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Betting on young designers, fashion schools and emerging brands AltaRoma looks forward, becoming the preferential platform for launching the new talents of future Italian fashion design. This is the second part of the report from the 4 days of fashion shows, showcase and events seen in the charming scenario of Rome.

A certain dose of courage is request to those who belive in the future, especially if their story is so rich of tradition as for the Italian Haute Couture. Far from the big economical boom that gave the birth to the Golden Age of most famous fashion brands starting from the late Fifties up to the early 2000s, the iconic labels of Italian High Fashion are living a period of insecurity and too often of real crisis, with many names forced to stop their activities. 

Parties and events at AltaRoma

In an atmosphere like this, how to find the force to move on?

It’s not a case the choice to write the words said by Bluto, character of “Animal House” interpreted by John Belushi, as welcome for the guests of AltaRoma.

“Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Hell no! And it ain’t over now. Cause when the goin’ gets tough…

The tough get goin’!”
(Bluto, “Animal House)

The entrance of AltaRoma at PratiBus District

Because AltaRoma was left for death many times, but it always finds the way and the resources to survive and relaunch new idea. That’s why I find AltaRoma one of the most interesting incubators of new talents of my country, something that deserves much support as possible.

Maybe passing time we lost the sense of “grandeur” or a certain classicism typical of the traditional Haute Couture in favor of a more contemporary mood. But the collections seen during the AltaRoma’s days reflect the current evolution of fashion, more close to our daily needs and the modern concept of elegance, without forgetting the incredible excellence of Italian craftsmanship.

This is the second part of my report about all my favorite clothing and accessories young designer I met in Rome last week.


The contemporary mood on stage

Fashion shows have always been my great passion, both being in the backstage as designer and also as guest, part of the public in the area reserved to press. It’s exciting to wait the moment when the lights turn off and a single spotlight illuminates the first outfit on catwalk. I can easily imagine the enthusiasm, the tiredness and the anxiety, waiting for the applause of the public after the “grand final”, of all the young and emerging designers who showcase their creativity in an important event like AltaRoma.
Me at the fashion show of Federica Tosi

In the morning of 25th January the first designer on stage was Federica Tosi, with a past as fashion jewellery designer and since 2013 with her eponymous clothing brand, winner of many important awards. The fall winter 2019-20 collection is focused on a strong, self-confident woman with her mysterious black basque hat, halfway between the charm of Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie & Clyde” and the rock vibes of the Eighties. Wearability and clean lines are in contrast with the use of bright colors alternated to the dominant black, real leitmotiv of the collection, declined into many textures and effects, from the aggressive leather to the sexy transparency of silk chiffon.
Federica Tosi fashion show

Is pretty unusual to listen some traditional Italian folk music in a fashion show, something funny and really particular. “Romagna Mia” is the title of the soundtrack used on runway by Federico Cina, but also the name of his incredibly original collection. Menswear and womenswear inspired by the native land of the young designer, by his childhood memories. Ears of grain decorating his grandmother’s tablecloth but also the grain harvest the designer made when was a young boy, the checks of his grandfather Sunday best, the warm color of the fresh turned Earth, the gratitude for his parents who have always supported him. 

Federico Cina fashion show

All this is transformed from a vision to a concrete, stunning collection, sign that fashion can still tell beautiful stories. Made by the subtle ribs on checked wool, the raw textures of Casentino fabric, the contrasting piping used to underline an apron-style male vest, the oversize paperbag trousers and boyish double breasted jackets (so big to appear stolen by the older brother’s wardrobe), the orange and the beige. What I can say more? Simply wonderful.

Federico Cina at Showcase

Alessandra Cappiello, with her brand Morfosis launched in 2004 and finalist in 2008 of the IV edition of “Who Is On Next?”, brings on stage an eclectic woman with many souls. Contemporaneousness and sophistication, minimalism and a subtle touch of revival, a bit of experimentation and something so familiar to become already part of our personal heritage. The designer mixes modern pleated effects or snake prints on leather, 30s style long dresses jazzed up by colored prints, technical nylon trench, tartan checks and color-block lurex, all made more soft and feminine by the delicate presence of ostrich feathers.

Fashion show of the brand Morfosis by Alessandra Cappiello

AltaRoma is in search of new genuine talents 

That AltaRoma believes in its future is testified by the support given by the organization to the Roman fashion schools, which have the great opportunity to showcase the graduate collections of their students in front of a vaste and expert public made of buyers, talent scouts, bloggers and journalists.

Final exit of the model in the graduate fashion show of the students of Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma

Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma presented a beautiful initiative called “Korea Project”, in collaboration with the Embassy of Korean Republic in Rome, the Korean Cultural Institute and the Hanbok Advancement Center. After a workshop to study the Hanbok, the folkloristic Korean dress and the traditional textile techniques, the second year students of the academic course “Culture and Technology of Fashion” designed their final works. 

Fashion show of the Korean designer Young Ae Lee in collaboration with Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma

Preceeded on catwalk by the presentation of traditional dresses and modern reinterpretations made by the Korean designer Young Ae Lee, the young students presented 11 capsule collections inspired by the graceful atmospheres of this land related to our Western culture:

Alessandro Vulcano creates a innovative synthesis between the two different cultures mixing the modern and transgressive effect of vinyl with more reassuring lilac touches and traditional matelasse fabric. Beautiful the small bags and the tassels used as hanging decorations to underline the movement of the body.

Graduate collection by Alessandro Vulcano

Rita Guardabascio is inspired by an old Korean legend according to which the contrast of opposite souls  symbolized the strenght of a woman on the line between the delicacy of her nature, represented by small embroidered birds and transparent silks, and the powerful image of a tiger printed on raw canvas.
Graduate collection by Rita Guardabascio

Overlapping heavy padded and quilted fabrics to traditional checks, Aurora Promutico chooses the
western culture for the material, while the shapes of her modern outfits are inspired by the asymmetries of Korean fashion, which is also represented by inlayed floral patterns that softened the too rigid final effect.

Graduate collection by Aurora Promutico

Eye-catching (and Gareth Pugh style!) checks used in contrast with leather and crepe, a pinch of eccentricity and eclectism, seducent strong ladies and the feminine bows typical of Hanbok dress. Andrea Mugavero makes a very interesting mix of East and West, with audacious shades of purple, red and green that play with the basic chromatic game of black and white.

Graduate collection by Andrea Mugavero

The traditional and ancient technique of Korean patchwork is used by Giulia Fastellini to build solid three-dimensional structures. The need of something gentle and clean to purify the soul is evident in the shape of these covers, that protect the body and the spirit becoming soft with a neutral color palette and touches of white. 

Graduate collection by Giulia Fastellini

Taking inspiration from the bandages used by Korean women as lingerie, Domitilla Damiani amplified the initial concept giving a more deep interpretation, investigating in the meaning of protection and fragility, transforming become these bandages into hanging strips on long dresses and irregular hand stitches into the way to mend the soul wounds.

Graduate collection by Domitilla Damiani

Guo Huimin speaks about integration between cultures through the the mix of the peculiar elements of each country. So the shape of traditional Korean clothes, with the large sleeves and the padded textures, are blend with male fabrics and sporty details for a urban contemporary meltin’pot.

Graduate collection by Guo Huimin

Like furious spirit of the wind, the girls walk with a fast pace with ultra-fake and fluttering white wigs, wearing protective padded coats, sporty trousers and windbreaker jackets. Federica Bettelli interpreted the ethnic theme with a practical attitude, mixing nylon to organdy and satin.

Graduate collection by Federica Bettelli,

Lucrezia Matola works on textile manipulation creating a very poetic collection in which each color has its meaning connected to an emotional symbol. While sage green and burnt brown threads become roots sinking into the deepness of the Earth, the red symbolized the metamorphosis and the need of change.

Graduate collection by Lucrezia Matola

Wow! These was my reaction looking the enchanted creatures imagined by Leonardo Ferri for his total white collection. Coming from who knows where, maybe a fairy tale, these ethereal figures wearing theatrical short babydoll-like dresses and fancy accessories, hoods, feathers and rabbit ears. Alice is still here.

Graduate collection by Leonardo Ferri

Patchwork of white and neutral fabrics gives a touch of visual movement to the textures of the outfits by Susanna Picchiàmi, who creates a female collection inspired by the male Korean clothing in which the manual work become the way to reach a balance in our life.
Graduate collection by Susanna Picchiàmi

The research of new talents is entrusted to the initiative Portfolio Review, made in collaboration between AltaRoma and Vogue Italia, from which goes out the young Iranian designer and illustrator Faeze Mohammadi, who studied at Alzaahra University in Teheran and then at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Faeze realized the illustration choose to represent this edition of AltaRoma, taking inspiration from a dress by Arthur Arbesser, another talent emerged from the contest “Who Is On Next?”.
Fashion illustration by Faeze Mohammadi, chosen as official image of AltaRoma

Portfolio Review is a project, arrived at its 8th edition, thought to scout new talents among under 40 fashion designer, illustrators and stylists who can show their works and explain their vision to two imortant experts: Sara Sozzani Maino, Deputy Editor of Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents, and to Simonetta Gianfelici, ex super top model, Fashion Consultant and Talent Scout, but also Head of the AltaRoma’s project “Who Is On Next?”.

Sara Sozzani Maino and Simonetta Gianfelici are the talent scouts for the project “Portfolio Review”

Experimentation and sustainability at AltaRoma’s Showcase 

As said by Silvia Venturini Fendi, President of AltaRoma, the project Showcase curated by Simonetta Gianfelici and arrived at the third edition is succeeding in discovering and promoting the new realities of Made in Italy, start-up and already emerged contemporary brands of accessories and clothing with in common the love for experimentation and excellence.

The space of Showcase AltaRoma at PratiBus District

In the second day of Showcase I found a very old friend, my classmate at Accademia di Costume e Moda. Bruno Simeone, before assistant of Alessandro Dell’Acqua, founded in 2004 a design studio with Daniele Del Genio and then the brand Rossorame, already renowned for have dressed many celebrities like Chiara Ferragni and Federica Pellegrini. At Showcase Bruno explained me the concept of his fall winter 2019-20 collection entitle “Fluo Shape”

The inspiration comes from the Grunge mood of the early Nineties, revisited into a contemporary key through modern cuts and interesting small details like the pvc inlays on collars or cuffs and the neon colored pipings, that contrast the boyish aspect of male fabrics like tweed and Prince of Wales, but also the bold zebra prints used for oversize jackets.

Rossorame, contemporary fashion brand by Bruno Simeone and Daniele Del Genio

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“Buy a personality” is the message written on a sweatshirt by the design duo formed by Stefano Dassù and Pasquale Amoroso for their label Dassù Y Amoroso, founded in 2015 after a past as costume designers for cinema and theater. 

The love for Punk and street style is clearly visible into the very beautiful long dresses with wide organdy skirts and big metal studs on shoulders, in the t-shirts with rockabilly-style flames prints or that mix their simple line with theatrical pagoda sleeves, in the digitalized tartan patterns that become bold all-over prints or in the nylon jackets recalling a couture jaquard. 

Dassù Y Amoroso. contemporary street punk style brand

The multifaceted personality of Michele Chiocciolini, accessories designer but also architect, painter and graphic designer are represented by his love for Pop culture, Graffiti art and the extravagant fashion of the Eighties from which he continuously takes his inspiration. 

The simplicity inherent into the clear lines and stylized shapes of his handbags, are fused with a deep sensitiveness for the ecological issues through the use of the Clarino Crust, a sustainable materials made with innovative techniques that allow the elimination of chemicals into the productive process. The funny and nice bags he presented at Showcase are centred on the symbol of the heart, used as shape or decoration, for bags that are beuatiful and also good.

Michele Chiocciolini, accessory designer

At Showcase I was attracted by the simplicity of the total white striped embossed leather texture of  the versatile shopper bags, the nice mini shoppers nad the camera bags realized by the design duo formed by the sisters Eleonora and Eugenia D’Ambrosio De Domincis, creative minds of the brand Coolt

Besides of these more experimental and vanguard accessories, the capsule collection presented at Showcase was inspired by a bohemian mood, with beautiful rounded crossbody bags and stylezed bucket bags in suede and leather decorated by gipsy-style tassels and Aztech interweaving, perfect for a contemporary nomad woman.

Coolt, contemporary bags brand by Eleonora and Eugenia D’Ambrosio De Domincis

One of the most appreciated jewelry designers of the event was Vittorio Ceccoli, who founded his eponymous label in 2012, after a 15-years experience for other companies. Vittorio realizes incredibly theatrical and hyper-luxurious Haute Couture jewels, masks and headpieces, both for women and men. 

With his strong and visionary taste for dark images mixed to a pinch of self-irony and boldness, the designer gives life to flashy unique pieces inspired by the natural and unreal worlds. Plants, flowers and insects like the giant scorpion realized in crystals, gold or silver touches play with imaginary skeletons and ghosts into surprising creations perfect for a contemporary and audacious queen.

Vittorio Ceccoli, contemporary Haute Couture jewelry designer

Completely different is the mood and the materials used by Carmela Lacerenza for her sustainable fashion jewelry brand Camera Creativa. The designer unifies three different world, that natural of flowers and leaves, that more intimate and mental formed by abstract shapes and the one taken from the artificial world we continuing to produce. 

Using recycled bicycle tyres and wasted rubber, Carmela gives new life to something considered ugly and dirty. Her almost total black eco-jewelry collection presented at Showcase emphasizes the beauty of recycled materials and it’s an hymn to the respect for the environment.

Camera Creativa, sustainable fashion jewelry brand

Eco-fashion In Town

In the late afternoon another appointment part of the In Town program of AltaRoma waited me in the Prati quarter not so far from PratiBus District. Francesca, Cristina and Stella, the team behind the brand Stella Tures, invited me in their boutique at the presentation of the slow fashion new collection for the spring summer 2019. 
Me at the presentation of the spring summer 2019 sustainable collection by Stella Tures
For the occasion they made a special country-style set completely ecological, placing their creations in a natural context inside a greenhouse and with a funny jackstraw wearing an outfit. The nwe collection is completely Made in Rome using certified sustainable fabrics and has a childlike spirit that refresh the minimal shapes of long dresses printed with tropical-style flowers, organic linen tops and boyfriend trousers.

The slow fashion collection by Stella Tures for the spring summer 2019

Fashion and high-tech: AltaRoma bets on digital fashion technologies

How to finish the long day of events? With another collective fashion show entitled “Fashion Digital Night”. 40 young designers coming from 14 countries all around the world called by AltaRomain collaboration with Fondazione Mondo Digitale and already hosted in the space dedicated to Fashion Hub 4.0, a temporary exhibition with all the projects of wearable technology, digital fabrication and biomaterial made by these visionary pioneers of design.

“Fashion Digital Night”, wearable technology fashion show at AltaRoma
“Fashion Hub 4.0” exhibition of wearable technology at AltaRoma

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