Pier Paolo Pasolini and the construction of masculinity in Italian fashion | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2051-7106
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7114



In this article, the study of fashion is engaged in from a transdisciplinary perspective, at the crossroads of fashion and literature. In his novels, movies, essays and short stories, Pier Paolo Pasolini brought to the public’s attention the sub-proletarian bodies of the male youth of post-war Italy, and of Rome in particular. As yet, the Roman ragazzi had no figure in the readers’, or spectators’, minds, and this fact gave him the liberty to scrutinize their bodies, down to the very rags which covered them, without having to dispel preconceived expectations. Focalized, the gap between body and dress becomes with him an interzone, an in-between space where the porosity between dress, body and character is captured. More often than not, this compositional style resulted in an erotic accentuation of the character’s physicality, both in film and on the written page.

The sub-proletarian body’s final inscription in the canon of male beauty is sanctioned in our own days, when such conceptual designers as Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane, now busy in recovering the subcultural roots of their design, openly insert that body’s habit of being into the narrative of fashion. To our media-savvy eyes, not a small result.


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