1976, New York 59th Street: I wish I was there too, at the opening of the new store by Elio Fiorucci, designed by Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi and Franco Marabelli. A modern temple of fashion and art; landmark of New York intellectual community and Andy Warhol’s favorite place. It was one of the many achievements of the art of Elio Fiorucci, master of newness. I met him on a sunny June afternoon. I was on the front door and I was closing a love call, when suddenly he appeared to me and, with a gentle smile told me he would have waited for me in his office. He threw me a kiss. “You know – he added, once in his studio – I greet everybody this way. To be kind to others can only give a serene start to the day. It’s nice. And I love to make others happy”. He asks me to tell him something about me while my eyes wander into his office, a colorful and magical amusement park.

Q: How were the famous Fiorucci brands born, the Angels and the Love Therapy?
A: “Things come from a chance that, usually, is very interesting. I was born in a house of atheists. My parents told me that we humans are sons of a cosmic mystery, we all are born from a seed and, like humans, even animals and plants; the seed of the elephant as well as the seed of the fly. I have always wondered about this mystery. And I was told that religions are a way that people use to give themselves answers. In Italy there are Catholics, Protestants in Germany, Hindus in India, and so on. Then I gave myself a personal answer to the existential questions. We are all animals, we live and reproduce ourselves like animals, but we presume to be wise animals, when in fact we are only vain and cunning, and in addition we say we are God’s beloved children. But if man is a thinker, then he asks questions to himself. The two Angels, reworked by Italo Lupi, were born this way: I wanted to explain to people that at the origin of my store, there was a kind of spirituality. I wanted to create a close relationship with people, a constant contact and demonstrate that I love people.

Love therapy by Elio Fiorucci

I wanted to do some good deed starting from my little gesture. I wanted to help people to put an end to fear, to look at the sky without fear of the world. As a slogan: “The end of fear, the beginning of love and life.” In fact the Angels give a new sense of hope. With the Angels, I addressed my invitation to the people to be more kind. The second and fundamental symbol concerns the Love Therapy. This is also an invitation to be kind and loving, because we all need kindness and love. This is therapy! The Love Therapy was a lucky brand because it has always been read in a positive way. You have to do only good things and you have to give hope! The good spreads as evil and fear do. THE END OF FEAR is THE BEGINNING OF LIFE: I wish this was my cry and it arrived at all people! The dwarf, which represents the Love Therapy, has round eyes, which are symbol of goodness; it is the child’s hopeful eye who looks at the world. He is neither man nor woman. He is just tender. He is a beauty neither masculine nor feminine, but he is the beauty of birth.

 

Elio Fiorucci & Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi

Q: How would you recap your relationship with art?
A: “I love and admire art and I think I’ve done my part. I will tell you an anecdote about my friendship with Andy Warhol. After a few days after the opening in New York, Andy Warhol entered the store and in his memoirs he noted: “Gone to Fiorucci, it’s a fun place. That’s all I ever wanted, all plastic … “. Thus our friendship was born. Then he chose the shop window for the launch of his revolutionary magazine “Interview” [editor’s note: Interview was created by Andy Warhol, John Wilcock and Gerard Malanga in 1969]. I asked him why Fiorucci, and he told me that for him it was a pleasant and good place in which to break free from the surrounding world; according to him it could not happen anything wrong once you were in the store! One day he invited me to the Factory. He used to sit at the table and put a tape recorder in the middle, then he got up and walked away.
He didn’t talk much; what really interested him was to listen to what others were saying during his absence. He was a simple and kind man, a genius! That time, I was eager to take action, but since my English was poor, I said, “How come your paintings seem to me so beautiful?”. He said he used neon colors and was inspired to contemporary, to reality, to the contemporary mythology. I couldn’t add more at that time. On a second occasion, I confided that I also liked the city, modernity, neon colors, but I was happier when I was in the countryside with my aunt. His answer arrived soon. So when he invited me to his house (above the Factory) showed me his collection of nineteenth-century English paintings with animals, landscapes … And finally he took me in front of painting with a goat, surely mindful of my countryside and my aunt’s goats. It was as if he was saying, “I am not only that of Pop Art, I am a man too!” Mary Pole, the friend who had introduced me to Andy Warhol, was convinced that he was more impressed by me than I by him!”

Q: Barbara Hulanicki and her shop inspired you. Women like Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Maripol, Miuccia Prada were great revolutionaries in fashion. And then the uncovering of the female body, the nude as simple and pure beauty, the miniskirts brought to Milan … Fiorucci and the women?
A: “I was born without fear. For me, the female body is the representation of the beauty of the world. When I started to campaign with topless girls, many were scandalized. I decided to risk and take the luxury of doing this. My freedom was gentle and not vulgar! The dress is hypocrisy, God has made us naked. While in the years of obscurantism they dressed the holy figures, during the Renaissance women and men were portrayed naked. I have introduced the miniskirt and shorts, and I’m proud of it! It was a liberating phenomenon! Earlier we lost the happiness of being able to see the woman, and I wondered why we had to continue to hide her and why was necessary to try to ignore her. If artists had treated women and their body as icons of happiness, why should we have had to hide her?

Q: Which is – in your opinion – today a country, a people, a culture that you believe should be “keeping an eye on” as a source of creativity?
A: “I have known most South America and the East. For me Bangkok is fascinating. I like places where people do not attack, are serene and sometimes helpless too. For example, in Thailand, while you are walking in the street you get the urge to defend the people you meet and by whom you remain enchanted! All countries in South America are fascinating. Especially the tribes who live there and that are far away from civilization. They represent a pure celebration of beauty. ”

Q: You say that the “desire for freedom is the engine of the great revolutions” and you have repeatedly advised young people to do what one is talented for, what the instinct suggests. One needs to be free. But today, between the false freedom or anesthetization of the civil, political and expressive sense and the need of true freedom, how we young people should move?
A: “From the example of the great Andy Warhol, from the example of nature, the world and life around us, I shall tell you that the secret lies in the simplicity. Simplicity is stronger than anything! This is an important message for young people too. ”

I met Fiorucci on a sunny June afternoon. I was on the entrance door and I was closing a love phone call, when suddenly he appeared to me with his honest and curious eyes and the watchful glance of a great man who has always remained a child. “I have asked you to tell me something about you and now tell me – he smiles – where have you been so far?”. “In a distant but parallel world”, this is my answer and I know he understood me very well …

Elio Fiorucci & Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi

Special thank to Elio Fiorucci

AMOlinks:
http://www.lovetherapy.it