Yesterday I took a museum day. The Georgia Museum of Art in Athens had just opened a new fashion exhibition and I was anxious to see it. The topic was Emilio Pucci, who needs no introduction from me. What many might be surprised to know is that Pucci actually attended the University of Georgia in Athens after transferring from the University of Milan. He then went on to Reed College in Oregon.
As the title tells us, the exhibition was not a comprehensive study of the career of Emilio Pucci, nor was it a history of the company. It was about how the Italian Pucci had relationships with American institutions and companies. The exhibition is quite small, and there are a few gaps in what was displayed, but overall it gives an excellent view of Pucci’s American relationships. Photos were not allowed (although there was no sign stating such, and it took getting my hand slapped to find it out) and the photos supplied for press do not show any of the clothes as they are displayed, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to use your imagination somewhat.
Probably the best known collaboration between Pucci and an American company was that with the lingerie company, Formfit Rogers. Throughout the 1960s and into the 70s Pucci designed undergarments and sleeping attire for Formfit. On exhibit was a panty girdle, and four matching lingerie pieces in blue.
Between 1965 and 1974, Pucci designed uniforms for the stewardesses of Braniff Airlines. The ensembles included everything from head to toe: hats, scarves,dresses,tunics,pants, leggings, shoes, and boots. Archival photos show that the stewardesses were allowed to mix and match the pieces, though the staff was provided with clothing that corresponded to various activities and which involved two in-air clothing changes.
The exhibition had this tunic, and it also had the plastic bubble hood. Archival photos show that the women often wore the tights with a solid dress.
The bubble hood was only used for a short period because of its tendency to malfunction.
My favorite outfit from the exhibition was a circa 1955 two-piece swimsuit and matching cape that Pucci designed for Canadian-American swimsuit designer Rose Marie Reid. The print was a tiny Venice theme, and while I could not find a photo of it online, there is a similar Reid piece for sale. That set just went to the very top of my wishlist.
I was really hoping that there would be some of the very rare pieces that Pucci did for White Stag in 1948. They did have the copy of the Harper’s Bazaar in which the pieces were shown, but no actual garments. And there was no mention of the mid 1950s collaboration between Pucci and the McCall’s Pattern Company, nor was there any mention of the patterns he did for Vogue in the 1960s and 70s.
Even though this exhibition was quite small, I’m glad I took the time to go see it. The clothing was very well presented, and the lighting was good enough so that the details could be easily examined. It is well worth a drive if you are in Georgia or the western Carolinas.