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Giulietta and the Da Vinci colour code

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

By Giuppy D’Aura

Since Chanel redeemed the colour black in the twenties, turning its meaning from mourning to elegance, black has become a constant in fashion. My personal penchant for dressing always in black is partly an homage to this century-old tradition and partly an easy escape from the care that colours need in order to be matched properly. One that is not afraid when using colours is the Florentine designer Sofia Sizzi, founder of the New York-based brand Giulietta.

The question and meaning of colours is as old as human civilisation and fashion has often found the best way to learn the lesson of painters, sometimes with direct quotations, sometimes in an unconscious yet effective way, and in other cases inventing new shades. Jeanne Lanvin, a master in the use of colours, is often associated with at least two particular hues: a very intense blue, directly inspired by…

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Soha: When Sardinia meets CSM

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

By Giuppy D’Aura

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the regions of Italy. Whoever visits the island, a highly coveted place for tourists, notices the overwhelming power of nature and the rough beauty of the mountains, which is often mirrored in the crystal-like water of the sea. Even the tastes of the local food are very strong, still reminiscent of a rural and pastoral heritage. Sardinia is archaic, and everything there seems to reflect a sense of coarse rather than gentle beauty. Everything, that is, but jewellery.

Historians and anthropologists have noted that the Sardinian jewels, still in use today, are directly derived from the Roman, Grecian and even Egyptian ones; similar in their shape and in their symbolic and pagan meanings. Sardinian filigree’s tradition is one of the oldest in the world and this is detectable in the sophistication that reached the…

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Peter Non: Walking Without Shoes

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

By Giuppy D’Aura

The compulsion of fashion is to create newness and variety. This is its strength and it is certainly not by chance that the best designers are the ones that follow this path. Namely they find new questions to ask. Formulating new questions means creating new needs or unveiling previously unexpressed necessities. When Armani created the notorious deconstructed jacket, for instance, it was not about fulfilling the old demand for a blazer, but it was an attempt to destroy the idea of the jacket itself. By choosing soft fabrics and sewing the garment into a new, unstructured way, Armani blurred the borders between jacket, shirt and cardigan. The new concept served the need of finding a garment that was at once elegant and comfortable – which is almost a juxtaposition, but he succeeded.

pn_15 Skywalker // Membrana. A/W 2014 collection pn_2 One // Crinkle. A/W 2014 collection

It is certainly…

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Featured Student : Giuppy D’Aura

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

How old are you?

I am 29 years old.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Film Studies, a master’s degree in History of Cinema, and I started a PhD in Italy but never completed it. I preferred to start again with fashion.

What drew you to fashion?

I don’t really know. Fashion is everywhere, overwhelming. I see it as a way to express both one’s status and one’s personality. It is the first thing that I notice when I look at someone. I can forget a ladies face, but if she is wearing a Céline or Hermès bag then I will remember her!

Why did you join this MA?

Fashion for me is not just a passion. I am not a fashion victim. I own a relatively small amount of clothes and almost all of them are just one color: black. My interest…

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In Francesco Russo’s Shoes

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

By Giuppy D’Aura

Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.

 There must be a secret link between the Southern Italian region of Puglia (Apulia) and fashion. The stiletto heel of the Italian boot has originated stylists such as Anna Dello Russo; costume designers such as the Oscar nominee Antonella Cannarozzi; and fashion designers such as Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy) and Ennio Capasa (Costume National). Puglia is also the region where shoe designer Francesco Russo comes from.

Russo was born in 1974, and started his career during the Nineties in Milan. After working for Costume National and Miu Miu, Francesco was called to Paris, where he still resides. He started creating shoes for Yves Saint Laurent, under the direction of Stefano Pilati, just before the Hedi Slimane era. Namely, just before the House dropped the Yves, turning the name of the designer into the simple surname…

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Lucio Vanotti and Fashion Humanism

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

By Giuppy D’Aura

Today, all of a sudden, I came across the name of an Italian designer: Lucio Vanotti. I did a Google search of his name and I simply fell in love with the demureness and sophistication of his silhouettes. After a brief infatuation, though, I started questioning the reason of my appreciation.

As a student of fashion history I am often tempted to avoid quick judgements about the present. History after all is a specific interpretation that the present gives about the past: selecting it, dismembering it, and trying to build relationships between distant facts or object. Therein resides the awkwardness of evaluating something that did not become history, because it has not become past, just yet. However, what a fashion historian can do while looking at a new designer is read his work against the specific heritage of the context in which his work sprang into…

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Schiapparelli and The Missing Pink

[In]Tangible: Redressing Fashion

By Giuppy D’Aura

It is almost couture season again, and the next collections are ready to go on the catwalk. What remains of the fabled “100 years system”, to use social philosopher Giles Lipovetsky’s definition, resides in those handful of labels that still produce the exclusivity of haute couture. The dresses are waiting for models to wear them, waiting for our eyes to watch them, and waiting for the few purses in the entire world that can afford them.

Last season, Spring 2014, the rolling sound of applause welcomed Marco Zanini’s attempt to revive the House of Schiapparelli, over sixty years since the last Elsa Schiapparelli collection. The cheers came from the notorious hands of Jean Paul Gaultier, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Mariagrazia Chiuri, Carla Bruni and the many other stars that were sitting on the front row. Despite the fleeting success of Zanini, the question to be asked is: did we really…

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BB in Soho does not mean Brigitte Bardot.

Soho is one of the most iconic areas of London. Soho is nonetheless one of the most important gay corners in the entire world, to some extent can be said that is the capital of a certain gay lifestyle. And is a gay issue, related with Soho’s lifestyle, that I want to rise in this article. A gay, unceremonious, uncomfortable matter: unprotected sex.

Bare Back is becoming a common place, an accepted practice. In some gay apps, like grindr and hornet, the third ritual question that occurs after “hi, how are you?” and “are u top or bottom?” is, indeed, “do you like BB”. No wonder then, that scientists are registering an increase in HIV infects amongst the gay population in this City.
What is the reason of this rejection of condom? Is it its use so desensitizing or uncomfortable? Or the reason is to be found somewhere else, maybe in some symbolic, rather than physical exchange? this is precisely what I am going to talk about in the following paragraphs.

One of the contradictions of capitalism is that the so called liberalism, namely the production of commodities that aim to create desire, are today killing desire itself. The death of desire is decreed by the easiness and the accessibility of enjoyment. Desire, indeed, is always generated by a prohibition or a lack. There is something very precious about desire, this thing is its transgressive and unconventional nature; but, since transgression is becoming mainstream and highly standardized by the market, the possibility of transgression itself is fading away.

We are constantly pushed towards transgression, because conservatism and morality, in our contemporary world, don’t help capitalism and liberal economy any more. What remains, though, when desire disappears is the endless practice of enjoyment, which is precisely its opposite.

As the brilliant and provocative genius that Pier Paolo Pasolini was, he once stated that, in a liberal society, where a limited amount of freedoms are allowed, everything else is forbidden, whereas in a dictatorial regime, where everything seems to be forbidden, everything is actually allowed. This makes total sense, because it is prohibition that creates desire. This idea is entirely applicable to our contemporary secularized society. When the ultimate moral law, the religious power, stopped being the repressive/productive force that created desire, than we started looking somewhere else to find new prohibitions. But what is left in a society without god? Science, obviously.

Doctors, indeed are constantly inviting people to use condoms; by saying so they are generating a taboo, making bareback sex appealing. Science is slowly taking the place of religion in ‘forbidding’ actions, and god knows how much prohibitions we need in order to challenge their limits.
There is another aspect that i would like to point out while thinking about all those practices. Another uncomfortable one.

We like risk, but, incapable of accepting the limitations of enjoyment, we like relatively ‘safe’ risks; another of the safe features of capitalism.
contracting HIV in a City like London today, is not as it was twenty years ago, and is not as it would be in a poor country. Life expectancies for HIV+, if treated properly, are indeed pretty high. So even the obvious risk is somehow reduced to minimal terms. Taking a full risk, indeed, is not the way in which contemporary society works.

If once the best metaphor for society could have been some examples of the Body Art, or the ‘Viennese Actionism’, where the artists during the performance experienced pain, somehow testing the extreme points of human limits; today the best metaphor is the Art corporel by the French artist Orlan, where the body of the performer goes through the knife of the surgeon, changing its shape but protected by painkillers, and by the safe, aseptic, operating theatre’ s environment. The apparent extreme, then, turns to be a ‘fake’ extreme. So we did remove our condoms from our cocks, but only to put them on our heads.

it remains to figure out what will happen to desire when science will find (hopefully very soon) a cures for all the STDs.
Which prohibition will, then, give new shape to our desires?