Giacomo Balla: Futurist Manifesto of Men’s Clothing

WE MUST INVENT FUTURIST CLOTHES, hap-hap-hap-hap-happy clothes, daring clothes with brilliant colours and dynamic lines. They must be simple, and above all they must be made to last for a short time only in order to encourage industrial activity and to provide constant and novel enjoyment for our bodies. USE materials with forceful MUSCULAR colours – the reddest of reds, the most purple of purples, the greenest of greens, intense yellows, orange, vermilion – and SKELETON tones of white, grey and black. And we must invent dynamic designs to go with them and express them in equally dynamic shapes: triangles, cones, spirals, ellipses, circles, etc. The cut must incorporate dynamic and asymmetrical lines, with the left-hand sleeve and left side of a jacket in circles and the right in squares. And the same for waistcoats, stockings, topcoats, etc. The consequent merry dazzle produced by our clothes in the noisy streets, which we shall have transformed with our FUTURIST architecture, will mean that everything will begin to sparkle like the glorious prism of a jeweller’s gigantic glass-front, and all around us we shall find acrobatic blocks of colours set out like the following wordshapes:

Coffeecomhou Rosegreebastocap transpomotocar legcutshop blueblackwhitehouses aerocigarend skyroofliftyellight anomoviesphot barbebbenpurp.

Human beings, until now, have dressed (more or less) in black mourning.
We are fighting against:
(a) the timidity and symmetry of colours, colours which are arranged in wishy-washy patterns of idiotic spots and stripes;
(b) all forms of lifeless attire which make man feel tired, depressed, miserable and sad, and which restrict movement producing a triste wanness;
(c) so-called ‘good taste’ and harmony, which weaken the soul and take the spring out of the step.

We want Futurist clothes to be comfortable and practical
Dynamic
Aggressive
Shocking
Energetic
Violent
Flying (i.e. giving the idea of flying, rising and running)
Peppy
Joyful
Illuminating (in order to have light even in the rain)
Phosphorescent
Lit by electric lamps.

Pattern changes should be available by pneumatic dispatch; in this way anyone may change his clothes according to the needs of mood. Available modifications will include:
Loving
Arrogant
Persuasive
Diplomatic
Unitonal
Multitonal
Shaded
Polychrome
Perfumed.

As a result we shall have the necessary variety of clothes, even if the people of a given city lack the imagination themselves. The happiness of our Futurist clothes will help to spread the kind of good humour aimed at by my great friend PaIazzeschi in his manifesto against sadness.

Originally published in 1913

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