Anna Pittoni and the first crocheted sweater that became a myth

TRIESTE Anita Pittoni inventive creator of fashion? The Creator yes, first and foremost himself. In some autobiographical notes, handwritten and typewritten, the Trieste artisan talked about himself in various details, constructing and adapting his profile to the apartments, to the meetings, to the interlocutors to whom they were addressed.

He wanted to be a natural designer, self-taught and inspired, he mythologized the beginning. Completely inexperienced – she said of herself – she had started crocheting a sweater, on the steps in front of the door to the Wulz sisters’ studio, at number 19 on Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, now Corso Italia. In another of his lyrics, “La boutique de la femme italienne”, he joked with his label, but with the pride of rightly belonging to an artistic dimension: “Your wife does not love you. Give her a Pittoni costume. “Your boyfriend forgets you. Give him a Wulz photo.”

It happened, however, that some details escaped Anita’s control, that some notes were not revised and adjusted. Here is another of his self-representations to outline a different path, clarify roles and division of tasks in the decorative art studio that he originally had in the Wulz residence before moving to via D’Annunzio 1 (today’s via del Teatro) back then. in via Cassa di Risparmio: the photographed clothes and accessories she made them, but the drawings and sketches were signed by the Polish advertising graphic artist Marcello Claris. Not models by his own hand, that is, but by an artist to whom the Western album, now preserved at the Wolfsonian Museum in Genoa and considered to be Anitas, must certainly be attributed.

Pretending skills or neglecting partnerships helped create his character. She liked to give a “plausible” description of herself, where truth, a pinch of exaggeration and roles of pure invention coexist. It happens again, for example, according to another of her autobiographies, when she claimed to have been assistant to director Anton Giulio Bragaglia for the scenes in “The Naked Prompter” by Marinetti. A fantasy: artist and designer Bruno Munari actually made them.

There is a fashion library that tells a lot about the sources of Pittoni’s inspiration and the origins of her textile work. But also on vezzi, on the weaknesses of women and creative. Hundreds of precious publications to “contextualize” this unique and eclectic figure of “genius of manual skills”, to quote the definition given by Tullio Kezich, whose work as a designer was nurtured by many readings and visual stimuli, were therefore anything but spontaneous.

The bookseller Simone Volpato works on the volumes owned by various collectors, to whom we owe the FuturAnita exhibition and catalog 2016, dedicated to the daily life of the decorative art studio, to customers, patrons and testimonies of blue blood, to customers and suppliers, correspondence and contacts maintained in the fashion years, from 1920 onwards, when he was not even twenty years old. In 1949, Anita will leave fashion for a new adventure, prestigious release. Michela Messina and Sergio Vatta have recently dealt with it, while Volpato’s studio becomes a book, for the types of publisher Ronzani.

Let’s browse the quantities. To learn to recognize the fabrics and study the weaves of fabrics, Anita reads two manuals published by Hoepli, by Oscarre Giudici and Pietro Pinchetti, from 1904 and 1910. In “Contemporary decorative art” by Carlo Carrà, from 1923, she focuses on the tapestries, the panels. , the rugs, the lace department, where the author tells about Fortunato Depero, Rosa Menni Giolli, master of decorative arts applied to fabrics, the designer and architect Marcello Nizzoli and the Trieste Batik Association founded by the painter Maria Lupieri. Among these pages, his first monogram “AP” is preserved, in the form of an ex libris.

From the same year, another work is consulted by Pittoni, “Le arti a Monza nel MCMXXIII” by Roberto Papini, in which he emphasizes passages dedicated to Depero, to Guido Ravasi’s silk, to Lorenzo Rubelli’s velvet and to tapestries by Vittorio Zecchin. In the monographic issue of “Noi. Futuristic Art Magazine”, still from ’23, he studies the pillows and panels of Depero and Valente.In 1925 he visited the Second International of Decorative Arts in Monza, from which he bought the catalog, while he learned more on the treatment of fabric pillows consulted them from the Turin-based firm Lenci from the years ’26 and ’28.Finally, when he approached the ship world in 1932, Ernesto Nathan Rogers donated the volume of Anselmo Bucci, “Naval decorative art”.

The Pittoni Library has room for all the contemporary editorial innovations in home decor. On the shelves are also volumes of art and the catalogs from the exhibition of the Novecento Italiano by Margherita Sarfatti from 1926 and 1929. “The Painter of the Needle,” as Bragaglia called her, is curious and attentive to the results. He reads, browses, is imbued with images, colors, graphics. Absorbed like a sponge.

Therefore, if we could ideally enlarge the image where Anita Pittoni says she put the perfect sweater under the house of her friends Wulz, Carrà, Depero, the futurists’ feminine fashion, theorized in the manifesto of Volt (the poet Vincenzo Fani Ciotti), the same Sarfatti. It was the world of art that offered her ideas for designing the mood board in her collections. Anita did, and often believed it, entirely and exclusively hers.

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