Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — About 500 fashion executives turned up Tuesday evening at the Equitable Building here to view the opening of the Italian Trade Commission’s latest exhibit, “Serenissima: The Arts of Fashion in Venice.”
The show, which explores fashion’s impact on Venice’s tradesmen, its laws and society during its glory period from the 13th to 18th centuries, includes clothing, shoes and accessories. It will run in the Equitable gallery through Jan. 20.
Guests for the preview evening also saw a theatrical extravaganza, “Riflessi Veneziani,” which brought the period to life through a series of film and dance renditions.
Many Venetians of the time, enchanted by the best tradesmen had to offer in the design and manufacture of laces, embroideries and silks, disregarded local laws by wearing luxury garments and accessories.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, on hand for the opening, spoke of Italy’s relentless allure.
“As a student of history, Italy is a source of inexhaustable fascination for me.” he told the crowd in a brief address. What fascinated him most, he said, was “the Italians’ unflappable ability to ignore their politicians.”

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