'This was a stable for my horses — and this was a garage!' said Laudomia Pucci, stretching her arms across white walls leading on to the vivid green of summer grass and punctuated by banquettes in eye-popping canary yellow, shocking pink and mustard.
As I plunged onto the soft surface of the sofa, I could not see the famous 'Emilio' logo, but it could only be Pucci — the fashion house that Don Emilio Pucci, Marchese di Barsento, founded in 1947 and which achieved international acclaim in the 1950s with the rise of the jet set.
The Villa di Granaiolo, folded into the rolling Tuscan landscape, is the country home of generations of the Pucci family, now transformed into a private museum.
But this is no heavy history lesson, in spite of the bright patterns and pictures of the past from the Marchese himself to models in the 1970s photographed against the cathedral rooftop of the Florence Duomo.
'We had all these archives, but we didn't utilise them enough, so we worked on the exhibit, putting together these elements trying to create different sections,' said Laudomia, Emilio's daughter, who is the keeper of the flame.
'My first urgency was to do it properly but in an entertaining, not boring, way,' she continued.
Boring? How could this explosion of pattern ever seem dull or starchy? And with designer Massimo Giorgetti now at the creative helm and names from Christian Lacroix through Matthew Williams to Peter Dundas attached to the brand since it was acquired by LVMH in 2000, there could only be colour and light.
But Laudomia had a greater vision than to digitise the archives and create a private museum. She wanted Pucci to be a hub for emerging talent, so that students from London's Central Saint Martins and Polimoda in Florence can come for a five-day stay. They are first briefed by the Florentine studio and then visit Granaiolo to let their creative juices flow.
'I said, "Okay, how can I make this place live?" because I don't want the archives to be asleep, I want a talent centre, so I got in touch with [the late] Louise Wilson at Central Saint Martins, and asked fashion curator Maria Luisa Frisa to work on the exhibition.'
This year's exhibition, 'Elements', was for the third edition of 'Les Journées Particulières', an open-house event held by LVMH across its many brands, which aims to help visitors understand the different disciplines, creative efforts and details that would never normally be shown.
For Laudomia, today's versions of patterned silk scarves, first created as a triangular blouse by Emilio Pucci in 1950, needed to be refreshed for the digital era. Emilio himself had used smart geometry in 1968 for his first scarf based on the Duomo theme: an optical phantasmagoria in which the Dome scatters into a kaleidoscopic pattern.
Hence the same concept re-worked for 2016 with scarf patterns at the centre of modern inventions. And these are not just students' whimsical ideas, for Federico Marchetti, CEO of Yoox and Net-a-Porter, was involved with Laudomia in this project.
Maria Luisa Frisa has used her curatorial skills to successfully partition the interior of the ancient building, with its massive wooden doors and wine barrels. The essence of Pucci can be found in three separate areas, starting with 'Forms'. This section reveals how two-dimensional drawings develop from the flat scarves through jump suits, tunics and pants to short skirts and mini dresses. Throughout the exhibition, the dates are full of surprises: for example, a top and shorts with an Aztec print from 1952.
'I am like a child in a toy store every time I see something,' Massimo Giorgetti says. 'For example, yesterday we worked on the prints for the shows and I discovered amazing ethnic versions.'
As so often with intuitive designers, the ideas are far ahead of the general trend. Accessories include cute bootees from 1960 that would look good today; while I did a double take at the 1950s parka. It reminded me that for all the glamorous couture gowns, stacked neatly in accessible closets, sports, skiing and beachwear were close to Emilio Pucci's heart.
Two cotton velvet beach cloaks — the essence of dolce vita holiday wear — are posed near the wooden beams of the stable roof: one piece by Emilio from 1968, the other by Lacroix in 2004. Laudomia herself designed a cute 'Zodiac' patterned mini dress for the 1992-93 collection, the year her father died.
I liked the way Maria Luisa Frisa had woven in the varied designers, showing how they might have added, but never diminished, the Pucci spirit. The curator also proved that although Emilio was famous for silk jersey and for bold prints, he created many other options. And Laudomia confirmed that the concept was to display clothes from different eras and designers to show their similarity.
'For example, the idea of the shorts or pants being done with a top is something that comes back into our vocabulary,' she said. 'And everything in print was turned around to make it work — that is what made every dress quite special, because it was not just about a print, but the way it was used.'
Apart from the impressive collection of clothes, fashion history is displayed in the celebrated photograph of models on the Duomo (above and below) and others of the era showing couture splendour. Yet history is always brought up to date, as in the 'Interactive Scarves' by Pauline Saglio, a light- and sound-enhanced vision of a framed Emilio Scarf from the École Cantonal d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL).
The museum may be a private space, rather than a public one, but the concepts behind it, especially the apps in each area that enable the viewer to explore shapes, materials and patterns, are in tune with the modern world.
Just like Emilio Pucci himself.