Skip to main content

Sculpture Dress, 1989, silk taffeta (N.231) Photography by Claudia Primangeli / L.e C. Service


Roberto Capucci: Art into Fashion

March 16–June 5, 2011

Italian fashion designer and artist Roberto Capucci (born 1930) is revered by contemporary designers for his innovative silhouettes and masterful use of form, color, and materials. This exhibition--featuring over eighty works, as well as original drawings and sketches--will be the first survey of his work in the United States. It includes work ranging from the beginning of his career as a boy genius of Italian fashion to his legendary sculpture-dresses--including his seminal 1978 "Colonna" silhouette, based on the Doric column--as well as his series of sculptures from 2007 honoring the city of Florence.

Capucci refers to his work as "a study in form" inspired by art, architecture, and nature. His early career was intertwined with the rise of the Italian fashion industry and of Italian high fashion following World War II. He opened his first couture salon in Rome in 1950 at age twenty, and by 1956 the international press had declared him Italy's best designer, lauding his "vigor, imagination, and uninhibited originality." In 1962 he moved to Paris, where he created both classical and experimental collections, incorporating surprising materials such as plastic and stones. Capucci returned to Rome in 1968, where he has continued his work as couturier and artist.

For Capucci, the act of creation is a complete sensory experience; he has described it as an assault—of art, beauty, color, emotion, music, nature, poetry. For the viewer the experience is magical and unforgettable.

Main Building


This exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Roberto Capucci.


This exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Roberto Capucci, and funded by The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Fund for Exhibitions, and The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions. Additional funding is provided by The Wyncote Foundation as recommended by Frederick R. Haas and Daniel K. Meyer, M.D., Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Mr. and Mrs. Jack M. Friedland, and Martha McGeary Snider, and by members of Le Capuccine, a group of generous supporters including Marla Green DiDio, Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Fox, and Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Spain. Promotional support is provided by NBC 10 WCAU and Amtrak.


Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles

Check out other exhibitions

View full calendar