Say “Yes” to the Amazing Dresses
By: Mary Fran Bontempo

Dress by Roberto Capucci

When Kate Middleton married her Prince William Wales several weeks ago, it was all about the dress.

And what a dress it was: regal, elegant and simply stunning, as was the bride. But, at the end of the day, it was still just a dress, lovely as it was.

Not so with the “dresses” on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibition Art Into Fashion-Roberto Capucci, running now through June 5th. The Italian born Capucci elevates the art of fashion to masterful heights with his inspired use of fabric, color and the form of his creations.

Fellow blogger Chrysa Smith and I took in the Capucci show last week and spent much of our tour awestruck by the designer’s innovative designs, brilliant fabrics and intricate attention to details.

Early in his career, Capucci created couture designs for the fashion elite, winning praise as a wunderkind of the fashion world. By age 26, he was dubbed Italy’s top designer. Eventually tiring of the effect of economic factors on fashion, as well as the need to cater to changing tastes, Capucci began moving away from wearable clothing and towards fashion as an art form. Drawing inspiration from nature, art and architecture, Capucci created sculptural dresses, such as his “Colonna” dress, based on the form of a Greek column. Drawing on nature as his inspiration, later designs included materials such as bamboo and bird feathers.

9 skirts rose dress

With pleating, geometric cutting and shapes, ruffles and folds and dazzling color combinations, Capucci’s creations are simply glorious. Many early pieces could easily be worn by today’s Hollywood royalty (and the future Queen of England as well), while later offerings exist as standing pieces of art. All are red carpet worthy and jaw-dropping. If you love fashion, or simply appreciate innovative artistic expression,the Capucci exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring over 80 of the artist’s designs, as well as artwork and sketches, is not to be missed.

Chagall’s Paris Through the Window

Once you’ve witnessed all of Capucci’s magic, your ticket also entitles you to visit Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle, the exhibit currently housed at the museum’s Perleman Building. The painter and his compatriots lived rich, artistic lives in Paris in the early 20th century and the show offers over 70 works by Chagal and his contemporaries. It’s a brief trolley ride from the main museum or a short stroll down the Parkway, Philly’s answer to Paris’ main boulevard, the Champs Elysee.

Philly may not quite be Paris in the spring time, but for art lovers, it’s darn close. For more information on both shows, visit