February 8, 2015
SUNDAY FROM MY DESK
Normal is considered today the new cool – a fashion movement. It is a great pleasure for me to see that. Dressing normally has always been beautiful. This “movement” brings me back to the mid 80’s, in the midst of big shoulders and big hair, for me the quintessence of beautiful and chic was this beautiful image shot by Peter Lindbergh
of a Max Mara perfectly cut coat, a shot for Italian Elle, 1987.
Five young New Yorkers founded a trend forecasting group, interested in art and commerce, they created the name “Normcore” using it in one of their reports, “youth mode: a report on freedom”. It is more about an attitude, not a code of dressing.
Normcore recalls the early 90’s, and my NN studio project. When I founded NN – No Name- in 1990, I wanted to create normal clothes, great quality at reasonable prices. It would be like adopting a flexible uniform, worn by both men and women alike. It would not be too fashionable, but normal and subtle, with a nod to Zen. NN was a wardrobe that in its restraint, allowed your mind to pursue your goals
without worrying whether you were on trend.
When “New York Magazine”, and then “The Observer” and other magazines began to give attention to the newly named “Normcore” as a fashion trend, a new controversy was started in certain fashion circles. Is Normcore a dressing style? or a way of living – a lifestyle movement? I am by instinct ready to embrace this idea of lifestyle – again and again – and I feel I have been a Normcore person by choice for years, but I would certainly miss the bright creativity of what good fashion can stand for – the extroverted, new, and sometimes a little bit of showing off that creative minds stretch to reach.
It was Sara’s birthday this week and she is really a Normcore person with no exhibitionism, ever. Since she was a child when I wanted to take her shopping to Pupi Solari – the children’s clothing paradise in Milano – she would say, “No, I don’t need anything. And you neither, mamma”! The Normcore aesthetic has been her aesthetic; always more interested in defining herself as a person. And I can proudly say she is a very interesting and valuable one; her lifestyle ideology
always reflected in her style of dress and attitude.
It was at the same time, the early nineties, that Muji became a must have, and a destination for all of us in Europe. Clean, simple, pure, functional, and normal. The Muji no brand strategy was good quality products at a lower price, that came wrapped in clear cellophane and plain brown paper. It was a word of mouth success then and is still today. So can we now say that Muji was and is a fashion movement?
A fashion brand?
Issey Miyake’s black turtleneck became the uniform of normal for many men of style, including Steven Jobs who is said to have had hundreds of them.
It became his signature look.
In the early 90’s Helmut Lang turned minimalism into a fashion phenomenon, a new way to see “fashion as art”. With his minimal shapes and the unconventional materials he really redefined a style of normal in the early nineties that was both comfortable, simple, and chic simultaneously, opening the door for designers to reach out more
and more to the world of art for inspiration.
Without really knowing it, Alberto Biani has been for years and years this next big fashion movement. Since his first creations for the New York garment industry, his famous impeccably tailored pants, jackets and coats have embraced “Normcore” for years. He took a quiet approach in his designing and ignored the flash. Both quality and “blending into the crowd” was a must in all his designs. He has a staunch group of advocates whose lifestyle is reflected in his wardrobe.
Fashion statement? Lifestyle statement?.