La Rinascente has turned 100 and it’s celebrating in style with a new exhibition at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, just a stones throw away from the flagship store, that unfolds the details of its marvellous journey to this centennial birthday.
The story begins in 1917 when Borletti bought the Bocconi brothers stores and tasked the poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio with the creation of a new name – taking into account the innovative concepts of “simple, clear and opportune” from there La Rinascente was born.
Through a series of historical images, film and design artifacts pulled from immense archives, the exhibition reveals how, from the outset, the department store has trended towards modernity, playing a distinctive role in experimenting with new ideas arriving from the rest of Europe and being instrumental in driving forward an innovative sales model essential for a modern economy in which goods were displayed on shelves at a fixed price. There is much too on the leading role the department store played in the birth of a new advertising language in Italy following the First World War and its development of a modernized communications strategy, we are given the chance to see first hand a vast collection of original posters and sketches belonging to La Rinascente and the powerful message these put across.
The exhibition shows clearly how lifestyle and consumption have changed drastically since the First World War and through this important period of change, as the catalogue writes here “…the public can discover how La Rinascente wrote important chapters in the history of lifestyle, communication and mass distribution.”