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Evening cape

Designer Maria Monaci Gallenga Italian

Not on view

Gallenga was more inclined than Fortuny to create garments whose cut reflected contemporaneous fashion trends, suggesting she was less concerned with conveying notions of timelessness in her work. Rather, her references to the past seem intended to endow her fashions with traces of the artistic ingenuity and superb handcraft of earlier eras. This cape’s printed pattern of animals set among oversize palmettes was borrowed from a late fourteenth-century Italian figured silk that was published in a 1913 study of silk textiles by art historian Otto von Falke. The cape’s silhouette, however, represents a mid-1920s trend for evening capes with high gathered and padded “Medici” collars. Early twentieth-century velvets, unlike their Renaissance predecessors, could be mass produced and were more widely accessible. Although the starting point for her creations was an industrial product, Gallenga preserved a feeling of luxury and distinctiveness through her hand-printed designs, executed on precut fabric to ensure the printed pattern harmonized with the shaping of the garment.

Evening cape, Maria Monaci Gallenga (Italian, Rome 1880–1944 Umbria), silk, rayon, metal, Italian

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© 2019 Nicholas Alan Cope