Futurist Manifesto of Women's Fashion.
by Volt (Vincenzo Fani).
Women's fashion has always been more or less Futurist. Fashion: the female equivalent of Futurism. Speed, novelty, courage of creation. Greenish yellow bile of professors against Futurism, old bags against style. For the moment, they can rejoice! Fashion is going through a period of stagnation and boredom. Mediocrity and wretchedness weave grey spider webs upon the colored flower beds of fashion and art.
Current styles (the blouse and chemise) try in vain to hide their basic poverty of conception under the false labels of distinction and sobriety. There is a complete lack of originality, a withering of fantasy. The imagination of the artist is relegated to details and nuances. The sickening litany of "saintly simplicity" and "divine symmetry" and so-called good taste. Silly dreams of exhuming the past: "Let's revive the classics." Exhaustion, mollification, feeble-mindedness.
We Futurists intend to react against this state of things with extreme brutality. We don't need to start a revolution. It's enough to multiply a hundredfold the dynamic virtues of fashion, unleashing the bridles that hinder them from surging forth, leaping over the vertiginous jaws of the Absurd.
One must absolutely claim the dictatorship of artistic ingenuity in female fashion against the parliamentary meddling of foolhardy speculation and the routine. A great poet or painter must take over the directorship of all the great women's fashion houses. Fashion is an art, like architecture and music. A dress that is ingeniously conceived and carried well has the same value as a fresco by Michelangelo or a Titian Madonna.
The Futurist woman must have the same courage in donning the new styles of clothing as we did in declaiming our words-in-freedom against the asinine rebelliousness of Italian and foreign audiences. Woman's fashion can never be extravagant enough. And here too we will begin by abolishing symmetry. We will fashion zigzag decolletes, sleeves that differ from one another, shoes of varying shapes, colors, and heights. We will create illusionistic, sarcastic, sonorous, loud, deadly, and explosive attire: gowns that trigger surprises and transformations, outfitted with springs, stingers, camera lenses, electric currents, reflectors, perfumed sprays, fireworks, chemical preparations, and thousands of gadgets fit to play the most wicked tricks and disconcerting pranks on maladroit suitors and sentimental fools. In woman we can idealize the most fascinating conquests of modern life. And so we will have the machine-gun woman, the thanks-de-Somme woman (sic), the radio-telegraph antenna woman, the airplane woman, the submarine woman, the motorboat woman. We will transform the elegant lady into a real, living three-dimensional complex. There is no need to fear that in so doing the female silhouette will loose its capricious and provocative grace. The new forms will not hide but accentuate, develop, and exaggerate the gulfs and promontories of the female peninsula. Art exaggeration. Upon the feminine profile we will graft the most aggressive lines and garish colors of our Futurist pictures. We will exalt the female flesh in a frenzy of spirals and triangles. We will succeed in sculpting the astral body of woman with the chisel of an exasperated geometry!
The new fashions will be affordable for all the beautiful women, who are legion in Italy. The relative cost of precious material makes a garb expensive, not the form or the color, which we will offer, free, to all Italians. After three years of war and shortages of raw material, it is ridiculous to continue manufacturing leather shoes and silk gowns. The reign of silk in the history of female fashion must come to and end, just as the reign of marble is now finished in architectural constructions. One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes. We fling open wide the doors of the fashion ateliers to paper, cardboard, glass, tinfoil, aluminum, ceramic, rubber, fish skin, burlap, oakum, hemp, gas, growing plants, and living animals.
Every woman will be a walking synthesis of the universe.
You have the high honor of being loved by us, sapper-soldiers at the avant-garde of an army of lightning.
First published in Roma Futurista, 1920. Translated by Emily Braun, Hunter College.