Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Renaissance World of Pucci

When one thinks of Pucci the Renaissance palaces of Florence are one the last things that come to mind and vice versa. However the Renaissance and Pucci are so intertwined you could not have one without the other.

Reaching fame through his highly psychedelic designs of the 1960’s and 1970’s Emilio Pucci was born in 1914 of one of Florence’s oldest noble families, and would live and work in the Pucci Palace in Florence for much of his life.

The 14th -15th Century Palazzo Pucci has been in the Pucci family since it was built and is a standing testament that old and new can coexist together.

Marchesa Cristina Pucci di Barsento, widow of Emilio Pucci, still remembers how astonished she was when she first entered the house, back in 1959: ‘I was very young and quite astonished: It was a heavy house, even severe, like Florence’. Still, what looked like a timeless palazzo outside was a living house inside.

Pucci can be given credit for revolutionizing couture in the 1960s with his vibrant designs and colour and an aesthetic that was totally out of place within the environs in which his clothes were created. However the history of the Pucci family and their business interests gave rise to an evolutionary trend that had its epoch with Emilio Pucci.

In the brown room, for example, the silk draperies and wall covering were made at Antico Setificio Fiorentino, a silk workshop founded by the Puccis and other families in the 17th century; Emilio Pucci took it over in the 1950s for the manufacture of his fabrics which would become the backbone of his designs.

The late-18th-century fresco in the dining room, by Luigi Ademollo, depicts Aenes leaving Troy. Marchesa Pucci and her husband added the Venetian chairs. The crystal glassware was made for the family in the 18th century.

The 17th-century bed in Emilio Pucci’s bedroom was made in Lucca and it was among Pucci’s favourite pieces. The gilt woodwork on the headboard echoes the embroidery on the canopy.

The Wedgwood room was created by an English artist in the late 18th century. The palette and Neo-classical plasterwork were inspired by the signature ceramics. An 18th-century marble sculpture of the goddess Diana is at center.

“My husband loved and respected this house, and we changed little. He was very kind to me and didn’t want to teach me. He understood that some things should be kept the way they are, but he didn’t say, ‘Do this; don’t do that.’ And it was not necessary, because I didn’t want to interfere with the palazzo.”

The house the current marchesa “came into” is still ancestral, layered in generations of incremental change. However after nearly 50 years, Marchesa Pucci has gently made it her own—and shifted the terms for the next fortunate generation.

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