Our creative director Dané lost his sense of taste when he contracted COVID-19 in Milan in April. Despite recovering from the virus itself, this particular symptom lingered. One day, while eating a truffle pumpkin ravioli inside a quaint little trattoria on Via Cerva, his sense of taste spontaneously returned; the intoxicating flavour of truffle finally matching its heady, musky scent, before a burst of tangy pumpkin oozed free from the pocketed pasta and re-met with his palate.
I can only describe Dané’s joy in this moment as being so intense that it felt somewhat palpable to me, who was on the other end of the phone line on the opposite side of the world. Gratefulness. Unbridled relief. An extreme example of the return of one of the senses we rarely ever think about losing.
We’ve been living in a time of sensory overload and sensory deprivation these past 18 months, and our receptors have been tested like never before. We’ve become accustomed to absorbing news at a rapid rate via the endless loop of our relationship to the internet and social media. As we have digested this noise, we ironically became physiologically muted as we remained captive in our homes, our three dimensions slowly drilled down to two.
As we go to print, the Australian hospitality industry is taking seated bookings, and the government has announced international travel will resume soon. After a couple of false starts – we really did seem like the lucky ones for a while there, didn’t we? – it’s time to emerge, to re-assimilate, to dust off the Bottega’s and try to remember what they are for.
But by experiencing recent life from behind a screen, or a window or a door – and rarely exposed to human contact – have our senses fundamentally shifted?
Will our quarantined-conditioned receptors cope with standing in queues, sweating in crowds, and muscling into the bar? What about meetings in boardrooms, sharing share plates, sharing stadiums, and yelling across the table at our dinner companions just to be heard above the chitter-chatter of restaurant patrons? Is reality more complicated than we recall? Is freedom as easy as we remember?
GRAZIA’s 10th print edition, 7 SENSES, celebrates the reignition of our senses as we arrive at period of time we are calling “freedom”. A 544-page visual and sartorial dedication to sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and two lesser-talked about senses, vestibular (how we balance), and proprioception (the awareness of the movement of our bodies in a space).
With our team now spread across the world – in Sydney, Milan, Dubai, New York and London – we’ve been able to capture the banquets of sights and sounds from lots of different places to represent this watershed moment. As a part of the sound section, we take you on a sonic journey across a 24-hour period in Venice with Louis Vuitton (page 218). Emily Algar also unpacks the weird and wonderful appeal of ASMR in the beauty sphere, an interesting read on page 214.
On page 266, Marne and Dané (of aforementioned pasta fame) go on an olfactory adventure to the fragrant lavender fields in Provence, and over in the vestibular section, sleek cut-outs level with lace, mesh and tweed, as our model delicately balances atop rooftops in Paris (page 426).
In the touch section, we celebrate Emporio Armani’s 40th anniversary (page 344) with a shoot dedicated to the return of tactility at Cava Michelangelo in Lucca (with Mr. Armani’s incredible tenure documented by Grace O’Neill), and we explore the engineering behind Cartier’s classic hardware – and its link to our emotions – with Alissa Thomas on page 366.
Tiffany & Co. (page 450), Ferragamo (page 480) and Dior (page 498) celebrate the reignition of moving, and introduce us to our sense of proprioception, perhaps one of the most important senses to see us through these times as we made a deeper connection to the position and movement of our bodies.
It’s a big book, and if you need a break at any time, skip over to page 210 and scan the QR codes for a sonic ASMR pause with Benjamen Judd.
Yes, a different era is incoming; one of actuals and travelling and moving freely along sidewalks and runways. It’s exciting! Like Dané, I hope you experience the rush of pure happiness when tasting and smelling pasta, in a real-life restaurant, with real-life friends. (If you do make it to Milan when borders open, the restaurant was called Da Pino on Via Cerva. Ask for Mauro or Marco and tell them Dané sent you.)
To a summer of tangibles,