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|Giuseppe Lisio was born in 1870 at Roccamontepiano in the Italian province of Chieti. After many years of experience in the silk-weaving sector, working for the “Luigi Osnago” company of Milan, he opened his first shop in Florence in 1906, backed by a workshop with a small number of handlooms.
His intention was to ensure that one of the most illustrious sectors of Italian craftsmanship, a tradition with roots in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, continued to flourish.
Paintings by the great Italian artists, works of decorative art, and above all surviving examples of woven silks of the past were the sources from which Giuseppe Lisio drew inspiration in developing the range of patterns and designs he used for the firm’s production.
The Company quickly achieved tremendous success in Italy and abroad, its trademark a byword for fine craftsmanship and products of the highest quality.
With the opening of a second shop in Rome, the move of the workshop to Milan and the opening of the Milan shop in 1924, the Manifattura LISIO continued to grow and the 1920s and ‘30s saw considerable expansion of the collection and the creation of new types of textile.
These were also the years of Giuseppe Lisio’s friendship with Gabriele D’Annunzio and of his contacts with leading figures in the world of culture and contemporary art: the architect Gian Carlo Maroni, Francesco Paolo Michetti, Giò Ponti, Fede Cheti. Reigning houses, embassies, the nobility and the highest ranks of the Church together made up the distinguished customer base of the LISIO “shops”.
In 1943 the bombardment of Milan caused serious damage to the building Lisio had commissioned as a home for himself and to house the company workshop; the four LISIO shops – in 1933 a retail outlet had also been opened in Paris – had to close; and on 16th April 1943 Giuseppe Lisio died at his home in Rapallo.
In the general recovery of economic activity after the War, LISIO too started up again, re-opening shops and the workshop, first under the direction of a nephew, Teodoro Olivieri, and then of Giuseppe’s daughter Fidalma. Commissions revived and came from many different sectors, from the cinema and the theatre to period costumes and full dress ceremonial, from restoration to liturgical vestments and accessories and to a vast range of domestic furnishings such as wall-hangings, curtains, counterpanes and upholstery fabrics for chairs and armchairs.
In 1971 Fidalma Lisio set up the Fondazione Arte della Seta LISIO with the intention, through its didactic, cultural and manufacturing activities, of perpetuating the ancient art of hand-weaving textiles in silk and precious metals.
The end of the 1980s and the following decade marked an important turning-point for the LISIO Foundation
- the period saw publication of the first issues of the house journal “Jacquard”, which brings together interdisciplinary contributions from historians of textiles – woven fabrics, costumes, lace, tapestries – news of experiences and experiments in secondary school and university environments and of textiles in the arts;
- the didactic activity of the Foundation was enriched with a series of courses specifically designed to meet the needs of scholars, conservators and restorers;
- important cooperative ventures with Fashion Houses were initiated, for which the Foundation’s experts created a number of absolutely original textiles, with experimentation and creativity providing the driving force of innovative research while at the same time carefully cultivating the craft’s roots in the tradition of hand-woven silks.
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