Johnny Moncada Gastone Novelli Achille Perilli

1956-1965 ROMA

Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia
Sala dei Sette Colli
13 July – 30 September 2014

curated by Valentina Moncada
in collaboration with Ludovico Pratesi

J. Moncada, Luisa Spagnoli, Autumn-Winter 1960 - 1961, garment isiala

The 25th edition of AltaRomAltaModa will kick-off with the exhibition “Made in Italy. Una visione modernista. Johnny Moncada - Gastone Novelli - Achille Perilli”, curated by Valentina Moncada, in collaboration with Ludovico Pratesi at the rooms of the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia in Rome. The exhibition will also include a presentation of the eponymous book, supported by a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation, and is scheduled to be held at the rooms of the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia in Rome.

Altaroma, convinced since the very beginning that fashion is capable of expressing itself through contemporary languages, through the valorisation of time-honoured cultural and historical roots and inseparable combinations such as “fashion and art”, “fashion and photography” and “fashion and design”, draws inspiration from the legacy of this archive as a means of arousing awareness and providing food for thought.

Only now, fifty years after the founding of the Archivio Johnny Moncada, have photos documenting the extraordinary collaboration between fashion photographer Johnny Moncada and artists Gastone Novelli and Achille Perilli, who created the catalogues of the 1956-1965 fashion collections of Luisa Spagnoli, come to light.

At Johnny Moncada’s studio, located in the historic courtyard of Via Margutta 54, where the atelier of Gastone Novelli was also headquartered, Luisa Spagnoli, a stylist and collector of contemporary art, had the idea of giving life to a one-of-a-kind partnership between art and fashion. Her idea was to create a visionary, modernist context - at that time, considered totally innovative and revolutionary - featuring a female universe in which the modern woman was surrounded by the figures, images and graphics of the two artists who together produced the settings and backgrounds for the photo shoots, featuring, among other things, design objects like the “Lounge chair” by Luciano Grassi, Sergio Conti and Marisa Forlani, and lamps inspired by the design of Bruno Munari.

The first phase of this collaboration took place in the studio with the ad hoc creation of backgrounds painted directly on rolls of white paper, against which famous models of that period, including Joan Whelan (Johnny Moncada’s wife), Iris Bianchi and Anna Filippini, mainly showcased the prêt-à-porter garments and angora knitwear that defined the casual, elegant style of the renowned couture house. A second phase, involved the artists in the creation of the graphic layout of the catalogues themselves, featuring a totally avant-garde design.

This incredible collaboration, a one-of-a-kind initiative at that time, was constantly renewed over the space of the next nine years, serving as proof not only of the evolution of Italian fashion, but also of the works of these artists and the cultural movements involving Rome, paving the way for international avant-garde currents and the activity of important galleries present in the capital during those years.

For the first time, an historic reconstruction of the creative dynamics that took place in the photographic stuido, will be unveiled. A selection of 60 photographs, chosen from among the 600 unearthed thanks to the painstaking research work curated by Emanuele Condò, meticulously cleaned and restored by photographer Corrado De Grazia, will be presented alongside several works created between 1956 and 1965 by the artists Novelli and Perilli, creating a dialogue between the photographs, the backdrops, the paintings and the drawings. Additionally, several vintage garments by Luisa Spagnoli, taken from the Collection by Enrico Quinto and Paolo Tinarelli, will also be on display. As part of the exhibition, visitors will be treated to the screening of a “never-seen-before” artistic video curated by Valentina Moncada and Maria Chiara Salmeri, to recreate the historical context of the birth of Made in Italy.

These photographs serve as concrete proof of the relationship between art and fashion that came into being at the artists’ studios in Via Margutta thanks to the friendship that Johnny Moncada forged with the artists Novelli and Perilli and Luisa Spagnoli, grandaughter of the founder who, at that time, found an innovative way of fusing fashion, art and photography, resulting in the sensational discovery of these photographs, serving as a unique, innovative contribution to the history of Italian fashion.

The exhibition and book have been realized in collaboration with the Archivio Johnny Moncada, the Archivio Novelli and artist Achille Perilli.

Mounting of the project was curated by Mazzini Eventi.

The catalogue:
Made in Italy. Una Visione Modernista. Johnny Moncada, Gastone Novelli e Achille Perilli, Fotografia – Moda – Arte – Design. 1956 – 1965 ROMA, published by Silvana Editoriale, Art Direction Valentina Moncada, in collaboration with Maria Chiara Salmeri, with contributions by Silvia Venturini Fendi, President at Altaroma, Alfonsina Russo, Superintendent of Southern Etruria’s Archaeological Heritage, Paola Bonani, Ludovico Pratesi and Valentina Moncada. With the support of The Nando Peretti Foundation.

Sala della Fortuna
Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia
piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9
00196 Roma