Last month during a conference at Georgetown University an expression was coined, which risks becoming iconic: “THE DECADE OF… WHO KNOWS?!”.
It seems almost impossible to find a more apt metaphor to define the contrast between the historic times we have recently lived through and which we know as “THE “ME” DECADES” and the one which we are living in and to put as counterpart to the self-centred personalism focused on its own naval of those years, the dejection of the present day marked by conflict and not infrequently disappointing, where uncertainty has become system.
The macro-economic happenings and the small events of daily life are almost never interconnected in a readily recognizable way, but in this case I would say that the dichotomy “years of who knows and years of me” amply cover both cases. Let us take for example what it defines – now not without self satisfaction – “Fashion” and let us try to ask ourselves why, for some time when present at shows or when looking at specialist magazines, one feels a sense of discomfort and impatience at the pervasive lack of inspiration, a great sense of boredom for all that “déjà-vu” which expresses itself in “tributes”, “homage”, “re-working” and similar …the 1920’s, ‘50’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s between abnormal (Hulk-like) shoulders, great (elephantine) legs, very comme-il-faut little dresses (but who was Chanel?), little flowered men (new embarrassed and embarrassing Narcissi), transparent soft porn (flower children, free love? Woodstock?). Here then is the Super Novelty: the New Mediocrity. And the spirit of the time, the famous Zeitgeist, in which fashion places itself in the front line, the standard bearer, the forerunner, is none other than this: the New Mediocrity. Or the passive stifling sensation of standing in midair, in an atemporal suspension which is not very edifying and even less inspired by what matters little to anybody and is very depressing to many. Not very edifying and even less stimulating. Rather, maybe, the stimuli appear not even to be requested. They would not be welcome. How could one manage them?
Starting from these premises it has seemed fair and fitting to make a salutary counter gesture not paying attention to phenomena, facts, theories and various not entirely intended and not particularly inspiring happenings of taste – salient features of those “years of who knows?!…” – and to focus the attention it deserves on our textile profession. Above all deserved by those very rare people, who represent the exception to what has been said above. It may be therefore granted to honour those who in this industrial field still know how to do their work competently and intend to continue their activity – in spite of everything – with the productive skill borne of experience united with enthusiasm and to give them some idea which might be of use. In the industrial textile sector our country, like few others in Europe and elsewhere, has a long, fascinating history and we, therefore, think that it cannot be devoid of a future. We are concentrating on the expertise of all those who still succeed in representing something “different” in the panorama of Mediocrity and who, beyond all the considerations of the beautiful that has been lost, the beautiful that must be found again, the raging ugliness and ugliness that is to be eliminated all down the line, are convinced that only by adhering to the patrimony of experience and applying it to traditional types as well as to the innovative ones and those of new technology will it be possible in the future still to speak of what was properly called TEXTILE ART.