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Student Showcase Archive

Marta Franceschini

MA work

MA work

Arbiter. Fashion, Style and Masculinity in Italy, 1935-1952

The dissertation explores the articulation of networks and discourses surrounding fashion, style and masculinity in Italy between 1935 and 1952, through the analysis of the magazine Arbiter. Arbiter was first established to furnish the actors gravitating around the definition of the menswear sector with a tool that could turn the sector itself into a system of communication. The magazine soon went beyond its role of propaganda, reshuffling its agenda to enter the wider debate surrounding the definition of national and gender identity    

Essentially looking at the ‘loosening of the embrace’ between words and images on the pages of Arbiter - this the name of the magazine at the centre of my analysis - and contextualising the information encoded in the spreads, I navigated the surface of appearance, and delved into the many ideological implications of representation.



  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA History of Design, 2017

  • My research interests lay in the liaisons and counter circuits between heritage, national identities, and fashion as a system of production and communication. 

    In my MA dissertation, I analysed discourses of fashion, style and gender identity in Italy between 1935 and 1952, considering them as fabricated languages, intertwined one into the other. The privileged lens through which I could do so was Arbiter, an editorial project that combined different souls: the trade journal, the fashion report and the lifestyle magazine. 

    Before enrolling to the History of Design programme, I earned a BA in fashion design from IUAV University of Venice. I then embarked in various projects: I contributed to the constitution of the digital archive of the Armani/Silos in Milan, and collaborated as researcher for the exhibition Bellissima: Italy and High Fashion, 1945-1968, supporting the curatorial team in the set up at the Villa Reale in Monza and at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.