By Nicola Santini - bon ton and etiquette expert, author of NON LO FACCIO PIU’
The museum dress codes. When the word “ Show” is taken too literally.
We’ve been waiting and desiring Spring like anything else in the world but it has finally arrived, bringing a whole calendar of rides outside town, trips which can’t be called vacation yet, transfers made easier by weather forecast meteoropathic proof.
Too early maybe to go to the beach, but quite in time to have a nice stroll in the cities which offer rich exhibits, vernissages, retrospectives and art installations schedules. I’m not saying “you name it” because the truth is I’m really horribly witnessing just the opposite.
The inspiration for this post has two origins: the first came from a loyal reader that received her very first invitation to a vernissage and she doesn’t know what to wear, the second came after my latest trip to New York, where I visited the Guggenheim collection surrounded by sponge socks, vests, flip-flops, multicolored hoodies tied up around the waist, exposed navels and selfie sticks. After a couple of spiral turns I already had enough. But there were Picasso, Brancusi, Dahn Vo, together with slippers, bum bags, etc..I got in to watch an exhibition and I got out because I got scared by monsters.
People know that I love contrasts, the mix and match, but I can’t stand contradictions.
Hence my point: why go and have our beauty and culture fill, if just only with our own presence we are spoiling all what we’ve been willing to queue up and spend a lot of money for? The replies I get are even more freezing than the hotels’ air conditioning in New York : you have to travel comfortably.
So what do you do with all the nice things you buy? Just post them on Instagram and then that’s it?
Enough with the drubbing, here are three quick suggestions:
1) Comfortable doesn’t mean shabby.
2) You rather travel light so you don’t feel like considering any particular look? Neutrality, linearity, classic and a cult space-saving accessory: in a total white look with stunning sun glasses or a jewel you’ll look like a new Peggy Guggenheim.
But I’m begging you, please cover yourself up, otherwise you should choose a beach cabin.
3) Male rules: there’s no place in the world where a light blue shirt, a pair of jeans and a scarf are banned. As regards to the bum bag: banned!
These are the basic rules when you informally visit a museum, where the only obligation should be not to visually annoy the exhibition itself; if we are in for a more articulated game or attend a specific event, such as an opening or a preview, it might make sense to practice the “outburst” fashion, as long as you have the right self-confidence that goes with the look you choose.
By inquiring about the subject of the exhibition, you can study chromatic or geometric visions that somehow marry the aesthetics and the message that the artist with the gallery owner want to give with the exhibited works.
Many designers are identified exactly as artists for certain choices. Lines, shades, materials, contrasts, measures: all words that art and fashion have in common and that can be declined in the same event in a pleasant contamination.
That’s how you can say that you took part to an event, contributing with your own way of being to a project that aims to elevate the aesthetic quality of our everyday life, certainly not to threaten it with real attacks to good taste.
Traveling comfortably means leaving everything you do not need at home.
Let's forget the housewife setting for once. And ... Good culture!