Fashion at the Time of Fascism.
Italian Modernist Lifestyle Between 1922 and 1943.
Edited by Mario Lupano, Alessandra Vaccari.
Damiani, 2009. 320 pp., 700 color illustrations, 8x11½".
The first visual history of Modernist Italian fashion during Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime, and the
product of immense research, Fashion at the Time of Fascism charts the fashion industry’s ambivalent
negotiation of international couture and the bizarre dictates of Fascism, and the legacy of this era in
shaping today’s fashion industry. Authors Mario Lupano and Alessandra Vaccari explore and compare
a huge range of forgotten archival sources, such as women’s glossies, fashion, film and gossip magazines,
photo archives, exhibition and commercial catalogues, books, manuals and magazines on tailoring,
dressmaking, design and architecture, and corporate and government journals. This abundance
of materials is presented in a fluid sequence of image and text that charts the rhythms, rituals
and lifestyles of the typical Italian day through the four basic themes of “Measurements,”“Model,”
“Brand” and “Parade.” Each section includes texts that highlight the key figures and phases in Italian
fashion, from the 1920s to the early 1940s, juxtaposing them with Modernism’s broader salient
themes and emphasizing the conscious use of glamour in the regime’s super-choreographed portrayal
of itself. Fashion at the Time of Fascism is further enriched by a thorough iconographic index and a
detailed reference list, making the volume a revelation for both general readers and scholars.