Spotlights are just turned off on the catwalks of AltaRoma and it’s time to speak about the best collections and the most interesting young fashion designers seen in the four intense days that Rome dedicated to Italian Haute Couture.
How to conjugate the heritage of a great tradition with the need of renewing the aesthetic codes to be more closely connected to modernity?
A well balanced recipe was found some years ago by the organization behind ALTAROMA, after a period of crisis during which the event seemed bound to end. To win the important challenge of surviving in a very fast world even more connected and oriented to new technologies, that is almost forgetting the beauty and the inestimable value of well made handcrafted things, AltaRoma is trying to look at the future and keep alive the interest for Italian High Fashion betting on new generations of creatives.
Thought as a platform to support, enhance and discover new talents of fashion design, AltaRoma wants to combine the renowned and traditional excellence of Made in Italy with the emergent creativity of small independent brands, students coming from important schools of Italian fashion education landscape and with innovative young talents coming from all around the world.
|Opening party of AltaRoma
The post-industrial headquarter of PratiBus District and the always enchanting city of Rome hosted the event from 24th to 27th January, with more than 100 Italian and international emerging designers and a program divided into three sectors: Fashion Hub was dedicated to emerging brands and young designers; Atelier wanted to be a bridge between the traditional Maison which made great the name of Italian fashion and the new realities of Haute Couture; In Town, thought a series of events, talks, presentations and fashion shows in different locations in Rome.
|Me and Rome, a love story
Always looking for new interesting names and in search of what will be the fashion of the future, I was there to tell about the 4-days event. Here the first part of this story.
ALTAROMA DAY 1
Emerging brands at Showcase
AltaRoma’s event has always a very busy schedule of meetings, fashion shows and side-events. The first and very cold day started at 10 a.m. into the big spaces of PratiBus Distrisct, with the third edition of SHOWCASE, a project by AltaRoma and ICE-Agenzia (Italian Trade Agency) to support the newest emerging Italian brands of womenswear, menswear, jewellery and accessories.
|Showcase 2019 at AltaRoma
The first designer I met was Gaetano Pollice, who I’ve already seen in the past editions of Showcase and met many times at Istituto Secoli, where he is teacher of Fashion Design. At every collection, his bags are even more enchanting and refined.
This time the inspiration came from the knots of bobbin lace, an ancient traditional technique used since Renaissance period, that become handmade embroideries on leather and suede clutches, but also the excuse to invent the shape of giant bows which decors beautiful packpacks and bucket bags in the shades of forest green, burgundy, nude pink and mint with just some touches of black and violet.
Another designer I’m following is a creator of contemporary jewellery completely handmade in leather. For the first time at Showcase, Giulia Boccafogli presented “Florilegium”, a visual personal archive of stylized flowers. The designer’s inspiration comes from her love for ghothic literature, Tim Burton and Caravaggio, turned into a fancy world, an herbarium of
sculptural floral motifs that becon graphic signs which live in an
oniric night garden.
sculptural floral motifs that becon graphic signs which live in an
oniric night garden.
Representing the contrast between darks and light, the designer makes a large use of black and the color of undergrowth, highlighted by touches of gold, sunflower yellow and the juicy shades of berries. Each jewel is fringed and assembled by hand and has a sustainable soul, because the leather comes from high-quality recovered materials.
Cordien by Sofia Codraro is another interesting jewellery brand. After a past in Trussardi and collaborations for labels like Swarovski and Missoni for clothing lines, the young designer presented at Showcase her second collection of funny and ironic jewels born from fashion illustrations inspired by the women of the world and the most recognizable symbols of the different countries.
So the chili peppers of Mexico are mixed to the Hawaian birds and the shrimps so loved in Japan and the sweet cherries of Brazil, but the most iconic symbol is surely the Welsh corgi, the belowed dog of Queen Elizabeth II in England.
|Cordien by Sofia Codraro at Showcase – AltaRoma
Jewels and jewel-like handbags are the creations of the brand Maissa by Giulia Bertacchini, already finalist of the 2018 edition of “Who Is On Next?”. The designer is fascinated by the new technologies mixed to the more excellent artisanal techniques and for her accessories collection created with the 3-D metallic print surprising bag handles and the new line of jewellery.
Initially inspired by Primitive Art and the irreverent iconography of emoji, now Giulia is moving toward the research of more abstract and geometric lines freely inspired by nature, creating real sculptures which forms entering one inside the other in a sort of spatial continuum which recalls the fantastic architectural shapes of Fred Gehry.
|Maissa by Giulia Bertacchinni
Another finalist of “Who Is On Next?” in June was the brand Woobag, by Sheila Pierobon and Sara Da Dalt, who presented the new collection of bags which mixes with a very incredible and innovative technique leather with real wood, with a processing that requests more than one month to achieve a flexible and durable material.
With this collection the two designers intorduced new wood essences like ebony and zebrawood, but especially the new line “Organic” with foils of pressed-flowers, more than 50kg for foil, which give a natural shade of color and parfum to the bags depending by the flower used. So we can have beautiful and scented creations inspired by cornflowers, vanille, cocoa or lavander.
Speaking about clothing collections surely one of the most stunning thing seen at AltaRoma was that created by the incredibly talented Japanese designer Yojiro Kake, who after studies in Osaka and at Polimoda in Florence is currently living and working in Pistoia. Approaching fashion design with an artistic imprint, Yojiro try to conjugate the essentiality of Japanese culture with the richness of Italian aesthetic sensitivity.
His creations are real masterpieces of couture, created working on a unique piece of fabric expertly folded following the techniques of Origami or inspired by the art of paper collage called Chigiri-e, transforming small pieces of wool into extraordinary three-dimensional structures recalling flowers and petals.
The collection designed by Alessandro Biasi for his brand A-Lab Milano is a game of contrasts, a kind of journey in space and time. The past is represented by the tapestry-style heavy fabrics and by the chenille that are combined with traditional bi-stretch wool fabrics, the present is visible in the sportwear and urban appeal of the collection and in the 3D mesh piping details that underline the cuts of sweatshirts and trench coats.
The future, fortunately, is sustainable with the use of ecologic fabrics like the econyl, a modern nylon 100% renewable over and over again realized starting by waste plastic, fishing nets, old carpets and used clothing.
Roi Du Lac is the name of the label founded in 2017 by the Scottish-Italian designer Marco Kinloch, whose watercolor paintings become the basis for the refined, precious and hyper-colored prints on silk, velevet, jersey and now also in cashmere.
The beautiful all-over patterns of the collection “Maison D’Hortense” are inspired by the theme of an exotic journey into the ancient reign of Mughal Empire in India, depicted through poetic and vivid images of floral elements, mythological animals, traditional Indian architectures, carousel of horses and tigers in the luxurious jungle.
Completely different is the mood of Dream Yourself, a contemporary label founded in 2015 by the brothers Lorenzo and Emanuele Manta. Halfway between street style, avant-garde and ecological fashion, the collection presented by the design duo coming from Salento is an interesting mix of comfy oversize proportions and genderless silhouettes, created using very beautiful fabrics like linen, hemp (a real new-entry for streetwear) and sustainable materials with the Greenpeace’s Detox certification.
Iconic elements of this clothing line are the logo that becomes a kind of dots pattern, the laminated foil that make precious t-shirts and sweaters and especially the motto “I’m a Dreamer” printed like a brushstroke on t-shirts and sweatshirts.
|Dream Yourself at Showcase – AltaRoma
The new names of Italian fashion and a great return on the catwalks of AltaRoma
The label EDITH MARCEL, founded in 2015 by the design duo formed by Gianluca Ferracin and Andrea Masato, was the first to showcase on runway the fall/winter 2019-20 collection entitled “The Activist”.
Active wear is in fact part of the brand’s DNA and the collection, easy to wear and love, is decidedly captivating for the use of strong color-blocks of red, white and black with some touch of blue and pale pink, but also for the contrast between textures and materials, like the sporty attitude of lycra and nylon combined with the the more traditional cool wool and the pleated jersey.
Essential and graphic were the big faces, characteristic of the label, which color the prints on t-shirts, tunics and skirts, designed both for women and men.
The inspiration for the collection “Surv-live” by MARTINA CELLA comes from the far lands of East Europe and from a trip the designer made in Romania, from which she took the traditional female clothing and a certain retro taste to renew the female wardrobe.
She bravely made it with resolute cuts, bold oversize silhouettes recalling the 90s sportswear outfits and the ski world of that period, using a vivid, almost disturbing chromatic choice with a miscellaneous of neon red, bright green, electric violet, teal and flamingo pink, all made more sophisticated by the use of black and white zebra patterns that separates the bodies into two different souls.
Beautiful is the contrast between of the sporty giant proportions of padded coats and stoles with the furry textures and the sinuous movement of the long frings on foulards that frame the faces of the model, so modern, self-confident and proudly nostalgic at the same time.
The great return was that of MALO, which presented the fall/winter 2019-20 collection in the afternoon of the first day of fashion shows. Always renowned as iconic label of knitwear, characterized by the great quality of its materials, even this time it didn’t disappointed the expectations of mass media and guests.
The collection inspired by the lands from where come the precious fibers of cashmere, camel wool and vicuna, was elegantly veered towards more casual and sporty trends, with a refined color palette of delicate shades with some touches of orange, neutrals and different shades of blue and violet, which define geometric patters and are hugged by omnipresent milk white as background of the entire collection.