The end of the year at a fashion school. Strong feelings for the life to come

Music, make-up, hairstyles and clothes the students wear, models for a day. Among them some disabled, protected, helped, involved. Moments full of meaning that cannot be translated into a simple explanation

There are images that have an irresistible symbolic power, as if they were able to show and reveal the time we live in or even that which has not yet arrived but which pushes itself from the future. I think of Marcello and Anita in the Trevi Fountain, apotheosis, yet decay in a world that seemed forever happy, or of course the city “Blade Runner”, a lot of high technology and garbage, crossings of real and amazing populations, men and replicants lost in the fumes from the Chinese stalls: we have all seen that movie and in for a moment we understood how the coming time would develop, how it would be worn. And I tried something like this a few days ago when I attended the fashion show at the end of the year at the professional fashion school where I have taught for decades, Pertini Falcone, located several places between Torre Spaccata, Torre Maura and Borghesiana, deep southeast of Rome.

It is the custom of the school to show the work done during the year to an audience of parents, relatives and friends: for several days the preparations are in full swing, there are those who take care of the music, some of it. up and hairstyles, some of the platform, and teachers and students complete the clothes that will be worn by the students, models for a day. This year, the location (now they say there is little to do) for the fashion show was not the school. Stefania, a very talented and ingenious professor, contacted Maam and the “event” took place (another expression that cannot be ignored now). But what is madam? It is the Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere by Metropoliz, and this name is already fascinating, producing beautiful expectations. In the end, it is a kind of industrial archaeological ruin, a former slaughterhouse for pigs, which for many years has been transformed into a kind of reception center for displaced persons, immigrants, families in difficulty, who have resided and live in the unlikely spaces.

The surprising thing is that this huge and dilapidated building has also become a metropolitan museum, thanks to the intuition of Giorgio De Finis, anthropologist and director who opened the doors to this place for many artists. And so were the great halls, the huge courtyards, the endless corridors of this gaping city maze filled with murals, sculptures of all kinds, suspended planets, unmanageable sculptures and mysterious works in all sorts of experimental surroundings. And so social unrest and the search for beauty, hospitality and creativity, peripheral ruins and cosmic fantasies coexist in an amazing fraternity. It seems to me that there is not much maintenance work, and everything, life and art, deteriorates confusingly, and yet it’s all fascinating, a symbiosis of painful reality and total imagination, an impossible marriage yet consecrated by those who believed in it to the last. And in this absurd and lively theater, the last parade of my school took place.

It was an exciting, unique experience that in its own way almost seemed like a prophecy. We spectators settled on the edges, under a burning and barking sky, in Maam’s courtyards and halls, and at one point the techno music started, studied by Simone, the school DJ, and as if by a miracle, one after the other, the girls from Pertini Falcone, dressed in their creations, confident or swinging in the steps of improvised models. And among them also some “disabled” girls, my school welcomes many, protects them, helps them, involves them in all initiatives. I was hugely touched, I felt a lump in my throat, nothing has touched me so strongly in recent years, neither the most award-winning literature nor the auteur cinema nor the avant-garde theater. Here we were beyond, in truth and symbol, in the present and already in the future. Moments full of emotion and a sense that can not be translated into a simple explanation: It was a vision that said a lot without speaking. Ruins, art, youth, desolation, hope, marginalization, solidarity, end and beginning, all wrapped in an image, in an inextricable knot that resembles the life that strikes, the life that becomes.

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