Epoca Fiorucci: an exhibition in Venice.


As Gillo Dorfles said, Elio Fiorucci was a special human case, similar to that of Duchamp who stares at things in a completely different way; everyone of us has a friend who, in a endless thrift shop, can find worthy pieces that you would never have considered.

During a great period from the 70s to the 90s that friend was Elio Fiorucci, the famous Milanese fashion designer who died in 2015. He was not mentioned only as a fashion designer but more generally as a great art curator and creator of lifestyles of his time thanks to his eclectic passions for all artistic fields that moved him around innovative architects of the time such as Mendini, Sottsass and thanks to his emotional complicity and cultural involvement with the artists who mostly affected the worldly artistic scene like Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. 


The Fiorucci brand became a way of doing things, a very colorful and free way of living life, walking by the streets forcing people to turn around to look at you. He was not only a pioneer in Italian fashion but at the same time he was an international representative of the revolutionary changes of the period: from a black and white view to a period of glow colors in which it seemed people could do everything. Some critics said that Elio Fiorucci destroyed the Italian fashion but actually he set it free. As he have simply created the objects he had in mind, starting from the family atelier (as every noteworthy Italian stylist did) he played the game of intercepting the people’s tastes.

And at this point the change started: the American blue jeans became the colorful Fiorucci jeans, a high-waisted jeans which emphasize the female silhouette, the wedge sandal called “zatteroni”, the jeans skirts and the glow bikinis, all objects that change your presence in the world. The new jeans’ shape, photographed by the famous Oliviero Toscano was the first fashion experiment inspired of the person’s shape and no more belonging to its task.

The new “sexuality of jeans” belonged to the exaltation of the female bottom, representing a liberation. Before this, women and girls couldn’t go to school with pants, and now this sexual struggle against conventions and hypocrisy sent a message of liberation to all women, the message that well incorporates the spirit of the time when Hippies and every-day rebels started to spread slogans as “make love not war”, as sexual liberation struggles from the authority of institutions.

In a meta-political act, Fiorucci said that the body is not guilty of anything and it has the right to be showed. And why not being showed with his jeans and accessories. 

Fiorucci’s best pieces, the jeans and the T-shirt, are the most basic clothes a person could have in the wardrobe. But these basic elements, though Fiorucci touch, became fashionable and still elements of our contemporaneity. We are still following the long-term project of Fiorucci’s fashion. But how he won the taste of everyone?

As Luisa Valerinani argued, the winning route Fiorucci has taken to escape the conservative, anti-consumistic italian and mostly american universe of the time, was the route of the image. He promoted the pop culture with his deep consumerism within a young target, the comic’s image, the Hollywood dream, the girls of Alberto Vargas, so all the hints of a fidelity program for a world that could propose all the other ways round.

What he had created was actually a disruption that wasn’t realized in the offer of various unconventional objects that you could buy, instead it was about the way in which you could desire them and live them. The enjoyment precedes the purchase and the consume, so that’s why Elio Fiorucci’s interest was not in the purchase but in the ways people feel in one of his stores.

Inside them you could eat, stay for a tea, leave all your existential problems outside and be part of the “plastic atmosphere” in there. This kind of feeling and belonging is perfectly replicated in the mentioned exhibition. Thanks to the affordable prices and the every-day objects, the consumer from an undifferentiated person becomes a subjective protagonist in the social sphere. 

The secret weapon was having bet on the image with an artistic sensibility. Now the image becomes a living entity that has his own place to be as a symbolic value. The graphic office was the place where everything became possible thanks to Augusto Vignali, Sauro Mainardi, Carlo Pignagnoli, Guglielmo Pelizzoni, the graphic designers who have made physical and vital the image of the desire.

From the letters of invitation to the bags with which you left the shop, they have created a way of experience the excess, up to almost plagiarism that formed a fun-army called “Fioruccini”. At the center of the creative process there was the Elio Fiorucci’s personal creativity and around the past as an energetic map from which the creators got images, according to the way Aby Warburg has proposed in his immense work called “Mnemosyne” (1929).

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