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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – “Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion 1945-1968” is an entire exhibit dedicated to the rise of high fashion in Italy, and you can find it all at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.

More than 90 designer garments are on display, including high fashions gowns that lit up the grand ballrooms, red carpets and theaters of the most elegant events of that era.

Stefano Tonchi is editor and chief of “W Magazine” and co-curator of this exhibit.

“It’s a very important exhibition because it’s showing, for the first time, a part of Italian history and fashion that many people don’t know about,” Tonchi said.

That remarkable period of creativity in Italy was not only evident in fashion but also in art, cinema photography and of course jewelry.

Daniel Paltridge is the president and CEO of Bulgari North America.

“The brand transformed, especially in this post war period of Italian history where design, color and glamour was coming out so full. And at that time, Bulgari transformed itself into the Italian jewelry as we know it today,” Paltridge explained.

Bulgari is the Italian jewelry brand synonymous with establishing Italy as an international fashion capital.

Five heavily guarded clear cases are on display featuring priceless pieces worn by movie stars and the elite – from the famous colored Cabochon Collection to the diamonds worn by superstars.

“This necklace was owned by Gina Lollobrigida who was a star at that time, and a close connection to Bulgari as a brand,” Paltridge said, while showing off an exquisite diamond collar.

Proving a timeless quality, Paltridge showed the classic tubal designed watches from the 1960s and then showed us a watch very much like it sold today. Same goes for the fashions.

“We really wanted to put the focus on day wear and on elements and Italian high fashion that agree very contemporary, even for today,” Tonchi said pointing out the dresses that are very much in style now.

Also featured are accessories representing Italian craftsmanship and innovation which the “Made in Italy” brand became known for.

To make his point, Tonchi highlighted to some elegant leather bags.

He also pointed out an elegant 1960s Valentino dress, once worn by Jennifer Lopez to the Oscars.

She, of course, was wearing it as a vintage dress at that time.

“Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion,” of which CBS4 is a proud sponsor, is on at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale from December 7th through June 5th.

Lisa Petrillo

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