Francia, 1870-75
Taffetas broccato


-Textiles, Fashion and Botany

Villa Sucota, Como – Villa Bernasconi, Cernobbio
Textiles and botany, silk and gardens, dresses and flowers: the exhibition The Silk Gardens of Como: Textiles, Fashion and Botany, organized by the Fondazione Antonio Ratti (FAR) and the Comune di Cernobbio, will celebrate the beauty of nature and of textile creations.
The display, curated by Margherita Rosina and Francina Chiara - held at Villa Sucota in Como  (home of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti and its Textile Museum) and Villa Bernasconi in Cernobbio  from 11th July  to 11th October  - will explore the relationship textile-botany from the eighteenth century to the present day through the various aspects of the floral decoration.
The natural beauties of the Como area, the parks and the gardens overlooking the lake have always been a subject much loved by artists and creative people. They have provided suggestions and inspirations for centuries and the silk industry – established in Como in the late nineteenth century – was not exempt from this fascination.

Posted 2 July 2015

Share this:

The exhibition
The exhibition path, divided in thematic rooms, will feature floral textiles from the collections of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti, from important private collections and from historical archives of the Como silk industry. The first part of the exhibition presents: Baroque silks from Lyon where flowers and architectural elements are woven together, light taffetas decorated with sprays of roses or berries, cottons for upholstery with realistic floral triumphs of the late nineteenth century.

Robe Eden Passage
foto di sfilata, abito da gran sera, Gianfranco Ferré per Christian Dior Couture
Primavera-estate 1992, taffetas stampato

Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture, abito da cocktail
P/E 1985
raso di seta  operato stampato
Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, Parigi
photo: © Sophie Carre / Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent

The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to textiles from the twentieth century, which marks the development of the Como silk factories, suppliers of Italian and French haute couture and ready to wear. These sections will focus on fabrics inspired by vegetable gardens or decorated with herbs, while a whole room will include clothes and fabrics inspired by roses, loved and employed by textile decorators of every historical era. In each section, textiles will be matched with garments:
Italian high fashion is represented by Biki, Capucci, Ferré and Valentino; Dior and Yves Saint Laurent stand as eminent examples of Parisian Haute Couture; and the International prêtà- porter is featured with Ken Scott and Leonard. For the first time, a selection of tables from the Fabani herbarium, lent by the Fondazione Centro Studi Nicolò Rusca in Como, will be shown to the public: an extraordinary collection of 3,000 plates of herbs and plants collected at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century by Giuseppe Fabani, the municipal doctor of Cernobbio. The exhibition also includes some contemporary artworks by artists who attended the CSAV - Artists Research Laboratory of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti: another example of how botany can greatly inspire artistic creation.

A rich program of events related to botany, art and textiles will accompany the exhibition, with the involvement of local institutions such as Villa Carlotta Tremezzo (CO), the Museo didattico della Seta in Como, the Central Library of Como, the Società Ortofloricola Comense and the Museo Valtellinese di Storia e Arte in Sondrio: educational workshops on botany, with the collection of herbs and induction on their culinary employment; lectures by experts on the subject of the vineyards and citrus groves growing around the lake; both real and "virtual" guided tours to the most beautiful historical parks of the Como Riviera; and thematic meetings with writers.

Erbario Fabani - Centro Studi Nicolò Rusca

Villa Bernasconi, Cernobbio

The venues
The choice of location for the exhibition is not accidental: Villa Sucota and Villa Bernasconi, located at short distance from each other on the first basin of the western shore of Lake Como, are both examples of how textile entrepreneurs from Como have often chosen to run their activities in buildings surrounded by nature, to feed the creativity of designers and to offer customers the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Villa Sucota, which will feature eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury textiles and garments from the archives of the Museum at FAR and private collections, was home to the creative offices of Ratti s.p.a. from the late 1950s to 1998; since 2010, it houses the Fondazione Antonio Ratti and its museum of antique and modern textiles, the result of the collecting passion of Antonio Ratti who, after World War II, continued and honoured the textile tradition inaugurated in Como at the end of the nineteenth century.

Gianfranco Ferré Alta Moda
Primavera Estate 1987
Gonna e bustier di cady bianco. Bolero ricoperto di fiori di organza e gazar di seta
Fondazione Gianfranco Ferré, Milano
Foto: Giulia Bellezza

Foulard Sir Peter, 1983
Disegno di Ken Scott
Twill di seta stampato a quadro
Ratti s.p.a, su licenza Ken Scott
Archivio Ratti, Guanzate

Abito da sera
Parigi o Londra, 1898 circa
Faille chiné stampato à disposition, chiffon e merletto nero
Seta prodotta da Chavent Père & Fils, Lione
FAR, Museo Studio del Tessuto, Como

Summer 2015 signals the opening to the public of the park of Villa Sucota which -together with Villa Olmo and Villa del Grumello – is part of the chilometro della conoscenza , a green kilometre that connects the parks of the three villas of Lake Como. In Villa Sucota, visitors will be able to walk trails and reach hidden corners, such as the belvedere or the small chapel adjoining the villa, the limonaia and the greenhouses. Villa Sucota will also provide themed itineraries that will guide visitors to discover the park while describing the landscape and history of the place, as well as a path in which the public will experience installations and temporary and permanent artworks.

Villa Bernasconi is such a valuable example of Art Nouveau architecture in Italy to be part of the circuit "Route européenne de l'Art Nouveau". There, visitors will view the Como textile production since the twentieth century, side by side with creations by the leaders of Haute Couture.
The villa, now owned by the Comune di Cernobbio, was built in 1905 by the architect Alfredo Campanini for the entrepreneur Davide Bernasconi, one of the pivotal founders of the silk industry in Como.
The exterior and interior decoration of the villa was inspired by botanical themes related to textile design, including high reliefs depicting the cycle of the silkworm and tiles shaped as mulberry flowers.
The “rooms” of the exhibition: a thematic display Baroque gardens: sumptuous Lyonnaise silk brocades from the eighteenth century with floral motifs combined with architectural views, matched with hydrangea-themed contemporary textiles and a hydrangea-dress by the French fashion house Leonard.
Sinuous gardens: the lightness of the second half of the eighteenth century is here exemplified by brightly coloured meander silks, accompanied by men's and women’s clothes decorated with flowers inspired by the East.
With the support of Iniziativa realizzata con il contributo di Regione Lombardia - Rif. Promozione dell?attrattività del territorio lombardo in occasione dell?evento Expo 2015 - art. 16 della l.r. 19/2014.

With the patronage of Provincia di Como
Technological sponsor
Technical sponsors
I. S. I. S. Paolo Carcano
Media Partners

Romantic gardens: roses, wisteria and lilacs decorate midnineteenth century silks in pastel colours inspired the creation of dresses with flared skirts here exhibited.
Gardens on the walls: typical of Victorian taste, the "greenhouse" house features lush floral decorations of great realism on its walls, here exemplified by English and French printed cottons.
Roaring Twenties gardens: paint-brushed, abstract and moving flowers characterize the production of printed silks of the 1930s, the Jazz Age, featured in the exhibition through the historical archives of the silk factories of Como.
Fruit and vegetables gardens: the 1950s and the explosion of printed fabrics inspired by vegetable gardens and orchards, decorations much loved especially by the French couturier Hubert de Givenchy.
Herb gardens: fragrant herbs and nineteenth-century herbaria inspired the prints of textile collections for fashion and upholstery in the second half of the twentieth century, here on display next to a valuable herbarium, passionately collected by Giuseppe Fabani, municipal doctor of Cernobbio.
Pop Gardens: author of brilliant vegetable designs, Ken Scott created, first for the brand Falconetto and then to his name, memorable collections that have earned him the nickname "the gardener of fashion ", collections exhibited here through
clothes and scarves.
Rose gardens: a beloved theme by textile creators, the rose was represented in many ways throughout the twentieth century. Next to the fabrics, in this section visitors will see garments by Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Capucci and Milanese tailors, all made with Como silks.
Enchanted gardens: the grand finale of the show, with spectacular evening gowns by Dior and Ferré Haute Couture, outstanding wearable sculptures.

Frammento di pezza, Lione, 1740 ca., gros broccato con sete policrome, FAR, Museo Studio del Tessuto, Como

Exhibition hours
Tue - Fri: 2 pm – 6 pm
Sat and Sun: 10 am – 7 pm
Closed on Mondays
Special openings and guided visits upon request

Full price: €  7
Reduced: €  5 (under 25, over 65 and conventioned)
Free: under 12.

 P. +39 031 3384976
Facebook: Giardini di seta

See the Agenda>

Copyright © 2013-2020  Textile is more!        Copyright, privacy, disclaimer