Cannes and the new beauty statement

Most of the time, red carpet outfits have no sense of style or coolness. They send one clear message only: “Please, please, please! Notice me!”

So, the latest edition of the Cannes Film Festival was remarkable. Indeed, it could not go unnoticed. And not for the red carpet outfits, but because this edition signed a turning point in beauty standards.

Unexpectedly, and with a high dose of bravery, several actresses surprised us with their wrinkles or undyed hair. They chose to be who they really are, tired of compromising.
They were fierce, beautiful and effortless.
What a pleasant surprise.

In one of our previous posts, we expressed the need for human faces. In an era dominated by plastic surgery, people completely lost their uniqueness, all having the same characteristics.

Et voilà, here it is, the sign of change! And it was so true. So impressive.

Hellen Mirren, a marvellous trailblazer, this time was not alone. Andie McDowell declared that during the pandemic, she decided not to dye her hair anymore. Jodie Foster – awarded an honorary Palme d’Or for lifetime achievements – looked great with her grey strands.

Finally, we saw women feeling comfortable with their age and therefore having no problem showing it.

Free from usual schemes and self-confident concepts of beauty – this is the most important message they sent.
If men are free to age however they want, why shouldn’t we do it?

And a positive wave has started. We have done everything to deny ageing, while we have to embrace it and live it at our best.
They showed us that we can be beautiful anyway. Beautifully human.

This time, even more than their gowns, we appreciated their attitude. That was a beauty statement.

We applaud you, great women!

The exception to the rule

They say every rule has its exceptions. And, of course, we couldn’t escape. A few days ago, we wrote that fashion Maisons whose original designer has left, lose their meaning.

Indeed, this is not the case with Valentino. Since the duo Piccioli – Chiuri has split from co-designing the brand, Mr Pierpaolo Piccioli didn’t miss a single beat. Though, we cannot say the same about Chiuri’s work.

From the moment he went solo, Piccioli’s design has been a celebration of the Valentino codes. He carefully paid respect to the founder’s work, elaborating the brand DNA while adding a touch of modernity. Elegance has certainly not been lost.

On July 15, we saw the Fall/Winter 21-22 Valentino couture show, streamlined from Venice’s Gaggiandre, Arsenale. What better occasion to find a valid exception to the above rule. The show was a dialogue between fashion and art, presented from a magnificent set-up.

If fashion is not art, it is true that both forms of expression have many aspects in common: creativity, the vital and founding element that determines the whole process. But also time, experimentation, and skilled hands. All these are crucial elements needed to reach a perfect realization.

For the show, Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborated with 17 painters, and the final result was sublime. The overlapping of bold colours was a joy for the eye, a breath of fresh air. The fluid silhouettes and clean-cut lines, the game of form and colours, showed a modern way to make couture.

Impeccable tailoring and know-how. Effortless beauty and elegance.
An expression of art. A real celebration of couture.

The state of fashion & the couture revamp

Top brands are rediscovering and relaunching their couture collections. Or eliminating the diffusion lines, as Valentino did with Red Valentino, for instance.

The couture orientation could be a re-emerged desire for well-done items among tons of junk clothing. A strategy to clean up a collapsed market, focusing on their original identities. Or the research for a more sustainable model. Both possibilities are worthy.

In fashion, we should do like the music bands: can we imagine Queen without Freddy Mercury? or Nirvana without Kurt Cobain?
For instance, why should Margiela make sense designed by someone who has his opposite vision? Although John Galliano is one of the greatest couturiers, Margiela is not Margiela anymore.
What about Balenciaga? or Gucci? Brands lost their identity, and now it’s game over.

In todays’ panorama, we believe historical Maisons should repurpose archival pieces in a modern version to keep alive the designer’s heritage. And no, we are not referring to the so-called “modernity” of the recently relaunched Balenciaga couture line. Was the pigeon toe an example of modernity? We don’t think so.

As conceived nowadays, couture and brands in general, when the designer of the Maison is dead or has left, lose their meaning.
Although there is a vague inspiration coming from the archives, we see very little respect for the creativity and work of the original designer. Instead, a certain arrogance of the newcomers prevails, aiming to show their own vision while disfiguring the original. There are very few exceptions.
So conceived, fashion is simply a way to make money out of the brand name legacy, in addition to an ego game. All the magic is gone.

Since overproduction is killing our planet, couture and demi-couture offer a more controlled and limited production model. The higher quality wouldn’t hurt either.

The return of the “atelier” with a unique selection of worthy pieces and custom-made items is the opposite of the mass distribution model we saw flourishing till now. They would offer value and sustainability.

And maybe we’d see the rebirth of fashion.

Selection vs quantity

Carefully picking out the most suitable items vs quantity is an interesting point. Talking about selection when people are used to a supermarket thinking mode, indeed, is not an easy task.

A while ago, a lady who used to come to our boutique asked to try on an item. When we said her size was sold-out, she replied:
“My size is sold out because you ordered only a few pieces.”

Also, she said it with an ironic grin on her lips, as she intended to belittle our work.

Accidentally and unbeknownst to her, she had hit the point: selecting a few pieces is not a demerit. On the contrary, we firmly believe it is a plus! It grants you uniqueness, which is far better than being the clone of many other people.

In fact, we do it on purpose. To order a few pieces by choosing those of value, the special ones, is an intentional attitude.
We are at the opposite of the fast-fashion concept. Disposable goods have never been for us. Besides, fashion understood as a supermarket makes us shudder.

Years ago, we were already on this path, and this direction is even more explicit now due to the recent events. Going for an evolved style – and lifestyle – means that we don’t need too many things, only the ones that make the difference.

We help you create your unique, distinctive individual style. We do it operating with respect for people and the planet. It’s a vision for a better world. It is not about quantity. Of course, it is not.

We cannot please everyone, and we do not appeal to a mass audience. But we can please people like us, a niche of like-minded individuals who share the same values.

It’s a selection for modern humans.

The cultural element

This is when you go to an event dedicated to sustainability, and one of the first things you hear is a journalist stating that we cannot consume less!

“During the pandemic, we saw what happened, everything stopped. It’s clear that we cannot consume less.”

We looked at each other perplexed: “Are we in the right place?”
If this is the viewpoint of someone invited as a speaker to discuss sustainability, imagine the thoughts of the average consumer.

We could not engage with those people over there, but we take the opportunity to explain our thoughts here.

In fact, we do believe the opposite is quite evident.
Consuming less is one of the most effective ways to save our planet.

It is necessary to find a new economic model to replace capitalism, which has been revealed to be outdated and unsuccessful. Exponential growth is absolutely inconceivable and even harmful now.

Although a new economic model is a fundamental step, we cannot wait, arms crossed, for something to happen.
Sooner or later, the gods of economics and politics will come out with a brilliant idea, a valid substitute. At least, we hope they will.

But in the meantime, maintaining a sustainable level of consumption is crucial. To become aware of what we consume and how we consume must be at the core of our actions.

When it comes to changing the way we live, eat, travel, or shop, culture plays a central role.

Culture comes through education. In the past, we had the excuse that sources, books, and information weren’t accessible. Now we can find whatever we need.

Knowing more about environmental issues and climate change. Discovering more about ethical work and production modes. Understanding material, craftsmanship, quality.

Educating ourselves to become conscious consumers is what we can actively do to enhance our lifestyle and change for the better.

It’s about improving our well-being rather than accumulating things and money with the outcome of waste and exploitation.

Learning more is free, and often it just takes a click!

Que fantastica esta fiesta

It was impossible for us not to dedicate a post to the one and only Raffaella Carrà. She was the heart of our nights out with the rhythm of her happy songs! Our beloved icon suddenly left us on 5 July.

Women owe her a lot. Her humble, empathetic and cheerful personality offered a positive role model inspiring absolute freedom and acceptance. Maybe, for this reason, she became a gay icon too.

Besides, her ironic but never vulgar temper contributed a lot to educate our society, influencing our culture more than any law or government. She taught us her values such as kindness, inclusivity, openness, and always working persistently.

These are some of her quotes:

“To me, the world is not made of gay and straight but of creatures.”

“I am in favor of stepchild adoption, I too grew up with two women.”

“I grew up without a father. He was wealthy but too playboy, and my mother divorced in 1945. I never wanted to get married, and it always pissed me off not being able to adopt children without the obligation of this ring.”

Furthermore, she was the first to unveil her belly button in 1969 on the tv screen, wearing a crop top on bell-bottoms. Her innate elegance allowed her to send messages about female agency with her sex-positive songs.
And perhaps that was the point: her elegance. She was never gross whatever she did, whatever she wore.

Also, this is relevant to the recent controversy about some female Italian singers. They state that they were criticized for their clothing, while men, instead, are free to wear whatever they want.
If this can be true, and in fact, it often is, we have to say that those female singers don’t have even a micro tiny trace of the elegance she naturally possessed.

Elegance, this is what they forget. It allows you to express yourself freely in what you wear, sing or say. Elegance is the key, lost in our times.

Thank you, beautiful soul, for the joy you gifted us.
Rest in peace, Raffaella.

Sale season – The status quo never dies

We entered the sale season and the entire industry, including the sustainability supporters, jumped into hard-discounting mode.

While it’s understandable that Covid impacted the market by leaving high inventories, it seems clear that the status quo wins.
The push to leave things as they are, keeping up with the usual producing and selling patterns, is stronger than the will to change.

The interests of the industry operators act intentionally to maintain the status quo. And the game is well known: massive overproduction that corresponds to an omnipresent, gigantic distribution.

In order to sustain this system, mark-ups have gotten higher and higher.

Even those who launched “Rewiring fashion” did it following an outdated pattern, simply postponing delivery dates or sale seasons.
Is that the solution? Really?

Perhaps this means that nothing has to change.
Covid was not a lesson to learn but just an obstacle along the path. Rather than learning the lesson and changing strategy, they would prefer to sell all the stocked goods to any alien species. And maybe exploit a whole galaxy too.

Producing goods to be sold during the sale season is the blind strategy of a sick market. A short-term solution that passes all the costs on to workers – by creating new slaves – and exploiting the planet.

If sustainability includes ethical work, giving a proper wage to those who make our clothes, then the sales aren’t sustainable.

Prices are often inflated to start with in order to accommodate the expected sales. No sales – means more realistic prices during the season, and therefore more affordable items.

We aim to see operators in the fashion field getting in touch to find new strategies to avoid sales. Connecting and collaborating in order to give value to the products, setting up a viable long-term strategy.

Furthermore, if they all talk about sustainability, they should also make it happen.

Timeless. A mindful buying approach.

Timeless is a concept that has become quite popular in fashion nowadays. Why? and why now? Let’s dig deeper into this.

Timeless fashion – just as timeless design in general – refers to classic pieces: items conceived and made to last. But it also includes those pieces that feature such an innovative design that even after many years, they are still forward, always relevant, evergreen. Those pieces end up being copied by other brands who feed themselves on the creativity of others. And, if your eyes are a little bit trained, you see where they come from.

Why now?
Now that the system has collapsed, we seek out ways to survive. Timeless is a good strategy because it gives worth back to clothing and its production system. Also, it opens us up to a more thoughtful way of consuming.

Timeless tells you to buy less but better. It is the opposite of disposable clothing, the opposite of fast fashion.

We always promoted a vision of style that was more than consuming fashion trends quickly. We did this from the very beginning of suite123, about fifteen years ago.
We mainly selected clothes having a certain stylistic content, never banal, with a good design, made from beautiful materials. In fact, that is the essence of timelessness: items you can wear forever.

Now we are even more concentrated on this approach. Given the situation we are in, we firmly believe it’s a mindful, appropriate choice.

The investment is higher, but it’s the only way to have clothes that last for a long time. Timeless fashion is one of the steps we need to take to reduce our impact on the planet.

The expiry date – Fashion or mortadella?

Fashion communication – verbal, written and visual – has contributed to undermining the industry.
In a world where fast fashion became a synonym of luxury and other similar absurdities, we always feel the need to define what we say. Somehow, we need to restore the meaning in a state of general confusion.

Hysteric mass production led us to a broken industry incapable of selling all the tons of items they produce. The surplus is burned, making room for the next manifestation of this insanity.

Why do niche brands or even high-end designers subscribe to these practices? Why do they feel the need to hard-discount merchandise just a few months after its delivery to the stores, devaluing both products and the brand?

“This item is new now, but it’s going to be old in three months or less.”
There is no consistency in that.

The poor language to attract consumers does not focus on worth but discounts or influencers:

PRE-SALE! – SALE! – Heavy discounts! – Black Friday! -60% -70%
Who offers less?

“Today, with the influencers bad taste is everywhere.” – said Mr Valentino to “Il Messaggero”.

Herein lies a huge mistake in terms of communication, in the messaging of our industry.

When will fashion operators understand we are conceiving, producing, selling and communicating products born out of creativity. The moment we rediscover the value of that process, we’ll acknowledge the mistakes we made.

To deal with those products like they are milk or mortadella, treating them as products with a fast expiration date is not a brilliant idea.

We love mortadella, and we also believe it has a higher value than the majority of fashion products currently in stores. But, we think the actual value of the whole creative process has to be rediscovered and protected in making and communicating fashion. Like it is something meaningful, timeless, not something to get rid of as soon as possible.

What can we do to change?
Brands have to produce less, taking extreme care of the whole process.
Heavy discounts should disappear. They are not a healthy, long-term strategy.
People should consume less but better.

Let fast fashion do its work for what is cheap, for people who chose not to see. At the same time, let’s protect and celebrate the timeless value of creativity, quality, and craftsmanship. By using proper language to this end.

Awareness, sustainability and style. How they are connected.

Creating awareness through style is the way we pursue sustainability and make a change. When you become self-aware, you dress in a specific way and pay attention to what you buy, how you act.
Through your style, you communicate a message.

We mainly refer to fashion, although this concept applies to any activity that involves design: technology, furniture, lighting, pottery, architecture, art and all layers of our lifestyle.

You may have seen that sustainable brands are now blooming everywhere, so much that you have the impression of living in a wonderful world. The attention to this topic is so huge. The sense of caring stands out. But let’s dig deeper into what happens for real.

The majority of sustainable brands start their new projects simply to match the current marketing requests. Perhaps they wouldn’t sell or get attention without that magic label.

There’s no regulation on this matter. And even if some certificates provided by the suppliers may exist, it’s easy to imagine what would happen.

Anyhow, by selecting only one eco-friendly material, they enter the universe of sustainable brands. For sure, someone will applaud them.
The game is so easy that it’s worth giving it a try.

The result is a brand labelled as sustainable that, to be honest, is everything but sustainable. The umpteenth brand on the market, on an overcrowded, overpopulated, almost exploding panorama.

Let’s be clear, the best way of being sustainable for a brand that shows a poor design, and doesn’t communicate any concept or any added value, is not doing it. That’s it.

Please, don’t do it. We don’t need more brands. We need better brands.