by Antonio Lilliu
The self-sufficiency of GLAMOUR.
That the fashion industry has been facing since years a massive recession is a fact. The recent Walzers around the creative-director chairs of Brioni, Zegna and Lanvin, the speculations about the future St. Laurent’s chief designer, announcements concerning the new sales strategy “See-now-buy-now” at Burberry’s and Tom Ford’s, reveal a spasmodic research by all big names of a “deus ex machina”, able to revive the glamour of respective brands.
The life of strategies in fashion market is nowadays shorter than ever, since C-Level executives are expected to bring immediately significant business results. After the advent of digital economy closures in Wholesale channel began at a dizzying pace, along with the proliferation of online shops. The expansion of Retail flagship-stores seemed for a while the ideal solution to stem decreasing revenues. Zara, Mango and H&M from notorious scapegoats of high-market losses have become in the meantime real brands, at least for their customers. Paradoxically, big fashion houses consider today a tribute to their creativity being copied by Zara and H&M, when they don't even create capsule-collection for such leaders in retail market. In fact, the real competition in Fashion Retail and Whole-Sale is nowadays with Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Booking-on-line.com, etc.
Are we really to believe the assumption about a certain “fatigue” of Western societies towards fashion? To take for granted the saturation of consumption? That savings’ ostentation has become meanwhile more political correct than exclusivity: can one still have a clean conscience while thinking about hunger in the world after spending a fortune in a high-end priced suit? Strictly speaking no longer cleaner after cross-styling H&M cloth with the ultimative IT-bag of Hermés.
Surely a puzzle that never ceases to worry an army of brand managers, buyers, editors, advertising gurus, salespeople, sociologists, economists and, of course, consumers, whose buying behavior becomes more and more picky every day.
Marlene Dietrich said once: ' I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men. Glamour is my stock in trade. '
At first glance you might think that Marlene Dietrich considered her own image as a product, completely separated from her true personality. Marlene was a highly intelligent woman, sensitive, generous, outgoing, introspective, perfectionist, disciplined, down to earth, with strong sense of humor and aesthetic. Finally, as an actress she wasn’t used to speak the truth anytime. Nevertheless, in that interview she reinforced the fact, she didn’t consider herself as a prisoner of the Doll’s world of glamorous Hollywood! On this topic she was absolutely sincere, if you look at her life you will agree it.
What she never told were the days spent with her costume designers (the elective affinity between her and Travis Banton lasted for years!) choosing fabrics, veils, feathers, lace, embroideries, drapes, furs, jewelry, and with makeup artists, hairdressers, photographers, lighting technicians, and later looking for gowns in the ateliers of Schiaparelli, Dior, etc,. Producers and directors, subject to obvious budgets restrictions, not always shared her aesthetic perfectionism. According to Psychology of C. G Jung “individuation” is the process throughout all humans during life-time progressively become more and more similar to their “Self”, a dynamic of experience, unconsciousness and will taking an almost formless matter to become closer to the ideal of ourselves, where form is the content.
Marlene had spent 90 years working on the myth of herself, discovering at certain point the self-sufficiency of Glamour. A glamour free from the duty to please the public, fond of living for itself, beyond men’s desire, women's envy, fashion dictates, gratitude (you know…no present is free!). It’s clear that this quintessence of glamour is certainly not a compulsive one, definitely not a flattery for the Ego.
The antithesis of glamour is the Carnival (in fashion, too!), the conscious choice of a disguise to break the narrow limits of our daily life, when we do not want or not know how to deal with our conscious self, as well as to justify behaviors against prohibitions.
Apparently an innocent game ... as long as you don’t get too many questions!
The way to gain customers on a permanent basis is to let them rediscover the authenticity of Glamour, style and quality, because it is not the same thing wearing a Leavers lace or a piece of polyester, beyond label. Style means consistency over time and space, which is for instance, the key of individuality, freedom and authenticity.