Roberta Valentini, fashion authority and owner of various stores in Brescia including Penelope and Apartment 28, has presented her first exhibition “Archivio Penelope?” hosting some of her favorite fashion and art pieces from her personal archive at Moca, via Moretto, Brescia (Italy). The exhibition, also hosting a selection of period art photographs, was inaugurated in November 2016 and will close its doors on 15 January 2017. Here, Valentini explains what inspired her for this exhibition and what guides her in her work.

General view of the “Archivio Penelope?” exhibition at Moca.
© Archivio Penelope
General view of the “Archivio Penelope?” exhibition at Moca.


How did you decide to organize this exhibition?

The city’s authorities asked me to contribute preparing a part of an exhibition on art photographs. I accepted and also staged over 20 items, all chosen by me and by my team. They are iconic pieces that we thought are important for representing all the years I spent researching.

Who visited it until now?

A very heterogeneous audience –from fashion and art school students to nostalgic ladies who own some pieces bought at my Penelope boutique. Reactions were very positive. I get great enthusiasm and happy glances from visitors when they look at these “beautiful things”.

Roberta Valentini holds a military-green Miyake dress from the '80s. In front of her, a printed-paper skirt by Comme des Garçons (1992).
© Hugh Findletar
Roberta Valentini holds a military-green Miyake dress from the '80s. In front of her, a printed-paper skirt by Comme des Garçons (1992).


Are you considering to organize other exhibits? On which themes?

The success and all the history I collected throughout the years would make me think so. Though, I would prefer not to mention what future topics I might focus on as we are still at a too early stage.

Do you ever consult your archive for ideas for your present work? And how did your job change throughout the years?

I never go back. When I see my “things” it is always as if they were all brand new and as if I looked at them for the first time.

It’s hard for me to say how my work has changed. What I can say is that I’m not regretting anything, even if it is not time to make a final balance. I continue to be focused on the present, though when I talk about the present it has already passed.

More fashion items at the “Archivio Penelope?” exhibition.
© Archivio Penelope
More fashion items at the “Archivio Penelope?” exhibition.


How are consumers –and especially the youngest and streewear-minded purchasing today?

It’s all so vast. We are on-line, off-line, buying vintage, re-using but also often into a 'no-buy' attitude. Consumers are always more often buying everything everywhere, even without coming into the store at the right moment. The young reflect all this even more evidently.