The future of Haute Couture: report from ALTAROMA June 2018 (part 2)

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A warm and sunny Rome hosted the AltaRoma haute couture fashion week. I was there to discover what’s new in the panorama of Italian and international fashion, meeting young graduate designers, emerging brands and new avant-garde designers.

Like every year in January and June, Rome is the stunning background of the events organized by AltaRoma to showcase the talent of Italian designers. Passing time this always fascinating fashion week is focusing its attention on new names, fashion schools and emerging brands, giving importance to the work of scouting and support of a new generation of couturiers, maintaining the prestige of old glories who made the history of Italian Altamoda, like Roberto Capucci or Renato Balestra.

Me at Accademia di Moda Maiani exhibition

For me it was a very busy week, sometimes stressful for the continuous moving from place to place, but so intriguing and rich of pleasant surprises that I look forward to the next edition. This is the report of the most interesting and new things I discovered in Rome and Cinecittà Studios during the AltaRoma days.


Probably this was the most stressful day of the week, so full of appointments, exhibitions and fashion shows. The morning started at 10 o’clock with the exhibition “Il giro del mondo in 80 abiti” organized by ACCADEMIA MODA MAIANI in a very suggestive location, the ex planetary in the Diocletian Thermae, an octagonal space in which the oufits created by the academy’s students compared their beauty with the classic aesthetic canons of ancient Roman scupltures.

Accademia di Moda Maiani exhibition “Il giro del mondo in 80 abiti”

Creations that represent a real tour around the world seen through the historical archive of the school, patiently built in 20 years of activity. The exhibition was thought to give a message of peace and brotherhood, using the classic elements of fashion design, shapes, colors, textures and decorations, to narrate the story of different countries, crossing cultures, tradition and religions.

A message of love for life, as explained Maria Maiani, the founder of the school I spoke with at the end of my visit, who expressed all the passion for this job and the necessity to train the students to the hard work rediscovering the pleasure of handicraft work and of traditional know-how.

Accademia di Moda Maiani exhibition “Il giro del mondo in 80 abiti” at AltaRoma

Just before the lunch time, I moved for about a chilometer to reach Largo Angelicum. The usually peaceful location of Chiostro dell’Angelicum became an exclusive set for the presentation of CREATIVE DISTRICT, a project launched by the fashion producer Antonio Falanga and the brand manager Grazia Marino of Spazio Margutta for “AltaRoma in Town”. This 4th edition seen the partecipation of six young designers and emerging brands of Haute Couture.

Giampaolo Zuccarello expressed all his emotion at the end of the show and this was one of the things I most appreciated because demonstration of all the passion and hard work there’s behind the scene. The fall/winter 2018-19 collection entitled “Madeleine” is inspired by the golden age of Parisian Haute Couture, facing all the responsability for a so heavy heritage with grace. This is the story of a young woman, always elegant and immerse in a world of sophistication, fascinated by the luxury of silks, precious velvets, feathers and embroidered laces. Wonderful were jackets and coats, soft and structured at the same time, for a great return of elegance and of a genuine passion for fashion.

Giampaolo Zuccarello fashion show at Creative District

It was a modern way to interpret fashion history that showcased by the young designer Irene Mattei with her brand Asia Neri. Inspired by the Spain of 17th century, the designer gives new life to the iconic elements of that period: the “vertugado” rigid underskirt becomes shorter and exposed over the dresses as real protagonist of the collection, the structured volumes of the beautiful short capes have all the elegance of Baroque brocades, while fringes and big tassels decorates edge and belts to give a “coquette” tone to the most simple silhouettes.

Asia Neri by Irene Mattei fashion show at Creative District

Is a seductive woman the one presented by Aline Oliveira. A self-confident creature, who isn’t afraid to flaunt her eclectic style and her body trhough generously deep neckline and slits. The inspiration is far from the stereotypes of Haute Couture canons, breathing new life to tradition. The Eighties, with their excess, the taste for extreme luxury and boldness relive in ultra-glam outfits with exaggerated shoulders, rich drapes, big volumes, Svarowski decorations and a resolute color palette of violets, lilacs, red, royal blue and of course the unmissable black.
Aline Oliveira fashion show at Creative District

Only the brave can reach certain goals. Andy Leone, very young Sicilian designer, uses the audacty in the same name of his brand Antudo, which means “the courage is your Lord”. Also if only 23 years old, Andy has a clear mind and a great quantity of talent. He proposes a fearless woman, proud of her origins, ready to fight to defend the rights of the most vulnerable. And she make it wearing the symbols of two fierce cultures, the Sicilian and the Japanese, trhough big gold and red medals, elegant kimonos and delicious fluffy white dresses.
Antudo by Andy Leone fashion show at Creative District

I felt a little shiver go down my spine, looking the collection of Dàvorin Cordone, another young designer who rediscovered the real greatness of Haute Couture. The memory of Alexander McQueen was vivid, also with the due proportions. Because Dàvorin is still young and his style can only improve with time, but it seems already so strong and powerful to be truly surprising and impressive. The collection “Empowering Beauty” is a ode to the most theatrical and dramatic fashion, with a narration that go back over the centuries finding inspirations at the end of the XVI century, with its velvets, the laces and rich embroideries. Magnifique!
Davorin Cordone fashion show at Creative District

Flowing lines and beautiful tie-dye effet prints, seductive dresses and long skirts worn with baroque embroidered t-shirt to lighten the mood of the traditional couture. Mario Costantino Triolo brings out the best of Sosud, a brand born by the sister Alessadra and Roberta Carrozzo and produced by All in One Fashion Ltd in Salento. Triolo is young, but already with a great experience in fashion design and now he’s arrived at his third prêt-à-couture collection with the brand. The result was result is really delightful and, not an easy task, he was able to translate the woman’s sensuality far away from any vulgarity.

Sosud by Mario Costantino Triolo fashion show at Creative District

Just the time to grab a quick bite, that I had to move from the city center to Cinecittà Studios, where were hosted the most important events of the afternoon. The first appointment was with the 5 young designers who presented their collection in a collective fashion show supported by the partnership between AltaRoma with Italian Fashion Hub platform and PORTUGAL FASHION:

The very joung Maria Meira, graduated in Fashion Design from ESAD in 2017, recently winner of the Bloom Portugal Fashion Competition, presented a capsule collection dynamic and minimal, playing with transparencies and asymmetries and bonding the body with sporty tapes which de-dramatise the rigor of the shapes and the femininity of the see-through fabrics.

Maria Meira fashion show at Portugal Fashion

Mara Flora, young designer graduated in architecture, made a very decise choise. Only two colors, white and red, emotion and rationalism in opposition and a conceptual inspiration that found its roots in the eastern culture, from the Hong Kong movie “The Pillow Book” and the calligraphy art. Very beautiful the classic tailoring shapes handled by the  sophisticated drapes and ripples that moved the textures.

Mara Flora fashion show at Portugal Fashion

Nycole, brand launched in 2015 by the designer Tânia Nicole and winner of many contest like FashionClash, presented a menswear collection inspired by two icons of the 70s, the group Led Zeppelin and the sporty outfits of baseball players, playing with the acid colors of psychedelic music, the classic black and white and the classic baseball stripes.

Nycole fashion show at Portugal Fashion

The collection of Joana Braga, graduated at ESAD in Fashion Design, is light as a spring day spent without doing anything, in total relax. The references to the French attitude for a “joie de vivre” are clear and the collection breathe freely through a fresh color palette of with and pastels and transforming the very classic white/azure stripes with a delicate fantasy that can recalls some Impressionist paintings.

Joana Braga fashion show at Portugal Fashion

The 24-years-old designer Daniela Pereira, graduated from the Scuola di Moda di Porto in Fashion Design, is particularly fascinated by the male universe, that she revisited and made less cliché being inspired by the thoughts on the relationship between body, shapes and space made by the dance-theatre of Pina Bausch, represented by colors and the alternation of silks, knitwear and more classic fabrics.

Daniela Pereira fashion show at Portugal Fashion

At the end of the show I ran towards the Ancient Rome zone where are hosted other two exhibitions of young designers and emerging brands.

A.I. RE-ACTION, a project curated by Clara Tosi Pamphili and Alessio de Navasques of AI. Artisanal Intellingence, was a kind of space-time trip, with a base camp stage in a large dark room, a rarefied atmosphere, future and past mixed together. Overcoming the boundaries between what is beautiful and what instead is only useful, this exhibition was focused on the connection between sportswear, workwear and technical clothing, transforming tradition in a necessary reasoning about the future. 

A.I Re-Action by A.I. Artisanal Intelligence

Among the most interesting projects presented I want to mention:

  • the revisited feminism of the streetwear by Valentina Ortiz with the slogan “I’m not your dream girl but only my own”, awarness based on self-acceptance, expressed through a colorful mix of images on tecnical fabrics

Valentina Ortiz
  • the collective studio born by the collaboration by the knitwear company Vitelli and the French label Neith Neyer, which present a unisex collection inspired by the sub-cultural movement “Cosmic Youth” of the 80s and that idea of freedom and equality


  • Giorgia Andreazza, thinking about the difficult periond we are living, takes the military equipment to create post-modern armours defending and going along with the human body with transformable clothes, padded fabrics, detachable parts

Giorgia Andreazza
  • the Kazakh designer Aigerim Kairat from Istituto Marangoni in Milan, relive the adventures of the father soldier of the Russian Air Force, through a meditation about the achieving of freedom and a protest against any constriction using the visual metaphore of the parachute.

Aigerim Kairat
  • always starting by the military parachuting is the work of Nicola Spinelli, from NABA in Milan, who made a reasoning about the closure of our society regarding fears and phobias using a street-style that cages the body through hoods and oversize proportions. 

Nicola Spinelli
  • protected into a camp tend with controlled temperature, the bio-cultivations of Erica Curci were continuing to mature while the visual artist explained me the idea at the base of her researches, “Derma”, a membrane which contains collagen and has the same characteristics of the human skin, and “Ecdisi”, the creation of cellulose and bacteria culture starting by a study of the change of snake skin

See Also

Erica Curci

Erica Curci

On the other side of the room, just behind a wood wall, it opens up a whole new world made of emerging brands, SHOWCASE, the second edition of a project promoted by AltaRoma and ICE Agenzia to support and give visibility to new designers and artisanal reality of Italian fashion design.

Divided into three days, at the first I had the pleasure to meet old and new acquaintances.

The Dots, by the designer Ral Teofilova, that I’ve already met during the previous edition of AltaRoma in January, now presented the ss 2019 collection with three new shapes, the half-moon, the circle bag and a belt bag, with new possibilities to transform and customize through accessories like the detachable shoulders and linings or the decorations, for this season made using marbles and semi-precious stones.

Bags by The Dots at Showcase

Gaetano Pollice speaks about love stories, just born or that sometimes can finish, leaving some memories in our heart and now also in our wardrobe. The new collection for next summer is delicious as usual, but now with a an extra touch of glamour, with the sophisticated handbags in luxury leathers in delicate colors, small treasure boxes for fashion addicted.

Bags by Gaetano Pollice at Showcase

Irma Cipolletta, a brand born in 2014 by the homonym designer, is a new discovery very interesting for the geometrical shapes that can trasform the bag giving different configurations, based on a volumetric studio of triangular forms inspired by architecture. Beautiful are also the diamond bags, result of the collaboration with Arcadia

Bag by Irma Cipolletta at Showcase

Present also in the A.I Re-action exhibition, the designer Flavia Grazioli with the brand Fase Factory, showcased a menswear collection influenced by the technical ski-wear and for this season influenced by Vietnam, with its contrast of pop culture and uncontaminated natural enviroments. All the clothes are transfomable and diisgned following a concept of functionality, which made this brand so new and worthy of attention.

Fase Factory by Flavia Grazioli at Showcase

Is a minimal style with brio that of Alessandra Giannetti, a Roman designer who presented the spring/summer collection 2019 “Signature”, in which her sign on t-shirts and fabrics means the closer connection between brand and customers and a touch of unicity is given by the ancient kimono used as parts of garments. Simple and captivating is also the seasonless capsule collection “Opera” with bamboo sponge fabrics used to create versatile tops, dresses and fantastic skirts.

Alessandra Giannetti at Showcase

The new-born label Caterina Moro, who presented her brand in 2017 at Fashion Graduate Italia, is one of the most interesting seen during AltaRoma, because able to fuse the simplicity of the silhouettes with highly sartorial details like the pleated textures, the giant flower petals that just appear on organza and the 3-D effects softened by a delicate color choice of pastel colors.
Caterina Moro at Showcase

A wide flared dress attracted my attention, a rettangle-based shape with grosgrain straps and a white tank top. Theatrical and modern at the same time, just the way I like it. Made by Italo Marseglia, another talent to watch, who presented “Albedo”, a collection inspired by the philosophical concept of alchemy and by the contrast between feminine and masculine, black and white, tradition and technology, couture and sportswear.

Italo Marseglia at Showcase

At 7 pm, plus the physiological delay typical of each fashion show, was the time of “Lovers”, the collection by Sylvio Giardina. What can I say? Simply wonderful, verging on perfection! Sylvio was able to create a fantastic world giving life to a particular idea of Haute Coture, in which what can at first sight appears incredibly complicated, like for the sack-gown evening dresses, can magically become a hyperbolic vision of simplicity. And what is truly complicated has the same shape of the dreams, in a continuous  research of the essence of femininity.

Sylvio Giardina

With a few lines, the amazing and vibrant colors of gemstones and the sculptural volumes never excessive, he was able to reconcile the tradition of the great masters of Haute Couture with the most contemporary demands of modern times. Yes, he is an artist!

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