Giant fashion brands, which have returned to their essence in recent years and designed their collections inspired by local riches, nourish the global village with their cultural values; and gains a voice in the global world by getting stronger with exactly those values.
We know from the famous sociologist George Simmel that fashion contributes to individualization by making it different, while ensuring integration into society by homogenizing. With globalization, similar appearances, which are accepted all over the world at the same time and fed by trends, pave the way for uniformization in fashion and social life. In their book Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno and Horkheimer, one of the important names of the Frankfurt School, underline that the culture industry is nothing but an effort to pacify the individual and direct them to continuous consumption and to produce a stereotyped culture instead of real culture.
With Alessandro Michele, the paintings almost come out of the galleries and are reflected in Gucci designs. Especially Renaissance period artists influence Michele a lot. For example, the bold colors and tough fabrics in the famous work of the early Renaissance Italian painter Fra Filippo Lippi, “The Madonna and the Child” (right), are very similar with Michele’s rich tones that stand out with striking contrasts.
Although homogenization is felt in all areas of society, it is most evident in fashion. Among the common points of the working mechanism of fashion and the culture industry are the repetition of each other and the end of local differences. In other words, fashion, which is a product of the culture industry, also benefits the consumer society by producing a global culture. While the world is turning into a global village, we know that fashion produces a global culture and a global clothing style that everyone knows and recognizes, that this is not something new, it has been going on since the very beginning of fashion. In recent years, with the appreciation of local cultures and the applause of authentic values, we can say that globality plays the locality card, and localization feeds the globality of brands.
In other words, instead of highlighting the stereotypical aesthetic values accepted all over the world, brands return to their essence by making their own inner journeys, adding a unique spirit to fashion by focusing on their history, local beauties and their own cultures, and of course, they sell this spirit to the global in line with their economic strength.
In this context, can we say that the local is now considered the new global?
Representing the DNA of the Valentino brand and being the most characteristic feature of the Valentino identity, floral prints continue to exist in all collections from past to present. Pierpaolo Piccioli paid homage to this tradition and kept flowers in his latest collection.
TRANSPORTING ITALIAN HISTORY TO THE GLOBALE
A thoroughly Roman, Alessandro Michele, who has been the creative director of Gucci since 2015 in his studio in Palazzo Alberini, built in Rome in the 16th century, does not hesitate to show his admiration for the Italian Renaissance in his magnificent collections. You can observe the style of Caravaggio, the representative of baroque art, in Michele’s baroque and bohemian clothes, and the gothic and esoteric style of Trecento’s paintings in Gucci collections.
While she carries the influence of Italian directors such as Michele, Visconti and Fellini to her costumes, she also supports the local with the global and winks at the aesthetics of American director Wes Andersan in her designs.
Pierpaolo Piccioli showed the value he attaches to Italian culture by holding his Autumn/Winter 2021-22 fashion show at Piccolo Teatro de Milan, which was closed during the pandemic period.
On the occasion of Gucci’s 100th birthday, Alessandro Michele, who opened the Palazzo Settimanni in Florence, where the brand’s archive, briefly its collections from past to present, is exhibited, explains that this place has an important role in transmitting the Italian cultural heritage to future generations. Reflecting the architectural features of Renaissance Florence and bringing the cultural history of Gucci, and therefore Italy, to the present, the venue, just like Michele’s philosophy, bridges the gap between the past and the present.
We can interpret this as a desire to introduce cultural values to wider circles, to update the local and include it in the global, rather than a nostalgic desire, just as Michele cannot be considered a nostalgic designer at all.
Valentino, a brand as strong as Gucci and appealing to the global, held its fashion shows not in Paris, but in Milan, Venice and Rome, especially in order to emphasize the Italian identity more during the pandemic period. It was no coincidence that Pierpaolo Piccioli held his Autumn/Winter 2021-22 fashion show at the Piccolo Teatro de Milan, which was closed during the pandemic and has an important place in Italian history. Established in 1947, the theater, which was commemorated with torture during the fascist era, became the first public theater of Italy in the following years, and also became the symbol of Milan’s democratic and cultural awakening. Piccioli was honoring Italian history by presenting his winter collection in this special place.
Simon Porte Jacquemus’s love for Marseille, the city where he was born and raised, Provence culture with its Mediterranean coast and lavender fields; inspires all of the designer’s collections. Through his collections, Jacquemus tells the world about his past and the culture that shaped it.
In the Spring/Summer 2022 collection, the brand’s founder, Valentino Garavani, brought pieces from his archive to the podium with a modern interpretation, again showing Piccioli’s respect for his roots and cultural heritage. Piccioli introduced the cornerstones of Italian culture, for example, a local venue such as Piccolo Teatro de Milan, to the global with its fashion shows that appeal to the whole world. Roses, which are the iconic symbols of Piccioli, Valentino Garavani and the fashion house in many collections, and flowers, which are considered as a cultural heritage, are now traveling around the world as a global value.
So yes, the local is the new global today.
Metiers d’Art fashion show and the success of the craftsmen
Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard did not just focus on the result and present the designs in the collection to the guests at the Metiers d’Art 2021/22 fashion show held at the Le19M building in Paris. The showcase of the workshops of craftsmen such as the embroiderers Lesage and Atelier Montex, the jeweler Goossens, the hatter Maison Michel, the feather worker Lemarié, the knitter Lognon and the shoemaker Massaro showed the importance of cultural values and the concept of “made in local”. Even though there are still star designers, the craftsmen who work like their shadows are now on the stage and glorified. It is an emphasis on culture that Chanel organized the Metiers d’Art fashion show in a magnificent building in Paris designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti, not in different countries unlike previous years.
WHEN THE SUN OF PROVENCE ILLUMINATES THE WORLD
Simon Porte Jacquemus, who was born and grew up in Marseille in the south of France, has created a global brand by keeping the Provençal culture and being Mediterranean in all his collections, and achieved great success in a short time, is a name that makes a difference with its locality and speaks to the global with its local values.
Giant hats, mini mini bags, floral patterns, pastel colors, which Bella Hadid and Jennifer Lopez cannot give up, reflecting the “dolcevita” of Southern France, the mild climate and the hot sun, and their love for Marseille, and their loyalty to the land of their birth. Simon Porte Jacquemus, showing oversized trousers and dresses that stick to the body, also signed a fashion show called “La Montagne”, which pays tribute to the French Alps in his latest winter collection.
With the video of Celine brand’s last summer collection in Nice, you will have the opportunity to get to know the south coast of France and see the local riches of the country.
We can say that Jacquemus, who said, “My biggest obsession is that everyone falls in love with Marseille,” certainly achieved this, that he made his dream come true by dressing the whole world with his poetic designs shining with the sun of Southern France, and that he introduced the Mediterranean spirit to people living in a completely different part of the planet with his brand.
Jacquemus’ passionate journey is one of the best examples that proves that the local is the new global. Speaking of southern France, have you ever been to Baie des Anges? If you haven’t been, or if you’ve never heard of this place before, you will meet this wonderful region thanks to the Celine Spring/Summer 2022 collection video titled “Baie des Anges” shot by Hedi Slimane in Nice. With the Celine video, the iconic Promenade des Anglais of Nice, which was named after the British once released, the iconic Promenade des Anglais, the magnificent Negresco hotel representing the Riviera’s trademark Belle Epoque architecture, and the Massena street will go beyond its borders and appeal to large audiences.
Hedi Slimane combines local values representing French culture with timeless pieces in her collection, presenting the local and the global together, by walking the long trench coats, pencil skirts, striped shirts and straw hats through the characteristic streets of Nice.
Maria Grazia Chiuri came together with the artisans of Southern Italy for the Dior 2021 Resort fashion show and created a collection that glorifies the fading traditions and reminds the values of the local people.
FASHION IS CLOSELY RELATED TO CULTURAL HERITAGE
You have read many times on the pages of ELLE Turkey that fashion, apart from dressing its primary function, raises awareness about social issues in parallel with social developments, informs people on various issues from sustainability to climate crisis, from inclusiveness to pluralism.
Although we do not deny the fact that fashion homogenizes and standardizes it as a tool of the culture industry, it should be underlined that it attaches importance to local values and culture, especially during the pandemic that we have turned into.
Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, tells in an interview with Paris Match magazine that fashion is closely related to culture and heritage, and that creativity is not just a design but a way of thinking. Fashion and big brands transfer their way of thinking based on local cultures and value systems to the global world through their designs, the fashion show venues they choose, the artists they inspire and, of course, their economic power.
The plates on which the artist Agostino Branca embroidered Tarot cards and the symbol of Southern Italy, plants and wild flowers, are a meticulous example of handcraft.
Maria Grazia Chiuri worked with local artisans in this region for the Resort 2021 fashion show she held in the Puglia region of Lecce, in the south of Italy, where, in her own words, “women sew lace in front of their homes,” where she spent her childhood, gave them an opportunity to develop themselves. Thanks to Dior’s global power, it liberated its cultural heritage from its borders and introduced it to the world. Chiuri said, “Today, as the importance of thinking at the local level is increasing, it is necessary to help people what they can do with what they have. “Doing something that doesn’t fit with your culture hinders success,” she says.
Starting from the definition of globalization that North and Western countries can present their culture and locality to the global based on their economic power, then a brand new and appropriate discussion can be opened on whether a brand born from Africa can deliver its locality to the global. This is true, but that is a topic for another article. While the big brands are trying to be active in the world, they do this not through homogeneous proposals; we can say that they contribute to the fact that the global village at least has a more colorful content with pluralistic structures, identity elements and different realities. This isn’t a bad thing either.
BOTTEGA FOR BOTTEGAS project
Bottega Veneta brand launched the Bottega for Bottegas project to highlight the creativity of local businesses and give them visibility. Traditionally produced Vanini olive oils, Krumiri Rossi biscuits, Pastificio Martelli pastas and Orsoni ceramics will be exhibited and sold in Bottega stores of 12 different local operators.
Bottega Veneta uses its global visibility to give local operators such as Orsoni ceramics the opportunity to become more widely known.
IF YOU ARE SINGLE AT 25 YEARS OLD IN FASHION HOUSES, YOU ARE BURNED!
In France, brands such as Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci and Chanel celebrate the day of Sainte-Catherine, the young patron saint of girls who have turned 25 and are not yet married, on the 25th of every November in the country. Behind the celebration of this “old-school” tradition is the value big brands place on tradition, craftsmanship and handcraft. In the celebration, all the young people working in the brand’s workshops are having fun with their green and yellow hats, of course not to find a partner, but with the joy of common values and being a big fashion family, while making fun of the Sainte-Catherine day, which can actually be considered quite sexist.
Article: Selin Milosyan
Photos: GETTY IMAGES TURKEY, IMAXTREE.COM
Taken from ELLE Turkey February 2022 issue.