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It is a time of elegance, intelligence and gentleness for fashion and businesses, but also for good politics

“I love the elegance that derives from intelligence,” says Giorgio Armani, in a long interview published to mark his ninetieth birthday in “U”, the new monthly magazine of “la Repubblica”. To be even more precise, he also says he loves “subtle things, discretion” and “sobriety, which is always a winning quality”.

The relationship between elegance and intelligence must be considered carefully, especially in rough times such as the ones we are living in. And the world of fashion, if it wants to be truly consistent with its commitments to sustainability (which is environmental, but also social, against waste, the excesses of luxury, the neglect of safety and quality of work in manufacturing) can be an effective channel for stimulating moral values, the best relationships between aesthetics and ethics (after all, these two philosophical spheres are closely related), the need to choose quality in relationships between people, but also between powers, political classes, countries, to seek “intelligent” ways of escaping from the increasingly radical conflicts that are shaking the world and from the violent and vulgar behaviours that humiliate civil coexistence, politics, institutions.

There is another word on everyone’s lips, in these days dedicated to fashion, between the Fashion Week shows in Milan and the events at Palazzo Pitti in Florence. And it is ‘gentleness’ or ‘kindness’.

“I make gentle luxury,” says Brunello Cucinelli, who has long been enthusiastic about philosophy (with meetings and lessons in the medieval village of Solomeo in Umbria, where ‘the dream of humanistic capitalism’ is nurtured). And he talks about making clothes for “a refined and sensitive man”.

Pierre-Louis Mascia is also passionate about “gentle fashion”, for the “Le Cavalier Bleu” collection inspired by an artistic movement of German expressionism of the early twentieth century.

And so where elegance, intelligence, gentleness, and humanism are the key values. Is fashion a channel of rebirth, of balanced development, even of civil economy? It is, in any case, an original journey “from heart to hands”, from creative passion to good craftsmanship, to reiterate the effective title of the Dolce and Gabbana exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan.

But we shouldn’t expect too much, of course, from a sector in which fashion and elegance do not always coincide and which still has its strict logic, the harshness and sharp angularity of a tight global competition (on which, right now, Giancarlo De Cataldo is writing sapid and sarcastic pages in the latest best seller for Einaudi, “Il bacio del calabrone”, a new case for the aristocratic magistrate Manrico Spinori). But in any case, the fashion world acts as a forerunner and then as an amplifier of signals that indicate a social need, a new cultural dimension, a Zeitgeist to be taken into careful consideration.

The praise of intelligence and gentleness is a thin but robust thread that also animates other worlds. We talk about gentle leadership in companies, as hierarchical cultures give way to more horizontal management dimensions, clearly marking the substantial difference between authoritarianism and authority. We write about the primacy of soft power even in politics (with good peace of mind of those who are charmed by the “single man in charge”). As an anticipation of new and more civilized times, an advertising slogan that has been very successful since its launch in 1994, “Power is nothing without control”, with an amazing Carl Lewis, Olympic champion in red heels, photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Pirelli (it is written about in the pages of “L’officina dello sport”, edited by the Pirelli Foundation and just published by Marsilio: there is an essential relationship between power/power and control not only in sports competitions, but also in the economy and politics).

In this line of reasoning, we are wisely inspired by the chapters of Italo Calvino’s ‘Lezioni americane‘, from the considerations on ‘lightness‘ (‘Take life lightly, which is not superficiality, but gliding over things from above, not having boulders in your heart’) to those on ‘accuracy’ and ‘multiplicity’.

The need to build “a safer, more civilized” and, in fact, “gentle” world is spoken of in the “Assisi Manifesto”, a document “for an economy on a human scale” prepared in 2021 by the Franciscans of the Sacred Convent and by Symbola and signed by personalities from the economic and cultural worlds, universities, businesses and a long series of civil society associations.

And ‘kindness’ is a key word in Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti: “Kindness frees us from the cruelty that at times infects human relationships, from the anxiety that prevents us from thinking of others, from the frantic flurry of activity that forgets that others also have a right to be happy”.

Kindness as the key to the commitment to ‘take charge’ of others. Kindness as a state of mind that leads to relaxation. And prepares the soul for wisdom.

That precise kind of wisdom that the Pope recalled in recent days to the world leaders gathered at the G7 in Puglia, urging them to do ‘healthy politics’, and exercise the ability to decide with ‘the phronesis of Greek philosophy’. He spoke, on this subject, of responsibility for a ‘human’ use of Artificial Intelligence”. But above all, his words paved the way for more general considerations, on sustainable and balanced development, on sensitivity to suffering, on the need to ensure a better future for the new generations.

Of course this is easy to say. But doing it? Anything but easy. But necessary.

On the other hand, “ease is a form of perfection that contains the substance of a long toil”. The words of Paolo Conte, exemplary artist. A ‘master in the soul’. A smart person. Elegant. And kind.

(photo Getty Images)

“I love the elegance that derives from intelligence,” says Giorgio Armani, in a long interview published to mark his ninetieth birthday in “U”, the new monthly magazine of “la Repubblica”. To be even more precise, he also says he loves “subtle things, discretion” and “sobriety, which is always a winning quality”.

The relationship between elegance and intelligence must be considered carefully, especially in rough times such as the ones we are living in. And the world of fashion, if it wants to be truly consistent with its commitments to sustainability (which is environmental, but also social, against waste, the excesses of luxury, the neglect of safety and quality of work in manufacturing) can be an effective channel for stimulating moral values, the best relationships between aesthetics and ethics (after all, these two philosophical spheres are closely related), the need to choose quality in relationships between people, but also between powers, political classes, countries, to seek “intelligent” ways of escaping from the increasingly radical conflicts that are shaking the world and from the violent and vulgar behaviours that humiliate civil coexistence, politics, institutions.

There is another word on everyone’s lips, in these days dedicated to fashion, between the Fashion Week shows in Milan and the events at Palazzo Pitti in Florence. And it is ‘gentleness’ or ‘kindness’.

“I make gentle luxury,” says Brunello Cucinelli, who has long been enthusiastic about philosophy (with meetings and lessons in the medieval village of Solomeo in Umbria, where ‘the dream of humanistic capitalism’ is nurtured). And he talks about making clothes for “a refined and sensitive man”.

Pierre-Louis Mascia is also passionate about “gentle fashion”, for the “Le Cavalier Bleu” collection inspired by an artistic movement of German expressionism of the early twentieth century.

And so where elegance, intelligence, gentleness, and humanism are the key values. Is fashion a channel of rebirth, of balanced development, even of civil economy? It is, in any case, an original journey “from heart to hands”, from creative passion to good craftsmanship, to reiterate the effective title of the Dolce and Gabbana exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan.

But we shouldn’t expect too much, of course, from a sector in which fashion and elegance do not always coincide and which still has its strict logic, the harshness and sharp angularity of a tight global competition (on which, right now, Giancarlo De Cataldo is writing sapid and sarcastic pages in the latest best seller for Einaudi, “Il bacio del calabrone”, a new case for the aristocratic magistrate Manrico Spinori). But in any case, the fashion world acts as a forerunner and then as an amplifier of signals that indicate a social need, a new cultural dimension, a Zeitgeist to be taken into careful consideration.

The praise of intelligence and gentleness is a thin but robust thread that also animates other worlds. We talk about gentle leadership in companies, as hierarchical cultures give way to more horizontal management dimensions, clearly marking the substantial difference between authoritarianism and authority. We write about the primacy of soft power even in politics (with good peace of mind of those who are charmed by the “single man in charge”). As an anticipation of new and more civilized times, an advertising slogan that has been very successful since its launch in 1994, “Power is nothing without control”, with an amazing Carl Lewis, Olympic champion in red heels, photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Pirelli (it is written about in the pages of “L’officina dello sport”, edited by the Pirelli Foundation and just published by Marsilio: there is an essential relationship between power/power and control not only in sports competitions, but also in the economy and politics).

In this line of reasoning, we are wisely inspired by the chapters of Italo Calvino’s ‘Lezioni americane‘, from the considerations on ‘lightness‘ (‘Take life lightly, which is not superficiality, but gliding over things from above, not having boulders in your heart’) to those on ‘accuracy’ and ‘multiplicity’.

The need to build “a safer, more civilized” and, in fact, “gentle” world is spoken of in the “Assisi Manifesto”, a document “for an economy on a human scale” prepared in 2021 by the Franciscans of the Sacred Convent and by Symbola and signed by personalities from the economic and cultural worlds, universities, businesses and a long series of civil society associations.

And ‘kindness’ is a key word in Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti: “Kindness frees us from the cruelty that at times infects human relationships, from the anxiety that prevents us from thinking of others, from the frantic flurry of activity that forgets that others also have a right to be happy”.

Kindness as the key to the commitment to ‘take charge’ of others. Kindness as a state of mind that leads to relaxation. And prepares the soul for wisdom.

That precise kind of wisdom that the Pope recalled in recent days to the world leaders gathered at the G7 in Puglia, urging them to do ‘healthy politics’, and exercise the ability to decide with ‘the phronesis of Greek philosophy’. He spoke, on this subject, of responsibility for a ‘human’ use of Artificial Intelligence”. But above all, his words paved the way for more general considerations, on sustainable and balanced development, on sensitivity to suffering, on the need to ensure a better future for the new generations.

Of course this is easy to say. But doing it? Anything but easy. But necessary.

On the other hand, “ease is a form of perfection that contains the substance of a long toil”. The words of Paolo Conte, exemplary artist. A ‘master in the soul’. A smart person. Elegant. And kind.

(photo Getty Images)