This extremely rare poster gives us an intimate view of the fitting room at the pioneering Mele Department Store, where a vendeuse applies the finishing touches to a young woman's beautifully tailored new dress. By 1911 Mele was in its 22nd year and had become a retailing powerhouse rivalling the best in Paris.
A major factor in Mele's success was the creation of a remarkable series of large format posters executed by the Ricordi lithography shop of Milan. Targeting the upwardly mobile middle class of Naples, Mele depicted the aristocratic world which its customers aspired to. Although they always depicted the world of the upper class, their tag line was "Massimo buon mercato," meaning "best prices."
The poster is assumed to be by Metlicovitz' greatest pupil, Marcello Dudovich. Perhaps influenced by the Fauves and fashion illustration in Paris, both artists were experimenting with brilliant color harmonies at this time. Even in sun-soaked Naples, the bright colors of Mele posters would stand out like a beacon.
We know that Dudovich left Milan in 1911 to go to work for the satire magazine Simplicissimus in Munich. He was at the peak of his powers, having won a competition for his poster for Borsalino hats - perhaps the most celebrated Italian poster of all time. Ricordi continued to publish Dudovich's Mele posters in his absence.