At the outset of his career Diego Dalla Parma was defined by the New York Times as “the prophet of Italian make-up”. When I met up with Diego Dalla Palma we were on the eve of his new Italian TV show“Come si cambia – Celebrity” and I asked him if women only really needed to change their hairdo, with carefully done make-up to match, to change their mood and the way they felt about themselves. His answer was as simple and essential as he is: “No, but it certainly helps”.
Being used to enhancing the appearance of international showbiz, cultural and political personalities, it came natural to me to set him a second question, and that is what is luxury today.
“Unfortunately things are heading in equivocal directions, luxury has become ostentation, it has been vulgarised. Only a few select people have understood that it is first and foremost an intrinsic quality. Once, people of class in the summer wore a finely cut, top quality linen garment, a panama hat and handmade shoes. Now to feel fashionable one needs a griffe that qualifies the garment or the accessory. But if the approval of a fashion designer is essential to reassure the purchaser as to the fact that it is luxury – and the same needs to be flaunted – then this is a sign of a cultural deficit, the sense of individuality is missing along the awareness of ones own sense of style. The excess of designer ornaments is mistaken for elegance, pretentiousness for distinction. True luxury is having ones own recognised and recognisable style: like Marella Agnelli, now old yet perennially refined, with the same ethnic necklace around her Modigliani like neck that is by now an integral part of her icon. I take the luxury of being coherent, of not saying other than what I think, of expressing by own truth. For me luxury is always being myself. And if someone takes it as an example, we are already heading down the right road”.