• My Milanese word... Staffetta!

    I've been in Milan for a week, I love the city, I've enjoyed the food (unusual) and I've admired the fashion and style like never before. I've also watched TV, I've come to question the elusive "staffetta".

    The "staffetta" is as Italian as Parma ham or espresso. For me it's a great representation of everything good and absurd of the country of my birth!


    "A dance performed by showgirls in order to break up the mundane procession of questions and answers by a game show host" Gino De Blasio, Bergamo Airport, 05.05.12.

    1980's TV

    In the 80's a certain Mr Berlusconi launched his mediaset empire. His intention of controlling the airwaves with slick programming, strong revenue model and "American new wave" to Public archaic was hailed as a breath of fresh air to a new TV audience.

    But Berlusconi being Berlusconi, meant that TV had to have beautiful women, and these women, if not news presenters were the eye candy to the show. But they couldn't be seen to just be standing there, no, that would be preposterous... They needed to do something to justify their place.

    Famous Veline for satirical Italian TV

    And the dancing begins

    Take a pinch of choreography and some scantily clad clothing and you begin to envisage the scene that TV had created with ease and testosterone driven fantasy.

    And yet the irony of staffetta lies in that a literal translation can mean "to pass the baton"; so I guess the producers see this as a way to pass the baton from one section of the show to the next?! 

    It grows and grows

    They have become fashion icons, sported the looks of the youth of each generation, they have been the subject of socio-cultural studies and spawned a generation of women to want to have career aspirations of that model rather than lets say, a doctor.

    Personally I couldn't care what you do in life, if you want to be a "Valletta" someone who performs the "staffetta" I don't mind at all.

    And this is Italy, kind of... It embraces the fact that their is "open sexism" in a way like no other, but it doesn't see it like that, it sees this as a career choice. The fact that they represent fashion trends or set them is actually remarkable when you think of it. Who in the UK, US or anywhere else does this?

    Their role in time may change but for now, they continue to represent a generation and a country in the brilliant to absurd way that Italy is constructed.

    To that, I tip my hat to all of you Valletta's, after all it could only happen in Italy!

    0 comments → My Milanese word... Staffetta!

    Post a Comment