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About us

The Centro di Documentazione Matteo Lanzoni - Polimoda Library - is located in Villa Favard in Florence and it hosts the most significant collection of publications on fashion in the world.

Conceived as a learning resource for Polimoda students, it is also open to creatives who need to empower their talents in their field of expertise.

History and Collection
Established by Polimoda in 1986, it was opened to external users upon payment of a fee in 1993. It was moved from the historical premises of Villa Strozzi to Villa Favard in January 2012.
The collection of the Documentation Centre consists of:
The Fashion Library: about 29,000 volumes (about 70% in English, 25% in Italian) both on history and phenomena of costume and fashion, with a particular focus on fashion design, textile technology and apparel, as well as on marketing and economics;
Fashion Magazine Library: over 600 publications, of which 130 in current subscription, covering a time span from the end of the 19th Century to today.
The collection also includes approximately 1000 look-books and commercial and trade catalogues, a Film Library, and Online Resourses.

The Fashion Library
The collection reflects the three different meanings of Fashion :
    • Fashion as clothes and styles of a specific time, reflecting the taste of a specific society;
    • Fashion as a productive area, industry and trade in clothing;
    • Fashion as Modus vivendi, as a phenomenon beyond a passing fancy, connected to a real lifestyle.
At the same time, the library has grown including those disciplines, which contribute to the development of the creative process in all its possible forms.
For these reasons, the library is organized in four areas:
    1. Textiles and Clothing, the original soul and the heart of the library;
    2. Arts, in all forms: history of art, arts, sport, theatre, cinema, music...;
    3. Photography, from nature to fashion photography, from travel to ethnography and anthropology photography;
    4. Innovation management, how to fuel creativity and manage innovation.

Fashion Magazine Library
The Fashion Magazine Library consists of the historical archive, which is only accessible by appointment, and the current periodicals displayed in the reference area of the Documentation Centre .
The Fashion Magazine Library is one of the assets of the Documentation Centre: the magazines stored in the archive provide a “photograph” of the development of the publishing market starting from the specialized magazines in women's costume and fashion, following its development in mass and post-modern society through the sudden explosion of the youth market and street fashion. For this reason, this collection is a precious source of research for fashion, trends, fashion communication and history of fashion marketing.
The publications currently on subscription show the further change in both the "fashion system" and the “meaning of fashion”.

Polimoda Authorities
The specific nature of the collection and the particular process of information retrieval require different type of tools:
    • for the classification the 23 ed. of the Dewey Decimal Classification and the WebDewey
    • for the subject headings Thesaurus Polimoda
    • for other headings: the Name-Authors and Name-Subjects according to the principles of the Authority control.

Thesaurus Polimoda
The Lessico strutturato su abbigliamento e costume was the first step towards the Thesaurus Polimoda.
The edition in use (released in 2005) consists of eight facets (Apparel Facet, Activities Facet, Physical Attributes Facet, Associated Concepts Facet, Materials Facet, Objects Facet, Agents Facet, Styles and Periods Facet) and 13 hierarchies. The descriptors accepted are around 1850. These are continually updated to include the new words of fashion.
The main reference source for the facets was the Art and Architecture Thesaurus of the Getty Research Institute.
The Thesaurus Polimoda is an innovation in this field and is one of the sources of the Nuovo Soggettario Italiano created by BNCF for the fashion field.