Text Carlo Mazzoni
THE PALM TREES in front of Milan Cathedral. Babylon is the location where the dispute took place – Alexander the Great’s generals, the Diadochi, would have resorted to war, fighting against each other. Versace, Givenchy and Chanel attack the stars, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, their armies, Hermès, its heraldic cavalry, Dolce and Gabbana dressed as soft toys, Moncler is a fleet of scouts – this world where the monarchs and Queens of Acropolis fall. Bebe Vio at the Dior fashion shows: Maria Grazia Chiuri has hailed her as a princess, a symbol paying tribute to every woman’s strength – a few months later, it seemed peculiar seeing her in Montecarlo wearing a gown designed by Valentino. In the meanwhile, in Milan, we have an adorable woman, flaunting around in her high-heeled shoes in a bourgeois setting: our own, homegrown Sally Spectra, who has finally escaped the soap opera scenario to meander through real-life contexts, still creating throwbacks of last year’s collections, attentively recalling the days of the week on some knitwear.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR, the hanging gardens and Mongiardino, so many wonders to be seen. Lapis lazuli, Persian cobalt shades of blue – great gateways rebuilt in Berlin. Agrigento recalling Athens – Italian aesthetics consisting of embroideries, patchworks of colored segments and swatches of fabric. A Tiffany City HardWear earring, Lady Gaga descends from the sky for the Super Bowl. In Babylon, those who don’t evolve are eliminated, just as a Persian king against the Emperor of the Universe. Hephaestion gave an emerald to Alexander the Great as a gift: legend has it that the emerald would become opaque if it came close to a poisonous substance, serving as a warning. Alexander always wore Hephaestion’s emerald – nevertheless, another legend recalls that Alexander actually died of strychnine poisoning – when, maddened with pain after Hephaestion’s death, he didn’t notice that the emerald had become dull.
No other country is more international than Italy. All the luxury companies that have renounced their prime positioning in Italy to focus on Asian markets have since suffered due to this choice– in Asia, people desire what we dream of here in Italy, the ‘Made in Italy’ product still remains the utmost world reference in terms of luxury goods. All the companies who have chosen paperless marketing strategies, convinced that they had to stake everything on the web, have found themselves empty-handed. This is an error that Dario would never have made, not even if he had already come to the point of defeat. The see now buy now claim has since become see now buy never. The fashion houses sell luxury goods, luxury goods are dreams that the masses wish to fulfil – if the masses don’t dream, then luxury doesn’t exist. Those who can afford to, want to buy what others can only dream of. Today, Tom Ford has performed an about-turn, while Ralph Lauren remains suspended in a sort of limbo and Burberry gets worked up. No-one seems to realize that this see now buy now concept is nothing new. It’s neither an innovation, a novelty nor a shock to the fashion industry – it’s simply something that has always existed and which we have always called couture, with all its values and mechanisms. ‘My mother, a poor woman who mistook beige for being chic,’ said Ira von Fürstenberg.
The radio in every car running around Babylon broadcasts a catchy song that tells of Westerners’ karma. It’s almost like a nursery rhyme, reminding us that we are only apes – and as such, we should have more dignity than sol-fa based selfie-addicted masses. Selfies Strictly Forbidden – can be read upon entering the city of Babylon, among the palm trees in Los Angeles, Ba Bla Land –Trump has no hope of maintaining any authority or building any stupid wall up against Meryl Streep’s first speech. Intelligence is back in fashion, wit with substance – without becoming Manneristic, merely conventional, like Gucci (even if it’s true, we adore Gucci all the same). We are simply sick and tired of seeing so many useless photos, one after another, simply fed up to the back teeth. We want to go back to reading novels. I wanna die on Mars, possibly not landing.
Digital Visual Wave. The messaging from California is coming through loud and clear: Instagram is a visual search platform. Figurative art is the synthesis and the destiny of each fashion. The web will soon be awash with these visual producers – artists, illustrators, graphic designers, digital artists, 3D wizards, cartoonists, painters, from New Zealand to South Africa. They only had a few thousand followers. Instagram has signed them up as any creative agency could have done and, just as if they were in a portfolio, it has presented them to the large companies who have been able to choose from this range of professionals to best suit their aesthetics according to their characteristics and style, starting to commission work from them. Within one week, Instagram had managed to channel hundreds of thousands of followers to pursue these visual producers – with a snap of the fingers – transforming them into Art Instagrammers. We are all gobsmacked, between the past and contemporary – new, strong, unexpected art forms. This is called Digital Visual Wave, or better, that’s how we call it. Throughout history, there has always been an outburst of art after a fallow period: indeed, new digital enlightenment derives from the marvelous, nostalgic Mannerism of Gucci.
Babylon in flames. The marble archive of the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara is being renovated. The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal. The Ytalia exhibition at the Belvedere in Florence. Arrogance, you have green eyes. Jerry Maguire enters the room – Bridget Jones has become more beautiful, in that film, after all these years – Tom Cruise starts speaking: nothing has any meaning without you, managing the aesthetics of my life – stop it now, I got it, shut up, you shut up – you had me at hello.
The Fashionable Lampoon Issue 9
Babylon introducing a Digital Visal Wave featured Daphne Groeneveld
Photography Zoey Grossman
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