Italian Shoe Design Symphony
Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Abu Dhabi


Italian Shoe Design Symphony showcases 28 pairs of women shoes selected among legendary models and recent creations by the most important brands and designers of Italian fashion. Extremely rare shoes, some jealously guarded by fashion houses, unique models selected for the innovative force of their design or their evocative power, they all contribute to create a diverse range of styles and notions of the shoe-object. Some reproduce the shape and aesthetic of traditional pumps, others represent a more complex narrative, some models are implicitly ironic, others hide a message visible only to a few, and others are art pieces, true works of genius conceived to be never worn. As in a symphony of colours and forms, the exhibition presents a multifaceted composition, a score made of bright shades and sculpted forms that resonate in a shared harmony. The exhibits represent the two main themes structuring the exhibition: the heel, almost impossibly high stilettos, and shininess, produced by reflective fabrics and Swarovski crystals that transform shoes into precious jewels.

On display the creativity and genius that made of Italian shoes and design tout court the flagship of our identity, becoming an internationally renowned unique excellence symbol of craftsmanship, distinctiveness, quality and sustainability. A symphony of styles, shapes and colours using all notes of creativity: the visionary inventions of Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi’s minimalist aesthetic; the magnificence of René Caovilla; Prada’s allegories; Versace’s eclecticism; the elegant architectures by Diego Dolcini. Also on display the creations of young Italian designers, such as 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.

Exhibition realized in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi – Italian Embassy.

Production and coordination by IMF Foundation and EP studio

Concept and curatorship by Elisabetta Pisu

Venue: Istituto italiano di Cultura di Abu Dhabi, April 28 – May 5, 2023