«Our plan was to present one of the liveliest and humanly
most positive characters at the forefront of Italian cultural life.
We chose renowned high fashion designer Germana Marucelli.
The occasion came at the recent inauguration of her new atelier in Milan
– an atelier clearly designed and decorated by artists – when a precious
volume was published by East 128 (Milan) and titled Le favole del ferro
da stiro – Ricordi di Germana Marucelli written by Nanda Pivano (…)».
Lara Vinca Masini
Needing a new workshop, in 1964 Germana Marucelli left her long-time atelier in Corso Venezia 18 and moved across the road to no. 35. She tasked artist Paolo Scheggi with designing the layout and look of the new spaces.
During the inauguration of the new atelier on 7 October 1964, the volume Le favole del ferro da stiro by Ferdanda Pivano (writer, journalist, music critic, translator) was presented to the public. It was the first and only monograph dedicated to Pivano’s friend and great fashion designer Germana Marucelli. Straddling the line between the familiarity of fables and the lyricism of myth, the book tells the human and artistic life of the “intellectual dressmaker.” The fashion press followed the event closely:
«It has been said time and again: Germana Marucelli is ahead of her time…. This brave woman’s latest feat is her new atelier, opened just a few days ago, with cocktails offered to friends and customers. A beautiful, modern and bright atelier… An emotional and deservedly satisfied Germana gave her closest friends a booklet titled Le favole del ferro da stiro. It is the exciting story of her life as told by Fernanda Pivano».
Il giorno, 25 October 1964
Marucelli’s old dressmaker’s shop, formerly Casa Ventura, followed the style of fashion salons of the time, bound to the French “all gold and mirrors”. Paolo Scheggi came up with a groundbreaking design for Germana’s new atelier that art critic Lara Vinca Masini considered “one of his first liveable examples of plastic integration into architecture”. The main colours of the new atelier were white (walls), grey (carpet), black (lacquered furniture) and aluminium (lamps by Alviani and Scheggi). The only dashes of colour were in some works by Scheggi, namely the cobalt blue of Intersuperficie curva-azzurro, fitted into the wall, and the vermillion red of Compositore spaziale, placed at the entrance. These works sent out a vital energy that vibrated through the whole room. The flow of radiance generated by the lamps placed on the floor cut through the space like a blade of light. Every trace of friction, of interference between fabric and human beings was driven out so that light, the place’s only actual structure, could consecrate their encounter. To ensure the room’s practical use, spatial variations were made possible thanks to a number of lacquered screens and sliding steel doors. The room was, in its very essence, a series of interlocking modules with which to transform space and make it convenient for the ever-innovative defilés.
Here, models no longer strutted through the audience; instead, viewers could follow them as they took turns on a cubic stage, reversing the logic of the time. Furthermore, as their shape was defined by how light struck them, the models appeared like living sculptures to be admired. It was a groundbreaking idea for the time and the fashion press was quick to point out its uniqueness.
«The most ingenious and well-accomplished thing is the stage. Placed against the back wall, in the centre of the main room, there is a huge black cube lighted up with spotlights from behind. One by one, the models
step on the stage, acquiring huge relief and
importance – much like small statues that you can admire even in the finest details.».
Il giorno, 25 October 1964