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Celebrating the History and Future of Knitwear, Maglifico!

Exploring the ever-evolving and diverse realm of fashion and technology

by Paolo Ferrarini in Design on 17 July 2014

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Knitwear has always been a field of experimentation in fashion. Adopted by true pioneers like Coco Chanel and Azzedine Alaïa, it continues to evolve and intrigue thanks to brands like Missoni and Kenzo. True innovation of knitwear manifests because of changing styles and also thanks to constant experimentation in engineering and production processes. Curator and journalist Federico Poletti is aware that, with an ever-evolving industry or product, it pays to pause, think, reflect and take stock. For this reason, Poletti created Maglifico!—a longterm project including knitwear exhibitions as well as a book.

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“Maglifico! was launched two years ago in Milan," Federico tells CH, "After my experience at ModeMuseum in Antwerp. MoMu was the first museum to conceive and develop a thematic exhibition about knitwear in fashion and I curated the Italian section. In the making of that research, I discovered that a great part of international knitwear comes from Italian manufacturers, who are highly specialized in working with the most complicated knits. That’s why I imagined an exhibition to celebrate knitwear and to present the most original creations made exclusively in Italy. The goal of Maglifico! is to become a benchmark in knitwear industry communication through its traveling exhibitions, installations and the online platform—which will be relaunched in September." Thus, the exhibit not only highlights incredible designs, but the innovation and versatility of wool, and the real meaning behind "Made in Italy" creations.

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After visiting Milan and Paris, the exhibition is now in Rome, showcasing creations within the "Flora / Fauna" theme. Poletti says the current show exhibits "the passion for animals and nature that many designers have in common. Starting from the famous panthers by Krizia—the forerunner of the popular animal lucky-charm genre—to the animal delirium of Roberto Cavalli, Adrienne Vittadini, Fendi and Maison Martin Margiela, up to the passion for flowers of Antonio Marras, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, Yves Saint-Laurent, Cheap and Chic by Moschino, Matthew Williamson, just to mention just a few." It's co-curated by Modateca Deanna (an extraordinary historical archive) whose founder, Deanna Ferretti Veroni, is a myth in the fashion industry, thanks to her ability to interpret the wishes of international designers and young creative minds. This current leg of the exhibition boasts more than a few rare gems, including attire by Albertina and Pier Luigi Tricò—a tribute to Rome as a creative fashion hub from the late 1950s to the '80s.

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As for the future of knitwear, Poletti tells CH, “Knitwear is mix-and-match between creativity and technical skills. It’s important to have a dedicated training on the field or in a school equipped with a knit lab. To become a knitwear designer is essential to have a direct knowledge of the machines and how to use them."

The "Maglifico!" exhibition is open at Scuderie Palazzo Ruspoli to the public until 24 July 2014. Entry is free.

Images courtesy of Altaroma

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