Report by Danilo Venturi

January 2014-01-19

Florence has won over London thanks to a mix of quality and vanity, positioning men as new women to dress up every day no matter the occasion. It’s a vision affirming a precise style counting on high standards of quality, mixing traditional tailor-made with an attention to latent socio-cultural trends, and in the end also selling. Dear London, being trendy is not enough. One has to be on trend. Subtle but substantial difference.

Apart from Prada, Milan has gone with safe sex again and Paris has done a butchery of it. Yamamoto’s mature post-atomic flâneur has flowered again. Viva Baudelaire et les fleurs du bien. Le mal[e] came with Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons, after all.  Dries Van Noten’s minimal maximalism and Raf Simons’ futuristic vintage have refreshed that taste for deconstructions typical of the Belgians. The first, disjoining and rejoining the elegant outfit with the rave mood (space), the second showing the subcultures from the 80s like if they were supposed to happen in the future (time). Damir Doma has been a confirmation: no tricks, no styling, 100% design. Bravo. Rick Owens, aggressive and breathtaking show as always. Given-Tici by Riccardo Tichy is smart, in a good sense. Paris is a patchwork of brands and designers keeping the attention high, and collage as a technique is dominant in many collections. It’s important, collage is a methodological or method[illogical] form of error, a transitory activity where fragments of the past are assembled in a non-linear way, giving the possibility to generate the future, the unexpected. Not a reshaped heritage but an UN-EX-PECTED form. It means fashion is living a catharsis and there will be something after the hedonism of the 80s, the subconscious of the 90s and the nothingness of the last decade.

In this moment Paris is granting that the unexpected can still happen and Florence is granting tailorism will never die because able to update itself. That’s why they won over Milan and London. It’s not about football matches but the CITY as a collective dimension counts also in fashion. It’s in the third skin made of walls, streets and monuments that the second skin made of textiles can become a movement, a slogan, a direction penetrating the first skin, the epidermis, and representing the essence of fashion: to show what we are and what we can be. Without any transition of socio-cultural messages through these skins there’s only commercial clothing and wasteful embellishment. No thanks.

Now that Milan is ground zero something historical must happen in Italy. Do we give space to new designers? Are there any left? Do we move fashion back to Florence where something new is fermenting? Maybe. It’s not a discourse made for Italy only, it’s because without a counterpart Paris would become boring as well. Fashion, like everything, needs plurality. Multipli[city].

  1. Nice to hear that the traditional, sleepy, renaissance-related city of Firenze is the less boring place in the world of fashion!

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