including Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Yohji Yamamoto, Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada, Jil Sander, Vivienne Westwood as well as young designers like Alexander McQueen, Rifat Ozbek and Martin Margiela. Germano Celant, Bruno typCorà, Martin Harrison, Katell le Bourhis, Stefania Ricci, Luigi Settembrini, Ingrid Sischy, Franca Sozzani and Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi are among the curators of the exhibitions, while architects like Gae Aulenti, Denis Santachiara, Arata Isozaki, Adolfo Natalini and set designer Pier Luigi Pizzi have been called in to set them up. Thanks to the impact that the event is likely to have on the press and international media, the Florence Biennial will be drawing an enormous amount of really special attention on the city for three whole months, almost comparable to what takes place in Venice during the biennial exhibition of art and the film festival. There is, however, a fundamental difference between them: the Biennial will be a specialized operation whose cultural, social and representative organization will be working in close harmony with the solidly rooted and active industrial, commercial and service activities that are so ical of the city. In other words, the Biennial should be considered an essential means for promoting and developing all these different activities.

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