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Notebook 2018

Editor Daniela Calanca



  • Stefano Marino, Fashion and Anti-Fashion: A Dialectical Approach
  • Swantje Martach, Being-In-Clothes-In-The-World: Why  We Are Clothed and Clothing Beings
  • Chiara Pompa, Mytologies of the DigiSelf. The Spectacularization of Daily Life in Visual Culture at  the Turn of the Millennium
  • Daniela Calanca, Fashion During the Nationalism and Imperialism of the Years  of Fascism
  • Gianluigi Di Giangirolamo, The State Funding Programme for Haute Couture in Paris – Defending and Promoting a Tradition (1952-1960)
  • Cinzia Capalbo, The Evolution of the Men’s Suit Between Sartorial Innovations and Serial Production. Italian Tailoring and the prêt à porter haut de gamme Brioni
  • Nicola Brajato, Masculinities on the Dancefloor. The Evolution of the Italian Male Identity Through Dance and Fashion at Rimini Paradiso Club

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This Notebook 2018 volume tackles certain key fashion concepts developed according to very precise disciplinary parameters such as philosophical, cultural-visual and historic perspectives which contribute to expanding the field of enquiry in multi-disciplinary terms. In particular what this volume outlines is a counterpoise perspective which, on closer analysis, marks a step towards new analysis trajectories.

Thus, Stefano Marono’s essay analyses the fashion-anti-fashion relationship where it is the dialectic method which enables the issue to be developed. In the case of the fashion-anti-fashion relationship this implies that both the former and the latter cannot be understood distinctly from one another. Using the concept of dialectic, deriving in particular from Hegel and Adorno, the essay then analyses the applicability of the Platonic model to the anti-fashion concept, as developed by Nickolas Pappas. And from this the analysis continues in the direction of connections between anti-fashion and 20th and 21st century counterculture movements and trends.

In the same way, Swantje Martach’s essay applies the founding concepts of the philosophical thought of Heidegger and Mearly-Ponti from the starting point of In-der- Welt- Sein - “being-in-the- world”- and develops this concept further by stating that a human “being-in-the-world” is a constant “being-in-clothes-in-the-world”. This kind of definition enables commonly understood experiences and human actions to be explained and new insights into them to be developed such as, for example, the reason why human beings pull down their sleeves, ripping them, when they are afraid or feel insecure.

In the meantime, real-virtual, public-private, holiday-workday are some of the key concepts which Chiara Pompa analyses in her essay from the visual-cultural studies perspective from the starting point of the photographic medium, considered to be the driving force behind a cultural process on the basis of which we undertake to display ourselves, reveal ourselves via technological apparatuses capable of supplying a frame to individual everyday lives. Lived experiences, once imprisoned in the private sphere, have lost their intimate dimension in the digital ecosystem as they are gradually swept along in the wake of the urge to share, constant exposure to the harsh light of online showcases.

The innovation triggered by the convergence between camera and mobile phone has, in fact, transformed this medium into an increasingly ‘on hand’ extension of ourselves, ready to use, produce, post-produce and share images rapidly and immediately via social networks which - if understood as tools for autobiographical narration and constant photographic self-presentation - can be transformed into individual memory repository spaces replacing the old family albums, personal narration spaces substituting old diaries and Digiself exhibition/performance spaces.

And starting, then, from a historical multidisciplinary approach based on primary archive sources developed in subsequent essays, once again from a counterpoise perspective, studies which characterise the contemporary era uniquely without neglecting the foundational impact inherent in the national fashion-international fashion relationship.

Thus, Daniela Calanca’s analysis of the visual and audio-visual documents on ‘Fashion’ (1928-1945) implemented in Archivio Storico Istituto Luce ( offers novel research opportunities relating to the fashion theme in the context of 1930s nationalism and imperialism. In particular, from a contemporary historiographical perspective, these documents - specifically the Luce film newsreels - enable us to identify and see how a system of political, economic and cultural relationships contributed to the creation and affirmation of Italian modernity in the world. And vice versa, they enable us to see how international modernity reflects in the Italian context.

Equally Gianluigi Di Giangirolamo’s essay enquires, via an analysis of the archival sources kept at the French Ministry of Finance and the French Economy’s Centre des Archives Économique et Financiers, into action designed to support Parisian haute couture after World War Two. It is specifically the couture-création assistance plan launched by the government from 1952 to 1960 which is examined, a plan co-ordinated by Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne during the period which might be considered French fashion’s first crisis. It was a system of public and private help designed and drawn up to safeguard Parisian’ couture’s creativity and safeguard its constituent and characteristic elements and, in the first place, the specialised workforce. The unique characteristics which enabled original models to be created every season, international fashion’s source of inspiration.

The analysis, then, of evolutions in Italian men’s wear, in Cinzia Capalbo’s essay, including via the study of previously unseen documentary collections, reconstructs such themes in relation to international men’s clothing fashions. In particular, on the strength of centuries of professional traditions, Italian men’s tailoring in the early decades of the 20th century began to take its first steps into the English style which dominated international men’s fashion for the whole of the 19th century.  Her in-depth study focuses on Gruppo Brioni which attempted to respond to fashion demands from consumers looking for relatively affordable prices without sacrificing high tailoring standards in the late 1950s and early 1960s and put into practice its plan for a new type of firm capable of combining artisan experience and industrial manufacturing.

Closely bound up with the men’s wear theme, as defined in relation to women’s wear, in Nicola Brajato’s essay the national and international dimension passes through the history of the Rimini Paradiso club which animated the Italian Riviera’s nightlife in the last decades of the 20th century. It is a project born of an analysis of a novel archive created by Gianni Fabbri during his career which is studied here for the first time. In addition to retracing Paradiso’s history, the purpose of this essay is to follow evolutions in Italian masculinity via fashion, demonstrating that nightclubs became an unusual space cut off from the standards of everyday life, in which male aesthetics extended outwards via auto-determination and experimentation.

Notebook 2018 download

See also

Notebook 2017
Editor Ines Tolic
Notebook 2016
Editor Roy Menarini
Notebook 2015
Editor Federica Muzzarelli
Editorial and scientific board