If you are reading these words, you are probably among those for whom there is more to life beyond the useful, and even the necessary, two horrible concepts that corrupt our society and tend to pull it downwards.
You may have noticed that mainstream thoughts – and matching television and radio media coverage – use and abuse of these words which invariably draw our attention on the practical and pragmatic aspects of life. It seems as though they have, a long time ago, put the nail in the coffin of any conceptual thought, even of any philosophical or aesthetic transcendence.
In other words, we are in an era preoccupied with MATERIAL and USEFULNESS concerns, where any deviation is severely reprehended in many radio and TV programs. Just for kicks, try to count, in any public debate, the number of times a host will ask: “Yes but concretely, what does that mean?” or, even worse “Those are wonderful ideas, but how does that translate in real life? As you know, people today demand material and concrete results”.
Albeit seemingly anecdotal, I view such observations otherwise, as revealing a deep erosion of our Western societies whereby our contemporaries forget that life cannot be boiled down to a sum of constraints but can and should leave room to activities – not necessarily leisure – whose value is precisely held in their utmost uselessness.
Let us use our favourite subject, men’s elegance, as an example.
How many times have you heard or even spoken these words: “How much is this suit?” rather than the probably more accurate for lovers of fine craftsmanship and beautiful things: “How much is this suit WORTH?”
Here again, the difference may appear minute. Yet, the gap between cost and worth is nothing short of abysmal: one side infers a rather negatively viewed constraint (cost draws on the concept of effort), as the other seeks to find the VALUE of an object or service.
Gentlemen, our love for beautiful objects in general and of beautiful clothes in particular should inspire us to pledge today, with a hand on our heart, to never again use this horrible word of “cost” to refer to the informed purchase of our next suit or pair of shoes…
We, lovers of elegance and advocates of a lifestyle in which elegance is not relegated to the mundane, know for instance the sum of skill and work it takes to make a beautiful suit following the rules of sartorial art, or to make a beautiful pair of good year assembled shoes with round edges.
These gestures and ancestral techniques, these unique skills have genuine WORTH in the mediocre and mechanical world in which we live today. It is those values that PG has decided to defend without compromise.
If you need further convincing, pay a visit to a bespoke workshop (Cifonelli, Camps de Lucca, Attolini for suits, Charvet or Lucca for shirts, or Corthay, Gomez, Delos or Bestetti for footwear). You will immediately understand what I mean by WORTH when you see these noble artisans working tirelessly for our elegance and pleasure.
Take the time to understand and admire these extremely complex gestures: embroidering a gimp (the so-called Milanese buttonhole), hand-assembling a damp shoulder with a hot iron, or the extremely physically taxing gestures of a bespoke boot-maker sitting at his workbench and sweating over his art…
Needless to say, bespoke (textile or shoe) addicts know better than anyone the hundreds of hours of work concealed behind a bespoke suit or a pair of bespoke shoes.
Nevertheless, the idea of WORTH also applies to other labels that remain uncompromising on the quality of their ready-to-wear products (Arnys, Guyot) and go through the effort of finding the best workshops capable of providing the best possible quality to their demanding patrons.
Gentlemen, we are becoming increasingly educated on these subjects, and this trend seems nowhere near the point of slowing down.
Hence, let us respect the artisans who make, in our country, wonderful pieces and let us pay more attention to no longer use a horrible verb that never does justice to their skills.
For a manager wearing a thermo fused suit out of obligation indeed “costs” 200 euros.
For an aesthete fond of beautiful clothes, non-fused shirt collars and good year assembled shoes have a genuine worth of 1,000 euros.
Next time you set foot in a workshop or in a high quality store, make the conscious effort of asking “How much is this WORTH?”. You will see faces around you change radically…