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As valued customer & reader of our Gazzettino, you may not perceive the choice of our seasonal title as confusing at all - since we currently are facing a world that basically runs counter to all logical and traditional ideas of an intact togetherness!
Our lives have been marked by the pandemic for more than a year. The most natural things have changed and continue to place heavy demands on us.
Hence we should ask ourselves where do we find the courage and the inspiration to face this new world order? What happened to the apologists of culture, common good, virtue, morality & sophistication? Where did the values that are so important to us in our dealings with each other, such as reason, dialectics, curiosity, gallantry disappear?
What happened to the penchant for life’s fineries, where did the sense of style go?
Some writers worth reading have already asked themselves many of these questions; from Ayn Rand to Verlaine and Camus, from Lord Byron to Brecht and Mann - they all had their own way of dealing with value systems, their emergence and their disappearance.
Traditionally (and tendentially) the handling of these questions has been inverted with each and every one of them - and that is a good thing, because Aurelius already knew “ Everything we see is a perspective, not a truth”.
Hence it is more interesting to look at polarizing opinions, especially if, in retrospect, they were far ahead of the zeitgeist of the time when they were „produced“.
One sometimes can find here opinions, views or questions that are still able to question our value system today - not in order to adapt it, not to find a new truth, but rather to broaden our own horizons and possibly even our own Platonic ideal.
With her books "Atlas Shrugged" + "The Fountainhead" (filmed with Gary Cooper & well worth seeing), Ayn Rand demonstrated like hardly any other writer before that novels or short stories are capable of literarily questioning opposing value systems, confronting their readers with uncomfortable moral questions.
Without going too deeply inside the ideology of objectivism and its various philosophical themes that Rand propagated - we find some central questions in her novels that manifest themselves almost perfectly in the context of the current zeitgeist: What is the role of man's mind in existence? What happens with businesses that suffer under increasingly burdensome laws and regulations? And at the end of course the obvious question that arises from within; how would a world look like where „men of talent“ – the great innovators, producers and creators – disappear?
What happens if ways of thinking and acting differently are no longer accepted and where public conformity arises to the number one premise? – will the motors of the world stop?
Last season we talked about leaders from bygone eras - all of them a brilliant exposition of the things that are made possible by the rational, thinking human mind. Given our seasonal background, how do we find a new raison d’être? By embarking on a deeper search for our own platonic ideal, in search of our own worldview and our own identity (and thus possibly becoming a leader ourselves in the end, if we are not already one).
The premise "Do Your Own Thing" accompanies us throughout this journey and it can be an extended lesson in not to focus only on what we see! So without further ado, let the search beginn and it begins, with one of the most beautiful things in the world: architecture!
Architecture is a fluid medium encompassing philosophy, style, creativity and freedom of expression. Proponents of the craft effortlessly traverse these pillars of civilisation, and if you look closely enough, give cues on how to establish your very own distinguished style and raison d'être.
Upon release of the magnum opus of La Nouvelle Vague cinema, Le Mépris, director Jean-Luc Godard was the name on everybody’s lips. His film is fundamentally the story of a marriage, amongst the backdrop of the Isle of Capri, set within perhaps the finest example of Italian contemporary architecture, Villa Malaparte.
It captured a beguiling Brigitte Bardot at her most powerful, and often, most naked. When interviewed by Francois Chalais for Cinepanorama in 1964, Godard was questioned about the prevalent use of nudity in Le Mépris.
In response, Godard superbly dismisses Mr Chalais’ prudish question with trademark performative wit; ‘It’s like asking Praxiteles when he was sculpting the nude Venus, “Did Venus agree to undress?” When clothes were worn in the film, it goes without saying that the wardrobe choices are impeccably stylish. Michel Piccoli and Jack Palance deliver audiences a masterclass in summer dressing. So much so that Michael Jondral thought it appropriate to have them front of mind when curating his latest spring/summer collection.
Since being featured in Le Mépris, the famous residence has been the subject of extensive restoration works and is today only opened for cultural events. If you do receive an invitation to visit, embrace your individuality and dress for the occasion, and the location.
May we suggest a loosely tied summer scarf to compliment your Irish linen safari jacket against the backdrop of the azurite coastline of Campania? However, if you are arriving by Riva Super Ariston speedboat, Gunter Sachs style, the only appropriate ensemble would be a sisal summer hat, a pair of swim shorts emblazoned with lobsters, and nothing else. Sounds just like a famous Slim Aarons photograph, right?
We would like to take this opportunity to remind you - our dear customers - that Mr Sachs successfully courted his second wife, Brigitte Bardot, by dropping hundreds of roses onto the roof of her villa from the cockpit of a helicopter. We are willing to bet that he was wearing an A1 suede Bomber jacket for that particular mission. Bold and fearless are good traits in a man, but even better ones in his wardrobe.
Le Corbusier once famously said that ‘to sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world.’ Gary Cooper’s famous portrayal of the individualistic Howard Roark in The Fountainhead reminds us to accept artistic paths and dismiss public conformity.
Groundbreaking ideas and individuality are not borne from collectivism or following the pack. This same self-reliance and integrity of thought should be gainfully employed when considering a unique vision for your wardrobe. Re-think your decision making and consider the possibility that denim is in fact a stellar choice of fabric for a sports jacket.
Like an architect, take cues from your natural surroundings and embrace soft suede loafers the colour of sand this Summer. This is all to say that there is no blueprint, rulebook, or map required to establish distinguished style. Overarchingly, in all manner of decision making, clothing or otherwise, always follow the directions of your most important client; yourself.
Finally, an excerpt from the aforementioned film with Gary Cooper as a shining example of how to not sell your soul!