Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi to Showcase Italian Shoe Design

Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi to Showcase Italian Shoe Design

Italian fashion’s most iconic shoes will be on display in the halls of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi from the 28th of April to the 5th of May, 2023.

The Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi will be exhibiting a fascinating collection of iconic Italian shoes, which mark an era and helped to revolutionise traditional habits. Titled, The Italian Shoe Design Symphony, it has been curated by Elisabetta Pisu and will showcase a hand-picked selection of women’s shoes, including legendary models and recent creations by the Italian fashion industry’s most influential brands and designers.

The exhibition has been able to get hold of some extremely rare shoes, some jealously guarded by fashion houses, along with unique models selected for the innovative force of their design or their evocative power.

An extravagant shoe design by Diego DolciniSome shoes on display take the form of traditional pumps, while others display a far more complex narrative. Some are implicitly ironic, whilst others hide a message visible only to a few, and with the focus being on Italy, there will be some art pieces, true works of genius conceived but never to be worn.

Elisabetta Pisu said, “Shoes are bearers of social and cultural values, accessories that reveal the wearer’s personality, status and identity. As objects, they are even more meaningful as they are also a celebration of women in the Emirates who wear elegant stilettos under their abayas, the traditional Islamic long dresses.”

Ida Zilio-Grandi, director of the Institute, added, “This exhibition, organised for the Italian Design Day 2023, highlights once more Italy’s creativity and craftsmanship and will certainly fascinate Emirates’ women who love striking shapes, colours and details.”

As it will be a symphony of colours and forms, the exhibition has created a multifaceted composition, including a score made of bright shades and sculpted forms that resonate in a shared harmony.

The exhibits selected by Elisabetta Pisu represent a multitude of themes:

The heel, almost impossibly high stilettos, and shininess, produced by reflective fabrics and Swarovski crystals that transform shoes into precious jewels.

Styles, shapes and colours using all notes of creativity. Including the visionary inventions of Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi’s minimalist aesthetic, the magnificence of René Caovilla, Prada’s allegories, Versace’s eclecticism, and the elegant architecture by Diego Dolcini.

“Shoes have constantly evolved over the centuries: the toe box has changed, becoming rounded, thin or square. The heel too has changed, becoming high or low, large or spool-shaped, playing thus a fundamental role in the shoe’s architecture”, stated Elisabetta.

Adding, “The Italian Shoe Design Symphony in Abu Dhabi seeks to show the creativity and genius that made Italian shoes an internationally renowned unique excellence symbol of craftsmanship, distinctiveness, quality and sustainability.”

Also on display will be creations by young Italian designers, including the unusual shapes and bold colours by Francesca Bellavita, MARIæN’s essential and refined lines and the hyper-femininity by Alfredo Piferi, combining glamour and sustainability.

About Elisabetta Pisu
Elisabetta Pisu is a design Curator with a sociology and cultural management background. Her research focuses on contemporary design relating to the production process, social values and the evolution of new expressive languages. Objects, spaces and architecture are her core interests, and the changing role of design in contemporary society.

In 2016, she founded EP Studio, which specialises in the design, organisation and curatorship of international design exhibitions advancing and promoting the concept of made in Italy.

She has also collaborated with important cultural institutions and curated exhibitions in renowned museums, such as the Craft + Design Centre in Canberra (Australia); Design Museum Gent (Belgium); Cube Design Museum (Netherlands); Design Museum Holon (Israel); Museum of Craft and Design (San Francisco, US), MODA – Museum of Design Atlanta (Atlanta, US); L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art (Israel); COD – Center for Openness and Dialogue (Albania).

The grand opening of the exhibition takes place on the 28th of April at 7:00 pm.

Attending the opening will be Elisabetta Pisu, fashion designers Shaikha Al Ali and Elena Salmistraro, designer Angela Vettese, director of the graduate course in Visual Arts and Fashion at IUAV University, Venice, and the Abu Dhabi Youth Orchestra, directed by Aldo Dotto.

Where: Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi. 537 Al Qasbah St – Al Bateen Abu Dhabi.

When: Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am – 2 pm

Price: Admission is free

The exhibition is held in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi – Italian Embassy.

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