The appearance of women like Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer had sanctioned ordinary people’s expectations. Their white teeth, cheekbones and curves, their lips. The stereotype evoked an erotic cartoon: a manga, for Japanese girls – with almond eyes like Romanesque portals, in stark disproportion to the other features of the sketched faces. By definition, a stereotype is the opposite of natural uniqueness. In 2018, Inditex, the holding company of Zara and other minor companies operating in the same target market, was the group with the highest profits in the textile industry. Followed by LVMH and Nike, both, on different fronts, with a proactive role in the dialogue between clothing for the mass market and luxury brands. For the market, the strength of the stereotype remains an essential requirement.
The Fashionable Lampoon is committed to observing the evolution of the stereotype from a journalistic perspective: always and as much as Meryl Streep’s words express in The Devil Wears Prada, talking about a shirt that isn’t “just blue, turquoise not lapis, it’s actually cerulean”. Fittingly, Meryl Streep’s lines simplified how the fashion industry – meant as the quest for and marketing of an aesthetic, with an elite target consumer and reference – influences the mass market with a delay of about three years. This kind of fashion – briefly definable as snobby – is sanctioned in the logics used within the sector, which continue to pursue the age-old pictorial production: to all intents and purposes a production that has carried forward the evolved portrait-painting visionary dimension in our civilization since the 15th century. It is the working field for photographers, stylists and models whose job is to show – today to the elite, but in three years’ time to everyone – what each one of us wants to own, in some way, in every way.
The concept of snobbery is a topic tackled only in digressions in this issue, and never faced head on. It fails to play with the initial, negligible etymology but instead validates a current desire for discretion, a reaction to the digital sharing phenomenon we could today consider unhealthy for the public. This restraint indicates intimacy, the reluctance to show others the advantages we have which we might once have bragged about: what looked funny on Instagram two years ago, today simply looks rude. Here, as my only intention is to introduce food for thought on the concept of snobbery hinged on a newfound desire for discretion, I’m going to sum it up with the adjective Sincere. Sophistication is silent, it is detected by sensitivity: beauty isn’t for everyone. The sincerity that lies in being yourself and living your own life without pursuing the need to stand out creates a new code dedicated to how natural we look – in one of our covers, Nina is dressed by Hedi Slimane for Celine. A style is composed of a series of renunciations. Simplicity that distinguishes itself in a structure, as taught by Mies van der Rohe.
The pride and peculiarity of faults and of the element seen as ugliness, the value of what appears wrong is significant. Sincere sanctions respect – as Slimane has repeated, it means protecting the integrity of others. Acknowledging the qualities and characteristics of others. In the papers, everything can be said, or in fact, everything should be said – while, there is still no need to be liked all the time, by everyone; or in fact, one shouldn’t (F.S.). Italy is for sale – on the other hand, as Andrea Carandini reminds us, this is the way it has always been, throughout history. The upper-middle class, the Italian aristocracy – no social class either now or back then, has ever been able to unite the richest, most proliferous and most productive land in the world. Throughout our whole history, we have always been torn into factions, fighting with one another – and now the story is no different: rivalry, challenge and mistrust are ever present here – and the result is that people are coming in from elsewhere and buying us out.
Per-son. When I was young, I was 15, I was part of the audience at a lecture by Liliana Segre, who survived the Nazi holocaust; today, she is a lifelong senator of this Italy of ours. Per-son: through sound, sonum. Relying on what should be an ablative, grammar is labile and perhaps inappropriate – but the concept is still there in my head now as it was presented to me back then: person means through sound. I exist through the sound of your voice speaking to me – and your voice, my love, is sincere.