Beauty will save us
When we talk about beauty, especially in the context of fashion, we tend to relate this word to an ephemeral and superficial property. A sterile and changeable ideal that is affected by the whim of the dominant taste of social customs. But this tragedy that we are experiencing, in which a world emergency is putting most of our certainties and habits in crisis, is time for reflections and time to question our objectives, actions and conventions.
It should be remembered that the apparently futile concept of beauty has been subject of philosophical studies and research since ancient times. At the time, beauty was considered a positive reference as an expression of the highest desirable qualities. These qualities did not stop at the surface, but were placed in close connection with the very meaning of existence and with moral and civil values. It was also defined as “beautiful” what, from his contemplation and perception, could offer the observer moral and spiritual elevation towards the ultimate goal of good.
These thoughts began to flash through my mind in a disordered and confused way during the last few weeks, in which the simple act of #restareacasa (“stay at home”) became an action with a strong impact on society and in which I understood, after a first initial disorientation, that this condition of forced social distancing and isolation is destined to last for some time. But these reflections could be organized in a completed sequence only after participating electronically, together with millions of people, at Papa Francesco’s Urbi et Orbi blessing on 27th March.
During what has been called (in an absolutely correct way) “Extraordinary Moment of Prayer”, seeing the Pontiff alone in the middle of an suffocatingly empty St. Peter’s Square, under the rain, summoning the whole world to join in prayer and to indicate the path to be followed in the bewilderment caused by the pandemia, I realized in many ways that moment was extraordinary:
_the beauty of a man’s ability to reach all people hearts without distinctions of religion, origin and culture;
_the beauty of the hope that was transmitted to us;
_the beauty of a time when a multitude of people were able to share a real, touching experience, going beyond the forced physical and social distance imposed by the pandemia;
_ the beauty of the technologies that made this event possible …
“The storm unmasks our vulnerability
and leaves those false and superfluous certainties uncovered”
“The storm unmasks our vulnerability and leaves uncovered those false and superfluous certainties with which we have built our agendas, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have left asleep and abandoned what nourishes, supports and strengthens our life and our community. The storm uncovered all the intentions to “pack” and forget what nourished the soul of our peoples; all those attempts to anesthetize with apparently “saving” habits, unable to appeal to our roots and to evoke the memory of our elders, thus depriving us of the immunity necessary to face adversity. “- so the Pope from St. Peter’s Basilica reminded the world of the importance of concentrating our work towards a purpose that could give meaning to our lives.[Note 1]
The frightening and extraordinary situation in which the world was forced to press the “pause” button, out of respect for those who are called to the front line to respond to the emergency, it must be an opportunity for all of us to put this time to good use and rethink our habits and build a new future, both with small daily actions and through the expression of own profession. I say this first of all to myself but I hope I can do it together with you my dear Smart & Chic Souls..
Let’s put this time to good use:
let’s build a new future through the expression of our profession!
In fact, in the last few weeks in which I found myself spending at home in a closed environment, much more time than usual, I started to appreciate things that I took for granted before.
In the morning I started the habit of getting up early to start the day with a fitness session, before attending telematic meetings with the office. In front of my window there is a tree – a simple tree – which is located in the garden of my neighbors. Going on the exercise bike and looking out of my balcony in the meantime, day after day, I was able to see the spring coming, as I did when I was a child: the buds that start popping up, the chatter of swallows, blackbirds and doves in the branches, the wonderful cherry blossoms that have enhanced the view with the delicacy of a trail of white cotton candy.
I was able to realize how important it is to be able to retain the positive feeling of beauty and hope that the awakening of Nature can offer, in moments of inevitable daily tension and how this can be a useful topic of conversation when trying to distract (on the phone) a friend discouraged by the difficulties of the moment. I realized how many times I let irrelevant problems ruin the color of my days and how important it is to develop the ability to instead transmit as much as possible a motivating and positive thought in those around us.
High-Tech FAshion and telemedicine
The extension of smart working, [Note 2] to which I have been accustomed for some time, has brought about several consequences. In addition to the effort sometimes caused by remote communications – especially with regard to the development of graphics and product design that would need a collaboration side by side between technicians, designers and stakeholders – it offered me the opportunity to attend a greater number of virtual rooms and interact with more people that I welcome in my home studio, even if only through a screen. So I set out to try to convey greater closeness to the people I interact with during the day and to pay renewed attention to their mood and difficulties.
In dialogue with friends and colleagues we realized how what seemed to us an excessive dependence on technological tools before, in particular anxiety about the absence of Internet connection, strengthened in me the belief that technologies – if used for right purposes – are a precious resource that can help us discover new ways of relating to the world, new opportunities and often solve important problems. I’m not just talking about tools for communication, but about the whole telemedicine sector, that is the set of medical and IT techniques that allow patient care and remote health monitoring. These methodologies could reduce the hospitalization times of many patients both in times of emergency such as these, and in NON-extraordinary times to allow chronically ill patients to heal themselves by enjoying the proximity of their families, the advantages due to comparison of data on the physiological parameters of large numbers of patients detected through wearable devices, the use of intelligent fabrics capable of detecting particular characteristics of the air in which we are immersed … This is the true beauty of research in the High-Tech Fashion sector!
I realized this post to thank all those who are working to combat this situation, Papa Francesco for the Extraordinary Moment that prompted me to write this simple article, all those who are striving to comply with all the restrictive rules, those who fight their anxieties and fears daily, people with whom I have been able to dialogue in these weeks, who shared with me their thoughts and supported me and to all the Smart & Chic Souls that have always motivated my studies and enrich this blog with the their presence.
A digital hug. Maddalena
 Papa Francesco. Extraordinary Moment of Prayer in Time of Epidemic. St. Peter’s Basilica, Friday 27 March 2020.http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20200327_urbi-et-orbi-epidemia.html
 Agile or smart-working consists of a way of working by objectives, without precise temporal and spatial constraints, which allows the worker autonomy and flexibility in the choice of spaces, times and tools to be used. In the case of many professionals, smart working involves the use of tools for managing telematic meetings to keep in touch with colleagues and customers.
[foto 1 e 2] Pictures by Maddalena Mometti