One of the phenomena which has without doubt characterized our society hereabouts over recent years and which has ended up having an enormous influence on our lifestyle is the progressive, exponential increase of SUPERFICIALITY. It has in every way become the macroscopic figure of Today and has changed, or should we say definitively shaken the rules of aesthetics to the core and, obviously, that of the complex world of the textile industry and the consumption associated with it.
We do not intend to carry out a more or less expected sociological analysis, nor wage any rear guard action. Simply, we want to deal with this important phenomenon in how it manifests itself – in its undoubtedly negative forms for the quality of our work but also the converse, interesting attempts to “recover” or “rehabilitate” a more conscious and more critical modus vivendi. And we should not forget that both spheres nevertheless represent markets, including the one of “bad taste”. So no scandal there.
We shall, therefore, try to address superficiality calling by this name what has currently been the long-term most important phenomenon, generator inter alia of the almost offensive, spreading bad taste, which however, is often only spoken of in low tones (such as under a dictatorship), and we shall describe some of its verifiable aspects in our day to day curriculum.
Two macro-areas which I would call the “pretend to be there” and the “pretend not to be there”.
Why “pretend”? Because even a summary analysis shows that too often the “real” facts disappear giving way to an appearance which is opposite to them; almost as if some one, other than ourselves, thinks and creates perfect copies of something whose original has never existed. We are all in the game.
The first part of the presentation is, therefore, dedicated to the compulsive desire to fill life with an excess of presence, visibility, to occupy space in the world with one’s ego; the illusion of centrality even if deprived of foundation and importance, the being there in order to be there and to have the feeling of existing.
It goes together to an other illusion: being constantly “informed”, being always connected and therefore able not only to “act” but also to “interact”, when actually we are only passive spectators awaiting information – whose validity and correspondence to the “reality” is often yet to be proved – and anxiety- inducing reports of events which preferably happened far away from us.
The other side of the coin (and second part of the presentation) is the wish, the instinctive converse drive, to “pretend not to be there”, isolating oneself or disappearing, at least temporarily; escaping from one’s own and others’ logorrhea, from systematic compulsiveness in such a way that the world may appear as it really is, or many-sided and decentralized, a path with a thousand lines of escape. In such a way that all, if seen from a transparent, unobserved, discreet and eclipsed position, opens up a new experience: abandoning the sensation of being responsible for everyone and everything, removing oneself from the “World” so that it is it to approach us and thereby enable us to see it by looking at it from the inside. Source of a kind of aesthetic relief, a glade of silence and not least, the recovery of a style
Pretended elegant or pretended casual textiles materials, everything that seems but isn’t and where the content of quality is not the main thing sought after.To interpret the need to occupy space in the world with one’s own presence, moreover with the illusion of centrality devoid of foundation and importance, being there to be there and to have the sensation of existing.
Bright aspects and decorations of many kinds – shade movements given by printings and embroideries or by those absolutely ‘basic’ applications, even elementary from the aesthetic point of view, but ‘visual’, nearly ‘optical’ when colour is concerned: the same applies to yarn-dyed patterns: simple, basic but visual. And again the same goes for the elaboration of basic denim patterns which get “shot”, super fancy.
Protective wear contaminates the formal and vice versa. Highly resistant, performing synthetic fibres, either pure or processed with cotton or wool natural types.
The wish to be “informed”, enabled to “act”, to “interact”, another way of feeling oneself to be (or to have the illusion of being) at the centre of the action.
A bit ‘strong’ and in some way ‘rigid’ formality is recalled, also within hand and finishing of some fabrics which evoke metal and leather or through their direct presence over them; in the squared and sometimes rigid patterns of more traditional fabrics, in the double-sided and doubled types. Animated surfaces and contrasts of materials.
Images, textiles and words to dream of “not” being there, to pretend to be far from the chaos. The islands can be those for the privileged ones but also those where everything is very “nature”.
Elegance based on simplicity and on non-appearance, with qualities with mainly natural content and, at least on the surface, not very elaborated
Discretion without excesses in recalling some classic types, small and marked weaves, warm double-faced fabrics, also wool ones matched with natural ones, light boiled wool and featherweight felts, melanges and slightly tweed effects and light hairiness on the surface, drapes and fluidity of crapes, moderate embroideries, small and big jacquard fabrics, warm and voluminous knitting and once again lace.
Unseen spectators of all these (pretended?) realities. Blurred images. The wish is to try a sense of distancing and evanescence, of dissolution in a context where nobody can be reached.
Elegant and casual but always interpreted with lightness and transparency.
The art of ‘disappearing’ as clear and precise ‘matter’.
Indistinct and confused patterns, nearly ‘vanished’ and undefined, ethereal qualities, often in very ‘open’ weaving, animated crêpe fabrics and complex interlacing, overlapping of natural and man-made materials, but always in weights and with light aspects in types and in the ornamental applications over them. Pearly, vitreous and iridescent appearance.
Super simple: pretended poor basics, in reality the new sophisticated, muted chic
Silky: semi-glossy or opaque, but always able to obtain a natural effect of great beauty and elegance, although apparently a bit “fané”
Inaccurate: hazy, delicate melange, small mouliné mainly on fine counts, maybe with some gloss, followed by two examples of yarns with rubber and doeskin feel
Creased surfaces: not too excessive irregular effects with or without comfort, based on small waved types and similar structures
Shading: between light and shadow, surface movements, softness and with valuable fleece too, caressing luxury
Visible patterns: hairiness and some slubs, mainly on small areas and for decoration
Lights: the colours and lights of metals and plastics also to reproduce on materials other than the original ones