Monday, October 5, 2009

Milan, City of Fashion


Francesco Scognamiglio, Fall 2009 Collection



One of the "ronde", vigilante squads authorised by the local council. In the words of vice-mayor and Youth Front stalwart Riccardo De Corato: "If people see uniforms, they feel safer".



Milano Moda Uomo 2009-2010


'This seat is reserved to dicks'. Massimo Salvini, deputy secretary of the Northern League, local councillor and member of the European Parliament, who earlier this year suggested instituting special train carriages for immigrants only.



Diet Coke's Homage to Gianni Versace, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, October 2009. No, really.



Another trio of vigilantes, in the garb inspired by the neofascist Movimento Sociale Italiano. Don't ask me about the demented salute.



An image from the prestigious 2009 Pirelli Calendar.



An image from the 2009 Forza Nuova calendar.



Gae Aulenti's monument to needle and thread, Piazzale Cadorna.



'Counterfeit fashion hurts the Italian industry', Piazzale Cadorna, September 2009.



"This shop sells only Italian products", Milan, 1937. Image by Adolfo Porry Camporel.



Models, 2009.




Partisans, 1945.



Giorgio Armani, Fall 2009 collection.



Milan, 1937. Original caption: "The beautiful Italian families". Image by Tino Petrelli.



'Prison bus' used to round up people who may or may not be guilty of the new crime of illegal immigration. Full set of images here.



Dolce e Gabbana, 2009 Fall Collection.




16 comments:

George said...

What are we to make of it? The comparisons are unsettling and disturbing. But apart from despairing that Italy has decided that fascism is again an acceptable part of the political fabric, what should our response be? Is this merely a fringe tendency, without popular support (which isn't to understate the danger of such fringes), or the radicalisation of one edge that moves the centre in their direction, or evidence of something much different again?

I read last year that Italy has lost its confidence. It no longer feels important in the world. Looking at these images, that seems to be true, but again I don't know.

I have a Sicilian anarchist friend, but he would rather not talk about his country's politics - it drives him to despair. Thus, like most people, everything I know about Italy is from film, British newspapers, and fashion magazines.

Giovanni said...

What are we to make of it? The comparisons are unsettling and disturbing. But apart from despairing that Italy has decided that fascism is again an acceptable part of the political fabric, what should our response be?

I have a couple of (very un-original) ideas about what constitutes an appropriate response, and will elaborate in future posts. A lot of it has to do with reclaiming public spaces of debate, of conversation, of meaningful interaction. The city has been gutted to make room for more Armani stores, the streets lined with public artworks such as Aulenti's and the blasted coke bottles, in the same years in which the political drift suggested in some of those pictures has taken place. I don't think it's coincidental, there is a contiguity between our fashion industry and the dominant ideology.

George said...

That makes a lot more sense. I wasn't sure how we were supposed to read the images.

Giovanni said...

Placing the images together like that consitutes an invective, I won't pretend otherwise, but I'd hate for you to feel that you are supposed to read it any particular way.

merc said...

Gio said; I don't think it's coincidental, there is a contiguity between our fashion industry and the dominant ideology.

I love this observation put pithily.

wordverf; lanomaco, a real word surely?

Lyndon said...

Don't ask me about the demented salute.

Then may I observe that, if you respond by placing you hand vertically against your brow, pinky-outwards, this will thwart their obvious plan to poke you in the eyes?

Nyuknyuknyuk.

Philip said...

Nyuknyuknyuk

I don't see how dropping the names of famous Eskimos is going to help matters. Coincidentally enough, Nyuknyuknuk is the quasi-mythical inventor of an effective but unappetising head covering, made of seal blubber lined with polar bear intestine, which is known to those upwind of it as the "Lyndon hood". It deters practically anything.

Word Verification: muctfbo, a Quentin Tarantino character going down the wrong way.

Danielle said...

I am a great believer in fashion reflecting its surrounding political or social context, but also: I like the first and last pieces very much. (Although I feel the belt on the first is unnecessary, aesthetically.)

Oh dear. I am a secret-squirrel-fascist.

Giovanni said...

I like the first one too. Here's the rest of the collection (warning: may contain crocheted nipples).

rob said...

Just while you're over there, we'd like Silvio in jail by Friday, thanks. You decide what to arrest him on. There's plenty of choice: http://www.justresponse.net/berlusconi_pacitti.html
As in Spain, some of the legal profession are showing remarkable leadership in taking on current (and past) corruption and human rights cases at the highest levels of Govt.
Gotta respect that!

Anonymous said...

Giovanni, ho solo dato un'occhiata alle immagini, per ora, e sono scoppiata a piangere alla sequenza "Models" seguita da "Partisans". Adesso leggo il blog, ma mi sa che sara' dura.

Claudia

Giovanni said...

Actually, I gave some thought to the the models-partisans bit because it is a somewhat dishonest parallel. In the end I put it in anyway because I love the second photo so much.

harvestbird said...

Trip, trap, trip, trap
What's the cut of that uniform?
The bus goes where? Oh please inform;

(trip, trap, trip, trap)
who are those you don't adorn?
The drowned girls on the beach folorn?

(trip, trap, trip, trap)
This national pride's a gull.
Full scorn
to half-concealed fasces borne.

Giovanni said...

On that last point, I feel the need to link to this brilliant picture of a detail of the Milan railway station against the backdrop of the Pirelli building, seat of the right wing regional administration.

harvestbird said...

Gosh, that's really quite splendidly juxtaposed. I hope as a Milanese you will excuse me the ungeographical liberty I took in the second stanza, but it seemed to me potentially part of the same story.

Giovanni said...

Most definitely part of the same story. I do recall with fondness however that in the Marx Brothers' film A Night at the Opera our heroes leave Milan for America on a very large ship.

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