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Designer Maria Monaci Gallenga Italian

Not on view

Gallenga’s prints with varied shades of metallic pigment imitate the sheen of metallic threads and suggest the patina of age. Her technique produced a unique effect that did not immediately reveal its precise method of application; as one contemporary fashion reporter described, the designs “did not seem painted nor yet woven.” The patterns were block printed, but Gallenga maintained efforts to keep her process secret, involving only a small number of her staff in this step. When her business manager Amato Amati introduced Gallenga’s fashions to an American audience through an article in Vogue in 1916, he erroneously described the prints as “stenciled,” further contributing to the mystery surrounding her technique. While tea gowns, evening dresses, and capes made from these signature textiles are well known, accessories are rare. This hat, whose form demonstrates the influence of fifteenth-century aristocratic European headdresses and echoes the silhouette of her brand logo, was likely created for fancy dress.

Hat, Maria Monaci Gallenga (Italian, Rome 1880–1944 Umbria), silk, metallic, Italian

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© 2019 Nicholas Alan Cope