Europe's Fashion History, Just a Click Away

By Foreman, Liza | International Herald Tribune, February 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Europe's Fashion History, Just a Click Away


Foreman, Liza, International Herald Tribune


An ambitious archive, which plans to offer 700,000 digital elements by 2015, is scheduled to debut May 2.

An ambitious fashion archive is being readied for its debut May 2, when Europeana Fashion will go online with about 100,000 digital elements from 22 European museums and institutions -- a gallery ranging from a 1921 embroidered dress by Madeleine Vionnet to a Diana Vreeland letter to the designer Emilio Pucci.

The project's goal is to have a total of 700,000 fashion-related elements in digital form and online by March 2015, helping to preserve European fashion history for future generations.

"This is the first attempt to assemble such an important collection of fashion content from both private and public archives and museums," said Alessandra Arezzi Boza, a freelance fashion curator based in Florence who oversees the site's content and communications. "And it is surely one of the great challenges of the project as, until now, fashion content was scattered online and not easily searchable."

The project is an offshoot of Europeana, the five-year-old online digital library that showcases images of about 24 million cultural artifacts, including the Mona Lisa and the Gutenberg Bible.

For now, those who go to www.europeanafashion.eu will find details about the project, a blog about its development, a social corner with Twitter feed and Facebook posts, and a list of fashion- related events around Europe.

Once the site is fully ready, organizers say, users will be able to search the archives by date, designer, item or keyword. A click on a particular image will bring up a detailed view and more information, as well as more images, if available.

Items will include images from fashion shows, catwalks, museum exhibitions and installations in fashion fairs; videos; biographies; blogs; documentation like show invitations, which might be considered works of art in themselves; and articles from newspapers and magazines dating from the 18th century.

Beyond the Web, Europeana Fashion is planning a series of conferences, beginning with "Fashion Industry and the GLAM Community" on April 17 and 18 in Florence, and organizers are considering virtual exhibitions, showcases and a cooperative arrangement with Wikimedia events.

Mrs. Arezzi Boza and Marco Rendina, a researcher and new-media expert at Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, a Italian nonprofit organization, came up with the idea for Europeana Fashion a couple of years ago when they realized the limits of the original site. …

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