Italians in black
In the spectrum of dressing, Italians own the colour black. They wear black better than any race on earth. Forget the tawdry faded garb of Goths, Rockers or heavy metallers. Those pasty brigades are merely trifling with black in a washed out and cider besmirched way. The Italians are at one with blackness in its solid black glory. The starkness of black, black clothing against their Roman teak tanned skin, lit with brilliant sunlight is a perfect bit of art direction.
Belligerently wearing black in the sweltering Italian sun says, “I realise it’s extremely hot, but fuck you, I’m Italian. Can’t you see, I’m wearing black?”. Other Cuprinol hued Europeans, The Spanish, wear a bit of black too, but in a different way. Theirs is more Matador/ Flamenco instructor sort of flouncy, and they cannot help but team it with red. The Italian method is crisp and sharp and clean, using white as a foil if required.
Perhaps these origins are from their priests’ attire. Pressed, neat, disciplined, ordered and very black. It demands its respect and dignity through this reference.
Its not all Holy imagery however. Fellini’s La Dolce Vita showcased ‘black-in-the-sun’ glamour. Mastroianni and Ekberg both work leading black styling for their character's portrayal. Black is part of Italian style history, for their weddings, and for their funerals.
In their fashion shows, from the runway to the ushers, to their fashion Titans we find clipped, black smartness. Reigning fashion royalty, Armani, and Dolce&Gabbana rely on moda de la Nero for their signature looks.
Fancy a slice of the action? I counsel non-Italians to exercise caution with the black quotient. If pallid you’re risking Addams Family look-a-like costume, and at best entering Velvet Underground territory. Deployed with a sun bed tan, and you’re a provincial hairdresser who drives a Toyota MR2. Anglo Saxons get flustered and blotchy in black on black, looking like a head waiter under pressure from a coach party’s unexpected arrival at their Travel Tavern. Its might be best to let Italians get on with it.
Don’t fret, we’ll always have tweed.
PS. One cannot imagine a film show casing tweed in such a quintessentially stylish manner mind you. And if it did, what would it be called? La Dolce Sweater? Or perhaps The Good Life? Oh yes. We did actually have that, but with Richard Briars instead or Marcello Mastroianni.