Laura Mendera & Oumayma El Boumeshouli

Words by Maria Pigatto

COLLIDE is raising antennas – we are opening our eyes to decoding the contemporary narration and selecting the most ingenious, cutting-edge protagonists in the Industry. Believing that all human nuances must be exalted, we aim to move the conversation forward.



Knowing and qualifying the experience of the world around us, through different perspectives and in various fields, has been the subject of human study throughout time. Being able to name the elements of the world is a fundamental process through which we can give a form to reality and, consequently, be able to experience it. Various disciplines, starting from psychology, have worked to provide an answer to this question. The Gestalt, for example, is a psychological movement that tried to identify the processes affecting the perception of reality: humans tend to attribute a certain degree of coherence to the environment around them so that they can more easily process a large number of surrounding stimuli. The learning process, according to this psychological teaching, consists of reordering all the input received, meaning structuring and linking them with notions already acquired, giving them significance. 

The aesthetic of excess is a cultural phenomenon that can be counted among the contemporary movements that are most linked to this innate process of man. ‘Gigantism’ consists of a creative process that starts from the paradigm previously in force, with which humans used to qualify reality, but gently distances itself from it. Nowadays, it is important to emphasize the rise of this phenomenon because it represents a step that will lead to a state of cultural awakening, making humans create more inclusive, interdependent and bold ways of behaving and self-expression. Within the post-pandemic context discussing the phenomenon of ‘gigantism’, it is fundamental to advance the discussion with respect to the inclusion of new morphological and identity forms: now, more than ever, we witness the affirmation of maximized shapes, volumes that claim the need to occupy the space that has been so circumscribed in the recent past. 

At Fondazione Prada in Milan, the exhibition Recycling Beauty starts from the desire to discuss how the classic should not be considered only as a legacy from the past, but above all as an element that speaks to the present and the future. In the Cisterna, there are two marble fragments, a hand and a right foot, which belong to the titanic reconstruction of the statute of Constantine that dominates the space. Belonging to the late ancient Roman age, they become a fundamental element to allow us to read the complexity of today’s culture. The staging of works that have been deliberately rebuilt in a 1:1 scale opens a window to contemplate bodies and identities to which we were already accustomed, but now being hyper-maximized with bolder and more radical volumes. 

Deep fantasy, the Autumn/Winter 2022 collection by Alan Crocetti, follows a similar path. His operation dives into people’s vivid mental experiences and recreation of realities. The campaignhas been immortalized using fictitious ears, giving each model a dysmorphic, otherworldly, yet self-inspiring appearance. Pieces carefully made of sterling silver, zirconia and freshwater pearl were conceived to represent one of the main human’s characteristics: the dislocation of one’s subjectivity and the acceptance of having multiple selves. Why are we frightened and, at the same time, morbidly attracted by morphological shapes that do not match with traditionalrepresentation? Why do we seek comfort and reassurance inside dismantling modalities of self-representation? It is exactly by starting to modify apparently innocent elements, such as ears, that the confines of our perception and aesthetic parameters subtly get challenged.

The Spring and Fall 2022 couture shows by Viktor & Rolf seem to enlighten this belief as well. The Spring collection was inspired by a mix between a shoulder line that they developed almost 30 years ago and the style of the iconic representation of Dracula as imagined by Old Hollywood.Stating that Dracula is a powerful symbol of the fear of change in society, they referred once again to the same imagery in the Fall show by using high collars that seemed to rise above the model’s shoulders. Dracula’s morphological shapes are directly linked to hidden fears of people regarding the confines of what, by contrast, is considered acceptable, decorous and morally good in the modern era; yet, his figure has subtly and very often inhabited the mainstream imagery over the centuries, being lauded and emulated. 

The use of maximized or slightly dysmorphic forms allows us to understand how present the need to represent tradition is and at the same time, in a subtle way, how to also dismantle it. These themes allow us to become aware that inside human creativity there is always a process of prolific redefinition.

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