The Birth of Postwar Italian Style

By Ruth La Ferla, New York Times
February 29, 2016

Bonnie Clearwater cast a covetous eye on a pair of wool coats. “I’d love to own one,” she said. “Wear it and you won’t end up looking like a box.”

Capacious, cut to flatter and surprisingly contemporary, those coats were among the highlights of “Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968,” an exhibition at the Nova Southeastern University Art Museum here, where Ms. Clearwater is director.

The show, created in partnership with Bulgari, “is about giving credit to the many Italian designers who provided the foundation for Versace and Armani,” said Stefano Tonchi, the editor of W and a curator of the installation. It showcases designers like Simonetta, Roberto Capucci and Mila Schön, who provided the sumptuous underpinnings for the cavalcade of damask and brocade, leather and lace on the Milanese runways this week.

On view through June 5 are some 90 coats, suits, gowns and dresses, some meticulously tailored for comfort and ease, others more showy, as if they had sauntered off the soundstage of “La Dolce Vita,” or the fabled Via Veneto.

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