From Seamstress to Hero of Italian Fashion. The State Archives Remember Rosa Genoni

Seamstress, teacher, journalist, audacious and steadfast feminist, but, above all, a refined artisan that imbued the fabric of Italy itself with the identity of that artistic heritage that, as she said, “could serve as a model for new forms of clothing and dress, which would assume a certain flavour of remembrance of the classical and a vague nobility of style.” The Archivio di Stato remembers the multifaceted personality of Rosa Genoni, the stylist from Tirano who, before becoming a hero of the newly-born Italian fashion with her precious creations - such as that inspired by the Primavera of Botticelli - was a staunch supporter and brilliant spokesperson for women’s liberation and world peace. Una Donna alla Conquista del Novecento is the title of the exhibition that the Associazione Amici di Rosa Genoni, along with the Archive of Milan, has dedicated to this audacious figure that outwitted a destiny of poverty, building an exceptional life in every angle she touched, from her work as a seamstress to the direction of an important fashion maison of Milan, from the Grand Prix to the Jury of the International Expo of Milan in 1906 and even in her career as a journalist. Sketches, clothing, never-before-seen documents and vintage photos make up the “fashion” section which gathers important tributes dedicated to the stylist by some of the most important Italian and Milanese brands of fashion and design. And a big surprise as well, considering that, for the first time, fashion fans can discover some of the 600 fabric and embroidery samples that Rosa collected for 25 years, planning the birth of a museum of decorative art in Milan, as a study centre for young creators. There are mementoes and sketches, as well as original archives detailing the intense activities of Genoni in the field of politics and social justice, especially in the world of work, where this pioneer of Made in Italy came to the defence of workers’ rights and sought respect for women as new players in the life of the Nation.
Samantha De Martin - © 2018 for Bulgari Hotel Milano