Fashion and perfume, both of them have an inseparable relationship, especially when speaking of both are created by an artisan’s hands, the uniqueness and artistic notion not only interprets one’s personal style and taste, but it also brings out the aesthetic essence of the designer. It’s rather prevalent nowadays to simply step into one of the designer boutique, and experience both beautiful aspects under one roof; what I found it more intriguing is having something that speaks the history, the heritage, and certainly, the delicate craftsmanship; given the opportunity during my visit in Venice, I came across something that fulfill my craving from fashion to perfume & history, that treasure was hidden inside in an understated yet splendid Venetian mansion - Palazzo Mocenigo.
While most of the prominent Venetian palazzos located along the Grand Canal, Palazzo Mocenigo is one of the unique and exceptional one that situated inland in Santa Croce, one of the ‘sestieri’ of Venice. Upon my arrival at the San Stae water-bus station, I walked down Salizada San Stae together with my excitement, and the heat from the bright sun right above me, looking forward to unveil the secret of this discreet and beautiful mansion.
Upon entered to the palazzo, my attention was instantly drawn by the prestigious perfume table display just right at the entrance of the main hall, follow by a series of vitrines that showcasing array of precious and historic perfume bottles from the past few centuries, this incredible experience serves as a perfect prelude of this visit.
Palazzo Mocenigo, currently as a museum for ancient Venetian textile, costumes / fashion and perfume, the property is a former residence of one of the most significant and affluent family, the Mocenigo family, with 7 members that became doges between 1414 – 1778. Rebuilt at the beginning of the 17th century, this spectacular mansion combined the style of the artistic era, from Gothic to Rococo and Neo-classic. After climbing up the stairs to the Portego on the 1st floor, one will be amazed by the spectacular interior that filled with quintessential Venetian splendor and bygone glory, the grandeur of the hall decorated with the big Murano glass chandelier, furnished with the paintings and portraits of the Mocenigo family that exudes their prestige and significance. The entire 1st floor consisted of 20 rooms, which they belong to two major themes, one dedicated to the Venetian lifestyle of the family dated back as early as 17th century, from the sumptuously decorated living and dining room, to the elegant Venetian fashion for both men and women in delicate textile, such as the craftsmanship of the details from men's jacket to gown for women. One of my favorite room is ‘Room 11’ which dedicated for men’s classical clothing, the breath-taking display of the entire wall of beautifully crafted gilets from floor to ceiling, the impeccably assembled outfit that reflects the true elegance and refinement of men’s classical attire dated back then, it is an eyes-wide-open experience to see such remarkable Venetian textile and ancient fashion works, not only it takes ones back to the glamour and elegance of Venetian lifestyle, it also serves as a valuable archive to let us look into the glamour and sumptuous Venetian style, to inspire our wardrobe with sophistication and attention to details.
While for another theme, dedicated to the history of perfume making, which takes the visitor to explore the journey and art of Venetian perfume making, a valuable journey to experience the know-how, and the precision of each aromatic aspects, from floral to wood, herbs to spices. Don’t miss out the 16th century lab of perfumery that showcased a comprehensive range of unique ingredients for fine perfume creation. Another favorite of mine, it has to be the precious collection of perfume phials and containers from the Storp family, a founder of the Drom Fragrances, which is the first time for them to put on display in Venice.
For those who are interested in perfume making, the Museum also provided a perfume-making workshop (advance booking is necessary) in their education room, which enables perfume enthusiasts to experience and understand more about the history and knowledge of creating a perfume, and having a chance to create one by yourself.
With no doubt, Palazzo Mocenigo is truly a home of history, history of artisan from ancient Venetian fashion, textile to perfume, an artisan origin that is waiting for us to discover, get inspired, and transform it with our modern interpretation to create something elegant, something stylish, and something a little bit Venetian.
Image courtesy of Palazzo Mocenigo, ©Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia