Fashion and books

Can fashion be a vehicle of culture?

Last week, we attended an event at Nonostante Marras, Antonio Marras‘ store. It was an intimate gathering that connected the worlds of fashion and books.

Fashion: a set for books

With its eclectic mix of fashion, art, and interior design, the shop perfectly reflects the designer’s personality. Indeed, the internal courtyard, filled with plants, provided a serene and welcoming atmosphere. A lovely place for the book launch of “Ostaggio” (Hostage) by Maria Francesca Chiappe.

Lately, fashion doesn’t seem the place for cultural gatherings. Imagine books! According to the ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics), in 2022, 39.3% of the population aged six and over read at least one book a year.
However, we appreciate people who challenge massified trends by offering alternative views for those who still love reading.

The journalist, Giorgio Porrà, conducted a friendly interview with the writer, Maria Francesca Chiappe, who shared her experiences as a reporter in Sardinia and her inspiration for her latest crime novel. Over her career as a reporter, she witnessed so much blood that she doesn’t want to dig into that in her books. So, no blood, her genre is a pure crime.

Fashion and books

What is the book about?

The book is set in Cagliari, Sardinia, during Covid-19. A woman disappears from her home in Poetto. Her car is in the courtyard, car doors open, keys in the ignition, while her five-year-old daughter desperately cries in the yard.
There’s no English translation for now, but you can practise your Italian!

The writer explained the title “Hostage” reflects the many layers of meaning behind the word. And the challenge of distinguishing between good and evil, somehow tracing a line that perfectly separates them.

During the Q&A, someone asked her: “Who do you write for? Do you have someone in mind?” The author replied: “When I write, I do it for myself. I enter into my world, and it’s my moment of pleasure.”
As to say, writing is not just a matter of marketing! Which we loved!

The event ended with a delicious buffet of Sardinian food and an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. We adored meeting Maria Francesca Chiappe and the Marras family! But also Guido, a passionate independent bookseller and owner of “Libreria Popolare.”

Books in a fashion context showcase the importance of preserving a diverse perspective in a homologated society. Indeed, fashion needs to be a vehicle for culture.

What is fashion design today?

Sharing some thoughts on contemporary fashion design

What is fashion design today? What is it? When everything is already done and nothing new can be made? But you still happen to read news about “the one who complained the other one copied her.”

So what is it when those who started their own collection or image concept already did it by taking inspiration from others and remixing what other designers have already done! Perhaps they don’t even realise where their ideas come from.

And what is fashion design today? When contemporary creatives have no humility to say: ‘I made this’ – and this is my style because I took inspiration from this or that designer who made such a fantastic work.

What is fashion design today? If people praise the ones who complain that another designer has copied them! But for what? For flower prints? Or for flowered head decorations? Really?

Again, what is fashion design today? When everything is possible. So brands who assemble clothes as we’ve seen trillion of times, feel like the new gods of fashion.

And when inspiration and remixing have flattened the fashion industry to such a degree that everything, every brand, looks the same. And doing so has deprived fashion of its DNA, core differences and, in essence, of its meaning.

Can modern designers, creative directors and so on stay humble? If they feel copied, Mr Cristobal should resurrect and say something about endless collections made from his archive! Can people understand there is no true genius in the fashion industry nowadays?

On 14 October, in Florence, Antonio Marras arranged a show making clothes for 20 cancer patients; the defilè – “Sfilata del prendersi cura” (the show of taking care) – was a message of hope. You can watch it here. But, an Italian brand accused him of copying her.

This sterile controversy made us reflect. First, Marras’ idiosyncrasy has never been in question. Also, bravo for this caring project! In the end, what is fashion design today? It’s about copy and paste. In some cases, following a valuable guiding idea. In most cases -those who tend to complain – pointless reproductions we could avoid seeing. Moreover, it has been done so many times, that the arrogance to claim originality seems out of context.

Visions and Glamour by Antonio Marras

Fashion as cultural contaminations

The evening event “Visions and Glamour of a mythical set on the cliffs of Capo Caccia” by Antonio Marras confirmed our sensation: cultural events connected to fashion are more fascinating than fashion shows. The things you learn, the cultural depth, are amazing. And there’s no circus.

On September 21, during Milano Fashion Week, we were invited to Cinema Mexico for the documentary screening: “The Summer of Joe, Liz and Richard.” The docufilm by Sergio Naitza debuted at the last Rome Film Festival and was awarded in London as best documentary at the Kingston International Film Festival. It investigates the reason for the flop of the movie “Boom!” – which director Joseph Losey filmed in the summer of 1968 in Capo Caccia, near Alghero, Sardinia, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Before the screening, there was an introduction by the filmmaker Sergio Naitza, Alessandra Sento (dir. of Società Umanitaria – Cineteca Sarda), the art critic Francesca Alfano Miglietti and Antonio Marras.

This cult movie inspired “Lights, camera, action!” – the Spring/ Summer 24 Marras fashion show featuring Marisa Berenson and sequences of the documentary, contaminating the presentation of the items from the collection.

Visions and Glamour by Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras: fashion & cinema

“I use fashion to tell stories and I learned it by going to the cinema, an inexhaustible source of stories, dreams, moods, characters, costumes, sets, life stories. Cinema for fashion is an indispensable life companion. And even more so for me. Not by chance, I named my debut collection from ’87 ‘Hush, hush sweet Charlotte’ after the ’64 film starring Bette Davis directed by Robert Aldrich. So, how not to give in to the provocation of a Hollywood film like “Boom!”
Thanks to Sergio Naitza’s masterful documentary I immersed myself in that hot summer, where the line between reality and fiction, between true and false, between reconstructed and existing, between acted and revealed, was only a faint breath of wind. As if by magic, Hollywood lands in the wildest and purest land, on the cliffs of Capocaccia, Alghero, Sardinia.

As the director Naitza explained: “The documentary aims to be the reconstruction of a cold case in the history of cinema, one of the most sensational flops despite the presence of the major stars of the time and a huge budget.”

Visions and Glamour: icon of style

Also the critics rejected the film. But they later re-evaluated it as a true cult movie after the rehabilitation of great cinema voices of our time, such as the famous US director John Waters. The film is also an icon of style and a timeless reference for fashion and glamour, thanks to its costumes, atmospheres and landscapes. Astonishing details made the movie special: a young boy designed the clothes, and it turns out he was Karl Lagerfeld. And Bulgari made the jewels for Liz Taylor.

The “Visions and Glamour of a mythical set on the cliffs of Capo Caccia” event by Antonio Marras prompts that fashion is culture, revealing intriguing connections and contaminations between seemingly separate worlds. Indeed, it was a pleasure to learn from it.