Fashion & Antiquity, an exhibition curated by Alessio de’ Navasques and Stéphane Verger, investigates the dynamic interplay between ancient art and contemporary fashion, revealing a narrative language that transcends the ages in a sophisticated tapestry of styles
Words DOMENICO COSTANTINI
The multifaceted exhibition “FASHION & ANTIQUITY” offered an illuminating exploration of the synergies between Western cultural heritage and contemporary fashion design. Promoted by MNR – Museo Nazionale Romano, Sapienza University of Rome and NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, this project left a significant mark on the art and design scene. Fashion, elevated to the role of “second skin” in today’s image-centered society, was investigated as a polymorphous discipline, always ready to cross boundaries and mix with the ancient. The exhibition embraced a variety of styles, from Greco-Roman to the archives of Palazzo Massimo to archetypal forms of clothing in Mediterranean culture.
At Palazzo Altemps, exhibition maker Judith Clark focused on drapery and the peculiarities of Greco-Roman statues from the Boncompagni Ludovisi collection. Following this, the workshop at Palazzo Massimo, led by Marco Pecorari, Ph.D., Program Director MA Fashion Studies, reflected on institutional practices of sculpture interpretation. Finally, at Terme di Diocleziano, the investigation into archetypal forms of clothing in Mediterranean culture unfolded, examining cuts, materials, and techniques, led by Belgian fashion designer Jan-Jan Van Essche.
The symposium at the Aula Odeion of Sapienza di Roma, between November 30 and December 1, represented the culmination of this interdisciplinary exploration. Dialogue themes were vast and fascinating, ranging from the analysis of the symbolic and ritualistic sense of fashion to the sacredness of dressing, to the Ancient as an imaginary, to new methodologies in fashion study.
Millennia-old sculptures engaged in a dizzying digression with contemporary clothing, generating reflections on magic and ritual through silhouettes, visions, reinterpretations, and considerations.
The curators of this initiative, MNR Director Stéphane Verger, Alessio de’Navasques, with contributions from Colomba Leddi, Romana Andò, and the support of Palazzo delle Pietre, crafted an experience that goes beyond the mere aesthetic expression of fashion. “FASHION & ANTIQUITY” transcended the boundaries of time, weaving past and present through a sophisticated tapestry of styles and ideas. This project demonstrated that fashion is more than just attire; it is a narrative language imbued with secretive cultural references. In every garment, something is whispered, and the visitor is called to translate the tale: “De te fabula narratur.”