The buttons of Chanel, Versace, Elsa Schiaparelli and of the greatest couturiers on show at the Musei Mazzucchelli. Pavese tells us their story
If in everyday life some details can be considered negligible, in the world of fashion detail is everything. “The detail is as important as the essential is. When it is inadequate, it destroys the whole outfit”said Christian Dior. This is why the famous couturiers paid great attention to the buttons.
“It was back in 1967. My father went to Paris to present a collection of buttons to Cristobal Balenciaga ; they were of a lightly bigger size than the average” says Edoardo Pavese, son of Secondo Stefano Pavese, founder of the company by the same name, one of the most important companies for the production of buttons for the clothing industry.
“Balenciaga got very angry and said to my father: “Dear petite italienne (he called him this way) I cannot choose anything from this collection: buttons never have to be bigger than a woman’s eye”.
And to celebrate this little “instrument”, whose importance has never been highlighted enough, there is the exhibition Il bottone. Arte e moda, opened at the Musei Mazzucchelli, in Ciliverghe di Mazzano, Brescia, from January 18th to April 30th 2013. During this occasion, the button becomes, as it has to be, a small piece of art and an instrument to read the history and the changes of culture through the evolution of fashion. Because there is an indissoluble connection between button and fashion.
“Besides being a practical object to fasten a piece of clothing, it is something essential also from a stylistic point of view”, says Pavese. “You just need to think on a piece of clothing by Moschino, Givenchy or by Jean Patou to understand that it can become a decorative element that can completely modify a creation”.
The exhibition shows, for the first time, the button collection by Franco Jacassi, that boasts more than 7000 items, starting from the XVIII century to the 90s. “In the past, there were some reference brands, and then there was a world made of haberdashers and tailors that copied the clothing by taking inspiration, for example, from the models by Chanel, and by paying great attention to quality”, Pavese adds.
“With the prêt-a-porter, everything changes. At first, quantity. For a certain period of time, the houses of fashion were giving inputs and making requests. Today, on the contrary, we produce two collections, like the fashion does. The style departments are the one who make their choice from our models”.
Among the exhibited items, there are some precious antique buttons, unique pieces by Eva Sabbatini, the historical gold golf balls by Hermés, the turtles by Valentino, the buttons by Lanvin , that show the brand’s trademark, those intertwined with some colourful silk threads by Paul Poiret and the eccentric creations by Elsa Schiaparelli.
The exhibition also wants to pay homage to the Italian market, “because in Italy we have the most important production chain in this sector, from the fabrics to the accessories, to the packaging”.
“Lately, the button reached even the fashion accessory field. Our ability to assemble different materials with absolute quality and made in Italy techniques allows us to give a greater contribution to the fashion, if compared to the past” concludes Edoardo Pavese. “Prada, for example, has recently chosen a button that it can use also for shoes and for bags”.