"BABYLON"
2022 — now
EDITOR LETTER

Insolentia Luxus

"To achieve harmony in bad taste, this is the height of elegance." Jean Genet

As always, the wind of the new blows from Asia. We could say that it all started with those blonde hues, later copied in pink and green and turquoise by the rest of the planet, accompanying oriental faces, in a chromatic metamorphosis applied for now only to hair.
It seems to be a sign of prosperity, the classic status symbol, here declined in a high-maintenance statement. For those colours that are off course, many steps at the hairdresser's are necessary, from total bleaching to re-tinting, not to mention its maintenance.

A coming and going of hairdressers that can be read as: 'I have a lot of time and a lot of money'. Hair aside, in this trend that could only be called Babylon, to echo the legendary chaos of legendary Babylon, there is much more to the transformation. As always, trends do not travel through the air alone, so next to the golds and glories of those who after pandemonium and reclusion have thrown themselves into neo-Versailles to be worn to celebrate the earthy and proper Renaissance, there are the many who have opted for the darker version of the post-pigiama and tracksuit revolution.

From hair to make-up, from dressing to matching, from deforming to finding ourselves in other formats, what has been no longer interests us and perhaps not even what will be. We are immersed, almost drowned, in a vertigo of excess, in which only the now and here counts.
An absolutely everyday moment to be lived at the limits, at the boundaries of the very idea of beauty. There is a desire for knowledge that tends towards distortion, towards diversity experienced without end and without respite.

Let now return, precisely, to the legend of the Tower of Babel, to that challenging ascent of terraces by which man aspired to reach the highest heaven. Only to plummet again along with the tongues of that tower-shaped city called Babel, because it was there that the language of the whole earth was confused.

In this imagery, certain risks are too interesting to resist. One dares and one climbs. They went up the night first, the models braving stairs and spires and darkness, in the SS21 Saint Laurent video, with a decidedly fascinating effect. Now it's 2024 and still there are the gold-coloured horns applied to Thom Browne's uniforms and boarding school stripes. There's the monster of the woods with a metal mask in the Alexander McQueen last advert and there are still so many bulges and deviations from the body shape. Starting with the increasingly huge boots, those of Rick Owens know how to defy the dynamics of the human stride.
But being or looking human is not desire. We do not spend or buy for this trivial reason.
We seek truth in the distortion and exaggeration of every idea, in the shape of things, re-passing through the aesthetics of a house, a dress, a face.
Everything must change, and not to do so, that is to be afraid of transformation, is like being afraid of death. The new world must advance and cannot be a continuation of the old. The old - read the normal - must disappear and the underlying must come into being.

As if one wants to go shopping in hell.
In reality, every excess corresponds to a part of us. We have all had the idea of one day becoming exactly what we could never be.

How we live the dream of radical change is up to each of us. We can feel it as a death or we can feel it as a second chance at life.

In this case, it is understandable that for many, getting to the top, showing off unimaginable shapes that disguise us quite a bit overlooking the last Babylon Terrace, can mean Being again.

But beware, from the most violent exaggerations, if left to their own devices, a neo-mediocrity can be born. That new being could simply and differently perpetuate a missed opportunity: that of finally not being fashion victims. To drag us instead, still three years later, into the loudest Babel of the last decades.
But if the more one changes, the more it is the same, the very fact of being in this post-Mesopotamia hell-raising, as in any mass movement, may correspond to being, quite simply, again, badly stuck.

To achieve radical change one must have the courage to invent the future, rather than to buy it. Bad taste presented in the form of maximum complication forges millionaires, who have missed the fact that all great changes are simple. Locked behind the gothic light of long, narrow windows, confused by clothes that swell certain parts of the body until they burst, running on a treadmill in a ball-suit that inflates in the least aerodynamic way ever seen, is a declaration more of having lost the sense of it all than of revolution. The face, then. The more deformed the better, the make-up never seems to be worth enough, so it is dark circles and bloodshot eyes, but above all the bumps that give us the new dimension, accompanied by the lack of light from equally risky jewellery. Fabricating a smile with 'grated' teeth, relying on its protection, placing something between the world and the self, camouflaging wounds. Learning, in short, to use the mask. As is indeed the case in a world where everyone speaks and posts images with such speed and irreverence that it seems like the search for another language, which no one else can understand. The advantage of being heard for what we do or how we present ourselves is not the same thing as being understood. ... We don't talk to each other anymore, but peek at each other relentlessly via digital means, in a crossroads of images that would confound all kinds of faith.

To open the door that contains the meaning and the secret of this ascent into dark-tinged excess, one could retrieve The Key of Solomon. The book of black magic, apparently written in 1522, a medieval grimoire, a volume of spells containing practical information on how to summon 72 underworld spirits.
A generous number of beasts of the abyss, from which to ask for help in procuring treasures. And if at this moment the important thing is to ascend, to dare and cross all limits.
Whether we like these treasures, assuming we find them, does not seem so important.

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