Celebrating the white shirt, fashion’s enduring icon


Any dedicated follower of fashion knows that the white shirt is always in style.

Italian fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré certainly understood that; the white shirt was one of his signatures throughout his 30-year career, as an upcoming exhibition will show.

Phoenix Art Museum will be the first North American venue to host, “The White Shirt According to Me, Gianfranco Ferré,” from Nov. 4, 2015 to Jan. 18, 2016. Organized by Italy’s Gianfranco Ferré Foundation and Prato Textile Museum Foundation, the exhibition explores the designer’s creative process of repeatedly reconstructing and redefining the white shirt in poplin, organza, silk and taffeta. A selection of 27 key white shirts from 1982 to 2006 will be exhibited alongside technical designs, videos, advertisements and X-ray simulation images of the white shirt from the designer’s archives. The installation will be complimented by a second exhibition, “Gianfranco Ferré Designs,” showcasing more than 80 of his drawings.

“For Ferré, the white shirt was an opportunity to experiment with form, material, tradition and innovation. The apparent liberty and nonchalance with which Ferré interpreted the white shirt was the result of an extremely rigorous, design-oriented approach raised to the level of sculpture,” Dennita Sewell, curator of fashion design at Phoenix Art Museum, said in a news release. The two exhibitions start the 50th anniversary celebration of Phoenix Art Museum’s fashion design collection.

A graduate of Milan Polytechnic Institute in architecture, Ferré began his label in 1978 by launching a woman’s ready-to-wear collection and later men’s clothing, accessories and an Alta Moda line in Rome. From 1989 to 1997, he was artistic director of Christian Dior. He died in 2007. The exhibition was first shown at the Textile Museum in Prato in 2014.


For more information about the exhibitions and Phoenix Art Museum’s fashion collection, go to

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