By Marino Bombini
Those who are familiar with the going of the world, are undoubtly aware of its periods of darkness and light, following a cyclic path like the myth of Persephone. No strange then fashion walks that path too, with see-saw forecasts, boring and jubilant. Fortunately there are some whose clinically enthusiast view on things turns the light on when needed: Mimma Viglezio. When you are with her «turning the light on» is not just a metaphor, because her white oufits and brilliant eyes literally dazzle your surroundings. A regular guest at ShowStudio panels (and a host herself for Head To Head show on the same platform) as a fashion consultant, it is quite hard to find a precise name for what Madame Viglezio actually is, for her multifaceted career at the highest tips of luxury groups branches won’t speak enough.
That’s why she’s the perfect connoisseuse for a conversation on fashion-all, during a bright morning of this SS16 Milan Fashion Week. It’s a while since fashion weeks are getting controversial. «Oh, they are Fun-Da-Men-Tal», she candidly smiles and says. With insiders and experts spending time in whining and moaning whether is better to be or not to be, she’s pretty sure about that. «Philosphical speculations about fashion are unquestionable, so is market. Otherwise, what use is this all?»
MB: Yes, but there’s a common feeling in which creativity is the good lad, and market is the bad one.
MV: To put things this way is getting both wrong. Fashion world is not perfect, needless to say. I see paradoxes everywhere, but fashion shows, fashion weeks (fashion – let’s say – noise including) are definitely functional to the brand development. Let’s take what Tisci did and is still marvelously doing for Givenchy. This last show moved to New York, on that special date. It’s a brand awareness strategy. But fashion weeks works also for new designers to even – who knows – find a chance. It is pointless to avoid the market! Look, I don’t think I’m saying something very original, but if you don’t have the money, you won’t go anywhere, there’s no getting around it. There are many – you can’t even imagine how many – young brilliant designers whose career (for unresolved ego issues or for missed chances) never took off.
MB: So it’s all about the money.
MV: It’s not all about the money, it’s also about the money. That’s why there’s no better place than a fashion event, where to merge chances altogether.
MB: What about creativity then? If a designer has to worry about the market don’t you think creativity could be affected?
MV: Creativity is an inexhaustible spring, it’s not a full barrel that’s getting empty. Creative designers are not afraid of running out of ideas. Market doesn’t affect creativity, and creativity (the real one) has always a solution for the market. Market leads only brands with nothing to say. That makes you think market has the power. It’s creativity actually the key. But if you ask me how many designers fit this perpetual inventiveness, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear the question, as we don’t have a large number.
MB: Just Haute Couture designers?
MV: This means you think Haute Couture is pure ingenuity and imagination, she smirks.
MB: Ok, message got. Let’s get back to shows. If it’s true they are instrumental (more than commonly perceived) for the brand don’t you think they are too many and that could be deleterious?
MV: It’s true, the number of collections we are seeing are almost insane, but I still consider just the official RTW ones, twice a year, which I won’t divide in SS and FW any longer.
MB: Is this the recipe for a future successful brand?
MV: I don’t have any recipe, neither I can say what future will be for brands, or for fashion in general. But I know what can be done in the present. To inform customers, to tell them what they are buying and why. To tell the whole story behind a garment, a collection. Fashion must involve the customer. I really love these social media interactions with fashion. Maybe it will be a long process, but I’m glad it started, and mostly that it’s growing.
MB: Quite optimistic…
MV: I am optimistic. Of course, as I said, it will be a long and winding road before, but also the right one.
portrait photo by Ed Reeve