Art Art and haute couture, Sylvio Giardina at Diocletian’s Baths

Art and haute couture, Sylvio Giardina at Diocletian’s Baths

Giorgia Massari

Between art and haute couture, designer Sylvio Giardina returns to Rome with a site-specific intervention at Diocletian’s Baths. Inside the evocative spaces of the Roman National Museum, the project SI/LENZIO curated by Alessio de’Navasques opens, where a marvellous weave of fabrics dances on the floor. A colourful tapestry, a sculptural dress, a sweet sheet. A woman rests softly, wrapped in the weaves of Sylvio Giardina’s monumental sartorial creation. It is a dress that brings together the practices and memories of the atelier, made up of fragments of ‘discarded’ fabrics, which contain the stories and memories of the women who have touched the artist’s creations over the years.

SI/LENZIO Sylvio Giardina |
Ph credit Cristina Crippa

The intervention, held during the day of 13th July, invites viewers to reflection and the non-revelation of something seen or experienced. The dress, worn during the performance by Mina Serrano, an established Spanish performer and visual artist, is meant to be an archetype, a sort of archive of past collections that creates a dialogue between different materials and patterns. From silk to chiffon, from French lace to velvet leaves. “When I started thinking about this project, I wanted a dress that would transform, that in each of its parts would have a mark, a different workmanship.” – Giardina explains – “In comparing the fabrics that are part of our archive and warehouse, I found in each one a memory, a different story. Every dress made is linked to a sharing, to an event, to a particular dialogue with that woman, with the shapes of her body, with the search for the right mood to see herself in that dress.

The choice of location becomes crucial. Sylvio Giardina is inspired by the myth of Persephone-Kore, the maiden quickened by Hades, the god of the underworld, and who cyclically returns to Earth to bring spring. In this, the choice of light and harmonious colours is evident, such as lilac, antique pink, shades of green, as well as black and white, recurring colours in his production. At the same time, Arretos Kore, is the unspeakable girl, as Euripides defined her, who represents life and inspires a performance that becomes a rebirth rite. Thus, Maria Serrano embodies Persephone-Kore, unleashing the power of the dress, understood as the place where the body dwells.

With this latest project Sylvio Giardina wants to question the modes of expression of fashion creation, which is freed from the times, modes and superstructures of the system. A collection of haute couture dresses can be evoked by an artistic project, which defines signs, traces and colours of dresses to come, through the feelings we have experienced. The haute couture dimension is thus, for the author, a free space for reflection, where sartorial design becomes the starting point for his own artistic research. A theory, his, that becomes a demonstration of how travel, intercontinental travel, and a strongly capitalist tendency of the fashion system, could be rethought through new paradigms of creativity,” reads the text by curator Alessio de’Navasques.

Ph credit Cristina Crippa
Courtesy Sylvio Giardina

Written by Giorgia Massari
Listen on