Interweaving Threads of Time: A Reflective Journey Through ‘Fashion & Antiquity’ under the expert guidance of Alessio de’Navasques and Stéphane Verger

Dear Shaded Viewers,

The five-day event “Fashion & Antiquity recently concluded. It offered an innovative perspective on antiquity through the prism of fashion. This dynamic program was a collaborative effort of three major institutions: Museo Nazional Romano, Fashion Studies Sapienza, and NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti. Open to the public, the event featured a rich array of activities, exhibitions, dialogues, and comparative studies intertwining with archaeology. Under the expert guidance of Alessio de’Navasques and Stéphane Verger, and bolstered by the scientific insights of Colomba Leddi and Romana Andò, the event was structured into a series of three thought-provoking workshops, alongside a two-day Symposium.

The workshops were a highlight. The first, “Building Classical Ideals: Recognizing the Gods through their Attributes,” was led by renowned curator Judith Clark. Here, students from Naba and Sapienza explored the evocative nature of classical motifs, crafting symbolic objects that drew parallels between ancient sculptures and contemporary fashion. They curated an immersive exhibition journey at Palazzo Altemps, delving into concepts of monumentality and narrative.

The second workshop, “Timeless Shapes and Constructions of Handwoven Garment Making,” steered by Jan Jan Van Essche, recently named Best Belgian Designer, delved into the archaic and geometric forms of linear textures. Within just two days, students constructed a poetic and formal installation at Michelangelo’s Cloister in the Baths of Diocletian.

The third workshop, “Indexing Fashions,” led by fashion scholar Marco Pecorari, involved a critical examination of four sculptures from Palazzo Massimo’s collection, chosen for their symbolic resonance. Students engaged with original archival materials to contemplate how fashion can reinterpret ancient figures in a contemporary light. The workshop culminated in four performative works, addressing themes such as racial discrimination, feminism, gender identity, and the ‘poetics of lack’ in both sculpture and contemporary society.

The symposium was equally enriching. On the first day, November 30, panels included discussions on fashion’s symbolic and ritualistic aspects, body and gender identity, and the ancient as an imaginary realm. Esteemed speakers like Stéphane Verger, Alessandro Saggioro, and others shared their insights. The day concluded with a dialogue between Romeo Gigli and Alessio de’Navasques, exploring Gigli’s fashion career and his connections with Mediterranean antiquity.

The second day broadened the discussion to include themes like the dynamism of garments and the sacredness of dressing. Speakers like Judith Clark and Donatella Barbieri contributed their expertise. The symposium wrapped up with a panel dedicated to innovative methodologies in fashion studies, featuring insights from Simona Segre Reinach, Alessandro Manzi, and others, promising new directions for the field of fashion research.



Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.