Paris Haute Couture Italia Alta Moda 1952-1967

Rome Life Hotel - Nazionale Spazio Eventi
12 July 2015

Valentina Moncada, art historian and gallerist
Massimo Di Forti, journalist
Gabriele Monti, a researcher in Fashion Design Theory at the Iuav University in Venice

Book cover, Joan Paris Haute Couture-Italia Alta Moda

The book "JOAN. Paris Haute Couture-Italia Alta Moda", edited by Valentina Moncada, will be presented at the 27th Altaroma event.
This is another important document, promoted by Altaroma. It is a testimony to the era, and through fashion, will enrich the historical and cultural narrative of Italy. The symbolic central theme traces the career and personal life of one of the first international supermodels. It serves as a guide to show us how style, customs and society evolved, moving from Paris to Rome.

This is the first book to trace the career of Joan Whelan, an American model, who left New York for Paris in 1952, later moving to Rome in 1954 where she married the Roman photographer Johnny Moncada. Her life and career are explored through the reconstruction of her 'model's wardrobe', and a selection of photographs that tell of her exciting journey into the world of fashion during the 50s and 60s. The photographs, published in many important national and international magazines, feature the clothes that she wore during her modeling career.

Fashion photography and magazines of that period explore the identity which even today, distinguishes two different cultural contexts. On the one hand there is French haute couture where fashion is a unique aesthetic of elegance and artistic expression. On the other hand, there is the concept which contextualizes and sets the scene for a wholly Italian way of style and fashion, now known and recognized throughout the world as Made in Italy.

Joan Whelan wore clothes created by the most fashionable designers of those times includingChristian Dior, Balenciaga, Lanvin-Castillo, Maggy Rouff, Jean Patou, Nina Ricci, Jacques Fath, Jaques Heim. She posed for fashion photographers Philippe Pottier, Guy Arsac, Henry Clarke, Robert Randall, Regina Relang, whose photographs were published in French «Vogue», «L'Officiel», «Elle»and German fashion magazines «Constanze» and «Elegante Welt». The photos show Joan in a multitude of designs; from the time of her fortunate meeting with Hubert de Givenchy, who used the model to design the outfits that were later worn by Audrey Hepburn in the award-winning film "Sabrina", or when she wore a series of clothes of a whimsical and elegant line dedicated to fruit and vegetables, such as, for example, "citron" and "tomate". Models Suzy Parker, di Capucine e Denise Sarrault were her friends, and after an unforgettable meeting with Coco Chanel, she moved to Italy to model at Palazzo Pitti's White Hall where she signed a contract with the designer Emilio Pucci.

In Italy, she posed for Simonetta, a lifelong friend, Fabiani, Sarli, Antonelli, Sorelle Fontana, Galitzine, Carosa, Schiapparelli. Her photo shoots were taken against the backdrop of some of Italy's most picturesque sites including Capri, Florence and Rome; all sought-after capitals of Italian fashion. She met American model Theo Graham the muse of Richard Avedon. She became part of a coterie of American models including Shirley Howell Caracciolo, Betty Stoke di Robilant, Consuelo Crespi, Jo Patterson Bettoja, who had also decided to settle in Rome. She struck up close friendships with top models like Iris Bianchi, Christa Päffgen alias Nico, Anna Filippini, Ivy Nicholson, Isabella Albonico, Luisa Gilardenghi. In Rome, she met the young Johnny Moncada who had become interested in fashion photography. Together, they set up the capital's first photographic studio, and married in 1956.

The foundation of the Johnny Moncada Archive, created with the support of The Nando Peretti Foundation, served as a prime research source and brought to light numerous photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings and documents. These were reconstructed after in-depth research work on magazines published during that period. Research was also conducted at libraries and archives worldwide, specifically the Givenchy Archive in Paris.

The book JOAN. Paris Haute Couture – Italia Alta Moda. 1952 – 1967. Published by Silvana Editoriale, curated by Valentina Moncada

introduction by: Silvia Venturini Fendi, President of AltaRoma
Valentina Moncada, art historian and gallerist
Massimo Di Forti, journalist
Antonio Nieto, giornalista
Gabriele Monti, a researcher in Fashion Design Theory at the Iuav Universtiy in Venice and associate curator of the exhibition "Bellissima" at the MAXXI in Rome.
Dedication by Joan and Johnny's daughter Benedetta Moncada.

The publication of this book was made possible with the support of Alberto, Valentina, Benedetta and Francesco Moncada