15 January 2021

Dressing in times of Covid

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"Fashion is not something that exists only in clothes. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, our way of life, what's going on". He said Coco Chanel (the 50th anniversary of his disappearance), adding that for it to be truly fashionable must come out of the ateliers to reach the squares, otherwise it is not. But what happens now that all over the world the Covid-19 emergency has radically changed our habits, our work, our lives? The time spent at home - often sitting in front of a screen - asks us to a new approach to the everyday act of dressing and "forces" us to modify it.

The crisis has brought fashion-related industries to their knees forcing them to an involuntary and heavy stoppage with a consequent cascade repercussion on the entire supply chain - sometimes, fortunately, reconversion and the generosity of many stylists have nevertheless given rise to wide-ranging virtuous circles, despite the sector's confinement and collapse -. This is outside the home. Inside, in the virtual squares no bigger than a screen to which we have had to become accustomed, there is a risk of setting aside any aesthetic ambitions.

The streets are empty, and the shops that used to provide us with the "essentials" we needed to feel good and appropriate for the occasion are closed (almost always the trigger for buying a new garment is an unexpected circumstance to which we are invited). The doors to those landings where we used to fling ourselves every morning to launch ourselves into the now much-desired outside have been closed. We have found ourselves no longer - as the old 1960s adverts used to say - having to reckon with the Latest News, but with one big news, health to protectto be held on to like a tailor-made suit.

Dressing up has become a more modest and measured ritual. We have entered the order of eliminate excessive frills and superfluous partsto experiment with alternative outfits and green fabrics to be more comfortable, more in tune with the environment, more recognisable in mirrors and in domestic spaces. Then, perhaps, once the initial temptation to replace the rigidity of a structured jacket and tight-fitting trousers with a jumpsuit, a slightly délabrée oversized sweatshirt, or elasticated leggings had passed, we remembered that we don't just dress to cover ourselves, but also to assert ourselves, differentiate ourselves, say something about ourselves, feel secure in our relationships with others. To like us and give dignity to the clothed body, also with respect to the few we meet ("I made myself beautiful to go beautiful to a beautiful".: Symposium of Plato, Socrates going to dinner at Agathon's). We tried to find the right balance between exposing ourselves and maintaining, each in her own way, her own personal style in a situation so different from 'before'.

The rare stylistic proposals of recent months have focused on soft, flowing lines and on vitaminic or relaxing nuances, whetting our appetite to buy - rigorously online - a few little things to add to our wardrobe, lacking not in garments but in energetic impulses. White shirts with important and constructed collars, cocoon sweaters replacing hugs, loose-fitting trousers, wrapping scarves that give an idea of warmth and tenderness. Under the desk during calls and video calls of course no heels, Friulian and Venetian silk velvet, comfortable and attractive slippers; imaginative masks on rare outings as an alternative to the 'cold' surgical ones; a bit of DIY make-up and wigs to counteract the pallor of a frightened face.

Finally, the accessories, what the Futurists called '.modifiers", as they have the ability to transform the base on which they stand by refreshing its appearance. Drop earrings that animate facial expressions, shiny necklaces or in poor, natural materials (wool, raffia, rope, etc.), headbands that keep a hair that has lost its shape in order, bulky rings that highlight the movement of the hands in front of the camera, brooches fished out of old drawers to give light to pullovers that tell the story of our personality "halved" by the frame.

La beauty maybe it can save the world and guide us in 'reconstruction': it certainly saves our mood and our ability to withstand the test.

It brings to mind that wonderful poem by Emily Dickinson dedicated to the change of pace between summer and autumn, when nostalgia for the bright past can be transformed into renewed positivity, starting with a small detail, an accessory that holds together what has been and what is to come.

"Mornings are milder

and the darker the nuts become

and the berries have a more

round.

The rose is no longer in the city.

The maple tree wears a scarf more

gaia.

The campaign a skirt

scarlet.

And me too, not to be old-fashioned,

I will wear a jewel.

Now it's the turn of winter, still in the midst of its raw, icy, pandemic habitus.

But - still words of an author -

"They may cut all the flowers but they cannot stop the spring."

Simonetta Como


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