La Bella Figura: Unlocking Sustainable Fashion in the Eternal City
From september 14th to october 26th
Sala 1, piazza di Porta San Giovanni 10, Roma
This summer, the gallery will open its doors to the public for a sustainable fashion collection featuring designs by stylist Desiree Townley, tailored by The Sewing Cooperative.
This initiative builds on Sala 1’s previous exhibitions Ripensare la materia exploring the cycles of waste, and Pop-Up Lab with Refugee Tailors, while looking more closely at the relationship of Fashion to the environment and the society around us.
This collection of ethically sourced, handmade, and found object items, highlights the resources for maintaining La Bella Figura while limiting your environmental impact and supporting artisanal craftsmanship. Each piece, or scene, is inspired by Rome’s hidden narratives, and highlights unexpected details through clothing, accessories, and related objects. During their visit, the public will have the opportunity to discover the stories of artisans working in Rome, to touch and explore fibers and textures, and finally, to take away tools which they can use to repurpose, reshape, and source greener fashion in Rome.
Desiree Townley is an Eco-conscious Stylist and Personal Shopper specializing in vintage and antiques. She works with clients to streamline their wardrobe, dress for their lifestyle and source from local artisans.
The Sewing Cooperative is a social business founded in 2016 by Lydia Witt, a young dressmaker/designer from New York. Through artisanal products and made to measure clothing, The Sewing Cooperative seeks to promote the social and labor integration of refugees and immigrants by recognizing the tailoring skills they bring with them, and helping adapt them to their new context and home.
During this project, Sala 1 will host several interactive workshops and film screenings to accompany the overall theme of the initiative: embracing socially responsible, sustainable, and artisanal alternatives to fast fashion. One of a kind pieces, handmade clothing and accessories will be available to the public throughout the exhibition.
1,556 days ago (on May 2, 2014) I lost my fitted bedsheet to the playful winds of Rome.
- tried to wrestle the elastic edge from the metal torture chamber with a cornucopia of objects, including a broom
- watched various wildlife communities take temporary sanctuary within the delicate folds
- bubbled-over with anxiety during every thunderstorm that would inevitably transform my sheet into a weapon, threatening the lives of the elderly pedestrians , six levels below
Month by month, year by year no matter how hard the Roman winds blow, they merely tighten the grip of my defiant sheet.
I only wish I could remember where I purchased THE UNBREAKABLE BROWN BED SHEET, whose stubborn nature inspires.
I like ECCENTRICS, people who 'break the mold'. An individual earns bonus points in my mind for reinventing themselves and taking control of their image. A person who overcomes hardships and finds a way to be creative with their one short life earns my deepest respect. This woman, has it all....
The 'Notorious Mrs. Daisy Fellowes' was born in Paris in 1890. Fellowes' mother died from suicide when she was just six years old. She was then raised primarily by her aunt, Winnaretta Singer, Princess Edmond de Polignac. Fellowes always had a strained relationship with her father.. Throughout her childhood her father would cruelly tell her that it was unbelievable that he had such an unattractive daughter. In her early 20's she decided to reinvent herself. She had rhinoplasty, became interested in fashion and spent her time educating herself in the museums of Paris. Fellowes destroyed all old photos of herself. She is remembered as 'a 20th century society figure, acclaimed beauty, minor novelist and poet, editor in chief of French Harper's Bazaar, Fashion Icon and Heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune'.
My favorite fact about Daisy is that she was the inspiration for Dali's 'shoe hat'. This high heeled hat was sketched by Dali in 1937 and created by surrealist couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, only to reappear on the runways of Eric Tibusch in 2009 in Paris. Daisy Fellowes died in Paris in 1962.
Each time I host the event I think to myself ' I hope everyone else had as much fun as me'. Have you ever found an amazing treasure at a clothing swap? DO TELL!
I have never been able to find mugs, toothbrushes or mini license plates wielding my name in souvenir shops. I had to travel internationally to discover something even better. In Paris in 2013 I discovered a street (near Pére Lachaise Cemetery) with my name.... then in Venice, Italy (near Basilica San Marco) I found a beautiful shop, and in Rome, Italy (close to the Colosseum) I found a Beauty Spa.... all of my namesake. How easy is it for you to find your name around the world?
The fabulous Ms. Edith Head was as American costume designer who won more Academy Awards than any other woman in history (won 8, nominated for 35). Head received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Letters and Sciences with Honors in French from the University of California Berkeley in 1919. She then received her Masters Degree in Romance Languages from Stanford University in 1920. Head became a language teacher in La Jolla. In wanting a higher salary she told the school that she was also a qualified art teacher. Head began taking evening classes to improve her drawing skills. In 1924 despite her lack of experience in art and costume design (in fact she borrowed drawings for the interview) she was hired as a costume sketch artist at Paramount Pictures. She began designing for silent films in 1925. By 1930 Head was established as one of Hollywood's hottest costume designers. Head worked at Paramount for 43 years until 1967, when she moved to Universal. Head was known for her ability to work with even the most impossible personalities (she was one of Alfred Hitchcock's favorites). Head also became a trusted collaborator, as she consistently and extensively listened to the preferences and opinions of the female starlets she was dressing. Head designed for some of the biggest female stars of the 40's and 50's: Grace Kelly (Rear Window), Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday, Sabrina), Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Ginger Rogers and Bette Davis. Edith Head's name is now synonymous with Classic American Cinema (Sunset Boulevard, Breakfast At Tiffanys, The Birds). She was a pioneer for women in the film industry and inspired trust in everyone who knew her. Having worked in the costume industry, Edith Head is an easy person to look up to. However, her personal style can be a lesson to us all, she had true signature, wearing her famous sunglasses day or night, indoor or outdoor. To know more about her, I highly recommend her books: How to Dress for Success and The Dress Doctor.
Over the last 4 years I have been volunteering for an International non-profit organization called Girl Gone International . My job as City Manager of Rome requires me to hold and organize events for women who have an international mindset. We drink wine, eat amazing food, give each other advise, see museum exhibits, and have a book club where we engage in literary debates over cocktails. First and foremost the company is a free online magazine for women who are living, working, studying or simply traveling abroad. There are GGI communities in over 130 cities in the world ready to welcome you. When a person has stepped out of their country of origin, and is without friends or family, finding their tribe can be life changing. The link below is a little interview about why I am involved in this amazing group of women:
Désirée Marie Townley
A native Oregonian, Désirée is currently living in Rome, Italy. She started working as a Costumer and Makeup artist in the Opera and Theater industry after receiving her degree in Dance in 2008. Work offered her the opportunity to travel beginning in 2009 and she hasn't stopped since. Everywhere Désirée goes, she seeks out artists and crafts people as a means to understand new cultures. Through their art and their voices, she finds stories worth telling.