Contrary to what the fashion media want you to believe, bravery in fashion doesn’t mean wearing the entire contents of your wardrobe together nor trying to match clashing shades and patterns in just one outfit.
Adopting extreme styles just because some pop stars do so, should instead be considered as a fashion crime and not as the ultimate example of a reckless and indomitable spirit.
So what could be considered genuine fashion bravery in our times? Well, let's see. In the last few days Italian fashion houses got together and announced they were ready to schedule a seven day fashion week for the next season.
After the controversies surrounding Anna Wintour’s annoyingly insistent requests to reduce and reschedule the Milan Fashion Week catwalk shows according to her needs, such news should be taken as a miraculous cause of jubilation.
“The agreement by the major designers, which protects the emerging ones as well, has been reached with the mediation of Camera della Moda and demonstrates that we Italians, if we really want it, are perfectly able to assert ourselves without fear in order to enhance what the world acknowledges to be a rich and inimitable creative heritage,” stated Giorgio Armani.
Deep down in my heart I really wish I had seen Italian designers asserting themselves “without fear”, as Armani claimed, to come up with such a decision. I’m sure the final agreement was taken after an extremely violent meeting that involved blood, vitriol and a few guns pointed at each others' heads.
Anyway, I'm afraid that’s not bravery, but just a first step towards changing some of the rules and restore the fame of the so-called "Made in Italy" and of Milan.
Yet there is still a lot to do in Milan. The city is currently run by an opportunist right-wing mayor, Letizia Moratti, a woman with zero fashion knowledge who thinks that being photographed at trendy parties proves her allegiance to the industry.
Moratti is not alone though in her "fashion crusade": she is indeed helped by the pretentiously tanned cashmere-clad culture councillor Massimiliano Finazzer Flory.
Virtually unknown for having done anything that can be defined as mildly "cultural" apart from a list of his boringly monologues he inflicts on Italian audiences every now and then, Finazzer Flory is also known in Italy as the “culturista” (in English “culturista” means "body builder" – but in this case the word is used as a pun, a reference to culture and body building since Finazzer Flory used to be a fitness instructor before miraculously turning into a local culture superman...).
Only last year the culture councillor with a dubious cultural past managed to offend the local designers claiming they don't do much for Milan (pissing off in this way the various fondazioni some designers have that pump up their money into events organised in Milan). This year the tanned culturista has turned into a fashion expert and is currently involved in organising and supporting a prominent fashion and film festival that will take place in Milan in May.
But wonderful icons of decadence such as Moratti and Finazzer Flory are almost nothing compared to the racist, fascist and homophobic head of the Northern League Party, Umberto Bossi, a man with a medieval frame of mind and a penchant for starring in demented Medieval films (Barbarossa by Renzo Martinelli - warning: avoid it!) who would like to become one day mayor of Milan and turn it into his little feud.
I can almost imagine Bossi as mayor of Milan spreading a little bit of his Dolce Stil Novo semantics and refined gestures in the capital of fashion and embarrassing the (already embarrassing) Italian government during international events such as the local fashion week (imagine how wonderfully stylish it would be to remind Anna Wintour & Co of his perennial hard on, like he has embarrassingly done with his audiences at the most disparate political events for years and years…).
Fashion thrives when and if it is constantly bombarded by internationalist inspirations and collaborations and, at the moment, many Italian designers are simply surrounded by a damaging narrow mindedness and by their own lack of initiative.
Probably in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, a place that often ends up in the papers because it’s only a two-hour flight from the northwest, the heartland of al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Fashion designers, models and organisers recently agreed that Pakistan Fashion Week – a show featuring designers from Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates, and conceived as a follow-up to a first event held in Karachi last November – still had to get on even though it was scheduled to take place just a few days after the American embassy in Peshawar had been attacked in a suicide car bomb and gun attack.
The most important thing about Pakistan Fashion Week is that it represented in many ways a blow to the Taliban.
For the models involved walking down the runway in clothes that exposed parts of their bodies was indeed a way to oppose the Taliban regime in a country where most women cover up or are often confined to the house.
Our designers and models should maybe look up at their colleagues in Pakistan and remember that, while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, bravery is in the heart of those who fight in the name of freedom and strong ideals.
As for Umberto Bossi, could somebody please lock him away in a castle in a faraway land?Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Add to Technorati Favorites Lijit Search