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Forecasting the Future, Preserving the Past

Beauty may be eternal, but fashion is an ephemeral medium -- "in" today, "out" tomorrow.  Yesterday's old clothes, however, may be tomorrow's "vintage" apparel or design "inspiration."  But how to preserve this legacy?

Today's International Herald Tribune reports that Italian fashion houses are taking matters into their own hands.  While Italy is a world leader in other forms of historic preservation, neither government interest nor funding extends to its most stylish patrimony.  In the absence of state-sanctioned fashion museums (as in France) or an established system of tax write-offs (as in the U.S.), companies like Pucci, Armani, and Fendi are investing in museum-quality storage facilities and archival record-keeping. 

The IHT quotes Laudomia Pucci, daughter of exuberant textile and clothing designer Emilio Pucci, on the value of fashion archives:

"They are such an inspiration for young designers," says Pucci.  "They look at fabrics, proportions, sewing techniques from the past."

Pucci does not intend to throw open the doors of the past to mere knockoff artists, though:

That is not to say, however, that [the archives] are intended to be copied.  "They are a bouncing board for tomorrow," she clarifies.

To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton who paraphrased John of Salisbury who paraphrased Bernard of Chartres (who may have been paraphrasing someone else), "We are like dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants."  Or at least on fabulous platform heels.

Pucci wedge, Lune pink, Spring 2006