Sunday, December 16, 2012

Genoese Needlework, Textiles and Fashion - Part One

I know almost nothing about Genoa, Italy in relation to textiles. I've never been there and so it is conspicuously missing from the range of needlework that I've talked about here.

I was recently contacted by Maria Daniela Lunghi, a fibre artist, author and textile history specialist from Camogli in the province of Genoa. She was kind enough to send me some textile museum catalogues from Genoa.

I colori del lusso. Scialli del Kashmir a Genova [The colours of luxury. Kashmir Shawls in Genoa] is a little booklet of 32 pages with lots of lovely colour photos of the collection of Kashmir shawls displayed at the exhibition in 2002 at the Museo di Sant'Agostino in Genoa. It covers the history of textiles in India, the production of cashmere in europe, woven shawls and printed shawls among a few other interesting things. (Text in Italian.)

Now, you might be thinking: What do cashmere shawls have to do with Italy? Well, you may or may not know that Europeans had some periods of time where Eastern designs, fabrics and customs became very fashionable. Periods of Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Bedouin as well as other eastern styles each had their turn influencing the latest fashions for European women and men and India had her turn as well.

Marchesa Emilia Negrone Centurioni by Giuseppe Antonio Frascheri. Oil on canvas. Villa Saluzzo Serra di Nervi, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Genoa.

This little catalogue also discusses the influence of these shawls on the fashion pages of French magazines, the commerce of Kashmir shawls in Genoa and the relationship between Genoese men and women and Kashmir shawls.

There is a small bit at the end about the restoration and conservation of this collection.

I learned quite a bit about these shawls and their high appreciation by Italian women of the period between 1770 and 1870.

Thank you M. Daniela Lunghi for this fascinating lesson in fashion!


  1. Che sorpresa, conoscevo l'uso diffuso di questi scialli in Gran Bretagna, ma non sapevo che fossero di moda anche in Italia. Non si finisce mai di imparare!

  2. Passo spesso sul tuo blog per trovare link dimenticati e per informazioni... Nell'augurarti un Buon Natale ti ringrazio per tutto il tuo prezioso lavoro e ti, mi, ci auguro un nuovo sereno anno ricco di idee, spunti, progetti... Auguri!