20 new talents from the best Italian fashion schools at “Eyes On Me” by MILANO UNICA (part 1)

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Future-oriented as usual, MILANO UNICA focused its attention on young designers coming from the best fashion schools of Italy, with a special project called “Eyes On Me”, where the students had the occasion to showcase their graduate collections, meet important talent scouts and be under the spotlight of mass media.
“Eyes On Me” is one of those initiatives that makes me realize how much important is to bet on the new generations for the survival of the Italian fashion industry and that something is finally moving in this direction. Organized during the 28th edition of MILANO UNICA, hosted at Rho Fieramilano from 5th to 7th February, this event was made in collaboration with PSFM Piattaforma Sistema Formativo Moda and Fashion Graduate Italia.
An important occasion for 20 young students, selected from some of the best fashion schools, to have a dedicated space to show their talent inside a so renowned fashion international trade fair. Always in search of fresh blood, talent scouts and companies’ recruiters can only look favorably upon this kind of projects.
Visiting Milano Unica I spent great part of the day with these young talents to better know their works and story, so I decided to write an article, or rather two, interely dedicated to them, with a special focus on the fabrics and particular effects they used to realize their graduate collections. Many of them are familiar faces, already seen during the days of Fashion Graduate Italia or other events I continuosly follow to enhance and support young designers.

Buyers, talent scouts and recruiters inn search of new talents at “Eyes on Me” by MILANO UNICA
Here the first part of this article that shows the final collections of the 20 fashion design students selected for “Eyes On Me” by Milano Unica.

the first time I met Anastasia Maria Del Vecchio, also if I often speak
about the Haute Couture fashion school in Rome from which she comes,
ACCADEMIA KOEFIA because is one of the most interesting realities of the
fashion educational landscape for itsparticular way to learn to its
students how to conjugate the great Italian tradition with more modern
also this time I sure wasn’t disappointed. “Day-dreamer and
is a very complex and intruiguing collection that
analyzes the life of a garment during all its path, from the moment of
the initial idea to its latest appearance on catwalk. The concept
stimulates other reasonings and the inspiration in itself looses its
importance, because the protagonist is the design process, that is
gifted by the designer of its own life-form.

Anastasia Maria Del Vecchio, ex student of Accademia Koefia, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica
garments narrate their life through all the things used and thought by
Anastasia during the work in progress of the collection. So an outfit
explains the birth of the collection through the application of
fragments representing the designer’s sketches, the inspirative mood
board and the images she researched to create the collection concept.
Another symbolizes the white sheet, the surface where the ideas will be
created or where the garment’s pattern will be done, while another
describes the concept through prints representing the words of the
concept itself. 

Outfit of the graduate collection “Day-dreamer and Night-thinker” by Anastasia Maria Del Vecchio
collection is so spot-on in all its elements, from the geometrical and
almost Japanese shapes to the perfect combination of black and silver
touches on the white background of nylon, organdie and tulle, that is
easy to understand why it won the “Prize of the Critics” at the famous
Hempel Award 2017″ in Beijing, China.

Graduate collection “Day-dreamer and Night-thinker” by Anastasia Maria Del Vecchio
Greta Moroni is a name that recurs many times in my blog, because her collections won many prizes and partecipated to severale contests and exhibitions. Coming from ISTITUTO SECOLI, this timid but strong girl won the “Ecological Fashion Design Contest” in China, was recently selected by DREAMERs Torino, partecipated as “Designer To Watch” in the latest edition of the Secoli Fashion Show and her works appeared also on Vogue Talents.
Greta Moroni, ex student of Istituto Secoli, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

All these recognition were gained because she’s able to conjugate a complex and refined style to a strong sensitivity for the respect for environment and the condition of our species in relationship with our planet. 

Greta Moroni at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

At “Eyes on Me” Greta presented her spring summer 2019 conscious collection, “Libertà di camminare sulle aiuole” (“The freedom of walking on the grass”), inspired by the absurdity of our modern life expressed by pictures printed and patched on fabrics, representing the deep sense of discomfort and the distorted vision of the civilized world we insist to have to stand our crazy lifestyle, so far from our first natural environment that is Mother Nature. 

“Libertà di camminare sulle aiuole”, sustainable collection by Greta Moroni

The sustainable collection revolves around the concept of transformation through convertible outfits that can be worn in different ways (with giant labels that explain the way of use and that can be also decorative) to reduce the number of unnecessary garments to buy each season and consequently reducing the impact of fashion. The ecological intent of the designer is clear also in the use of sustainable fabrics, like the organic linen, hem and cotton, while the patched photos are printed on labels derived from recycled plastic bottles.

Outfit of “Libertà di camminare sulle aiuole”, sustainable collection by Greta Moroni



The collection designed by Lidia Lucilla Caldarelli was one of the most successful of Fashion Graduate Italia. Coming from ACCADEMIA DELLA MODA, the designer demonstrates a great stylistic maturity and self-confidence. 
At Milano Unica she showcased her graduate collection “Grotesque”, a romantic and decadent narration of a tormented love story that never had the occasion of being completed and lived. As a ghost, the girl depicted by Lidia lunking around the spaces of this story imprisoned into a frozen moment, while the time is passing and everything around her is becoming old and threadbare.

Lidia Lucilla Caldarelli, student of Accademia della Moda, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

Macabre and horrid are juxtaposed to astonishment and beauty, Decadentism to Romanticism, experimentation to tradition. In this game of crontrasts, the designer manages to make an apparently too theatrical theme something really contemporary and decidedly desirable, like in the case of her beautiful coats or jumpsuits.

Much of the credit for the success of this collection may be attributed to the skillful work of textures and fabrics combinations. To re-create the aspect of frayed and consumed surfaces she assembled with macrame and patchwork techniques small pieces of leather coming from industrial waste, while to represent corrosive effects and decadent structures, the designer applied an old-fashioned cotton lace on tweed or wool and unified heavy cable knit pieces through criss-cross cords.

Graduate collection “Grotesque” by Lidia Lucilla Caldarelli

Very refined is the color palette, with the powder blue that gives a pinch of vitality to the milk white and the grey, but also the accessories, with the particular welder’s sunglasses painted and coated with lace or the candid shopper bags in lace and soft bucket bags in leather.

Accessories of the graduate collection “Grotesque” by Lidia Lucilla Caldarelli

From FERRARI FASHION SCHOOL comes Francesca Caruso, who presented two collections already seen at Fashion Graduate Italia in the editions 2017 and 2018. 

Francesca Caruso, student of Ferrari Fashion School, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

The first spring summer 2018 collection is “Rebirth from scars”, made in collaboration with  Vibram, a company specialized in rubber soles for sport shoes which gave the starting material to realize the collection’s details. The inspiration instead celebrates the changes of the woman who, passing through trauma and sufference finds again her essence and streght accepting the scars that the life left on her body. Or rather, she finds the way to survive showing all those signes as manifesto of her rebirth. This powerful image is translated by the designer through clear geometrical shapes and the particular use of the materials, a beautiful furnishing fabric with a print similar to a scar, heavy satin, organdie and an orange rubber as peculiar element that defines the geometry of the collection.

“Rebirth from scars” collection by Francesca Caruso

The second collection “Meant to be” starts from the controversial story of the crysanthemum, a beautiful flower that in the Western culture is usually associated to the conept of death, while in the Far East it means joy and vitaly, so much to become the symbol of the Imperial Family. Apparently a dark thought that instead reveals the research of equilibrium between two opposites. That the designer turns into a balanced proportion of rich puffed surfaces and frills combined with Japanese inspired geometrical shapes and into a refined game of contrasting fabrics, like felt, neoprene, plush cotton, silk shantung and organdie, mitigated by a dark and sophisticated color palette that mixes black, dark blue and grey illuminated by milk white and butter beige.

“Meant to be”, graduate collection by Francesca Caruso

Do you remember McQueen? I mean, Lee Alexander. Yes, I know, maybe could appear pretentious and too hasty to attribute to a so young fashion designer a similar comparison. But I want to take the risk, saying that Arum Lim has the same powerful visionary. With the right proportions due to the differences in terms of historical periods and circumstances, this nice Korean girl who studied at ISTITUTO MARANGONI and ISTITUTO BURGO, impressed me with her vivid imagination and poetic approach to fashion design.

Arum Lim, student of Istituto Marangoni and Istituto Burgo, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

“A little bird in a human cage”, the collection she showcased at Milano Unica, starts from a thought about the relationship between the Creator, intended in first instance as who create the Universe and also our life, and the Creatures, namely us. God and humans. But also, projecting this reasoning toward a not-too-far future, humans, who will become the new creators, and robots tha will be the result of our creative act. God, people and robots have in common the same aspect and the same desire of personal evolution, in a perpetual research of freedom opposed to the domination of one species on another. 

Arum Lim’s collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

The organic body of human being, or the synthetic cover of the robot’s electronic parts, is seen as a physical cage that imprisoned the desire of overpower the creator to finally find the true essence and purpose of life. Not so different from our Gods, as species we’re building the same prisons for our robots, designed only to simplify our life and so deprived of the possibility to have their own soul and determinate their destiny. 

Arum Lim showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me”

The only way I have to describe this theme is…Wow! And for the collection too… Because Arum transformed the creatures’ bodies into birds, which wings are realized with real feathers or through pleated cotton, and which beautiful colors are turned into fantastic and kaleidoscopic digital prints, while they are fighting against the cage that imprisons them and that is expressed by the use of traditional fabrics, like the tartan wool, the Chanel tweed and the gabardine.

Graduate collection “A little bird in a human cage” by Arum Lim
Alessandra Cerlesi is one of the most talented students of AFOL MODA and I’ve alreday seen her collection in the school’s collective fashion show at the latest edition of Fashion Graduate Italia. At Milano Unica she presented “Intero”, a collection inspired by the shoots realized in years of activity by the fashion photographer Peter Lindberg, famous for his intense women’s portraits often in black and white. 

Alessandra Cerlesi, just graduated student of Afol Moda, showcased her collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica
Starting from their glances and their androgynous bodies, and then elaborating the ancient myth of the division of the firts unique body into male and female as narrated by Platon, the designer made a sophisticate reasoning about a kind of not stereotypical idea of beauty. 

Outfit of the graduate collection “Intero” by Alessandra Cerlesi
Always in search of her missing part, the opposite sex, to find again the sensation of fullness that only a real unification can give, the woman though by Alessandra depicts herself and her soulmate in beautiful, interconnected simple portraits, embroidered with handmade raw stitches on fabrics. 
The collection is minimal, expressively essential to underline this duality though simplicity of the geometrical shapes, the neutral color palette, with white, grey, beige and black, and the contrast between fabrics, like the boiled wool combined with cotton gabardine and silk organza hand-painted with abstract figures representing the union between the two originall souls in one. 

Graduate collection “Intero” by Alessandra Cerlesi



There are moments and decisions that can change the life. Like in the case of Flavio Zani and Jessica Edeh, founders of the brand Javio. Coming both from ATENEO DELLA MODA ITS MACHINA LONATI, for a certain period their paths diverge. 
Flavio is a restless spirit, passionate about fashion but with a great desire for everything is different from the quite routine of the Brescia’s lands. Just after the studies at Machina Lonati, he moved to Philippines, where he attended a tailoring course and worked as fashion assistant for a local designer. Also Jessica is moved by a frenetic desire of become part of the fashion world, passing from the fashion design studies to working experiences as assistant designer, e-commerce manager and then as fashion and product assistant in a hosiery factory. The moment of the great change arrived when Flavio returned from Philippines and together decided to give life to Javio The Brave.

Flavio Zani and Jessica Edeh, founder of the brand Javio and ex students of Ateneo della Moda ITS Machina Lonati, showcased their collection at “Eyes on Me” by MILANO UNICA

Effectively their work has something of courageous, because they are not scared about experimentation both in stylistic and communicative terms. The collection presented at Milano Unica, entitled “Ropes”, is inspired by the Japanese art of Shibari, born in very ancient periods as torture method or to transport goods that then became a ritual ligature system and then again a sexual practice. 
The outfits, created directly on dummy with draping techniques, are characterized by cut-on-the-bias fabrics like satin, crêpe or pinstripe wool that enhance the attractiveness of the body’s movements and that are tied by strict knots made on trimmings and cords. Very interesting are also the agender sporty jackets that combine traditional fabrics, like the Chanel’s salt & pepper tweed, to coating processes that give a touch of modernity to the collection.

“Ropes”, collection by Javio, brand founded by Flavio Zani and Jessica Edeh

One of the most feminine collection at Milano Unica and already seen at Fashion Graduate Italia last October, was that by Grazia Ieva, coming from ISTITUTO BURGO
“La Femme Libre”, title of her graduate collection, takes the name and the inspiration from the namesake journal founded in 1832 in France, the first newspapar that promoted the female emancipation and that signed the beginning of the Feminism. This movement, destined to completely change the fate of the women in occidental society, is strictly connected to developement of female fashion during all the 19th century and the early 1900s, that passed from the doll-like aspect of the Romanticism to the sensuality of the Gibson girls.

Grazia Ieva, student of Istituto Burgo, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

Grazia reviews the changes of women’s clothing of those years making a deep analysis of the peculiar elements of female wardrobe, like the corsets, the crinolines and the gloves, modernizing their classic shapes through the use of fabrics and details, giving them also a symbolic meaning. To give a boost of energy and of grit to her enchanted figures, grazia
used ecolether and hard-stiffed tulle, while blended silk cady and silk
chiffon are used to communicate their femininity.

Graduate collection “La Femme Libre” by Grazia Ieva

The crinoline represents the cage in which the women were imprisoned by the society, the wedding rings, applied amost everywhere at the end of golden chians as decoration, are the symbol of the marriage that was often imposed to women for economical reasons and from which they wanted to run away. The golden jewels, made by the designer disassembling necklaces and bracelets to create new shapes, are applied as decorations of the corset and dresses and represent the desire for beauty that all the women have.

Detail of the collection “La Femme Libre” by Grazia Ieva

The capsule collection realized by Francesca Messina, coming from HARIM ACCADEMIA EUROMEDITERRANEA, was one of my favorite at Fashion Graduate Italia, maybe because we have in common the same taste for colors and special effects. At “Eyes on Me” finally I had the occasion to take a closer look to the incredible work she made on textures and color combinations.

Francesca Messina, student of Harim Accademia Euromediterranea, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

“Messy life” is inspired by “La Cura” (“The Cure”), a song by the Italian singer Franco Battiato, that is a kind of musical poem about a universal form of love, that could be for another person, for the world, but also for our inner unconscious essence. In these terms, the designer seen in the song the story of a debated woman, who gradually manages to take care of herself returning to her femininity. So the cure is something she made against her own obsessions anxiety, to be protect from the life’s obstacles and external dangers. 

Detail of the collection “Messy life” by Francesca Messina

A sort of rebirthing path from chaos to quite and order expressed through an interesting mix of something traditional, like the old-style cable knit or the herringbone tweed, with the very contemporary touch of metallized leather and iridescent fabrics. As said before, the thing that impressed me more is the particular research of chromatism she used, that is inspired by the movie “Grand Budapest Hotel” and is perfectly in line with the current trend of candy colors, that maybe more than other can represent the youngest generation. Lilac, blush pink, blue aqua, cream, sunshine yellow and cornflowers are livening up by sequins embroideries, pleats and knit cords, mixed together to create a messy but beautiful game of contrasts on textures.

“Messy life”, graduate collection by Francesca Messina

One of the three student of ISTITUTO MARANGONI MILANO present at Milano Unica was Martina Bavaro, who presented the spring summer 2019 collection “Contrasts”.
Inspired by the ancient Chinese philosophy of Tao, which gave life to
the symbol of Yin and Yang as representation of the creation
characterized by a duality that is present in every form of life in the

Martina Bavaro, student of Istituto Marangoni, showcased her graduate collection at “Eyes on Me” by Milano Unica

Ying and Yang are included into a circle that never
starts and never finishes, representing the perfection. This geometrical
figure is also the basis from which the young designer started to
create her collection, working directly on dummy intersecting and
draping in many ways two circular shapes, in a reverse design process
that starts with the prototype and finish with the sketches. 

simplicity of these modular elements that together create various types
of garments, from poodle skirts to kimono sleeve tops and puffed or
draped dresses, is blended with a sophisticated choice of fabrics and

Detail of the outfits realizad by Martina Bavaro

The chromatism is refined, romantic and delicate, with
neutral and pastel shades that, to underline the contrasts represented
by the Tao, are balanced by dark grey and black. Fabrics are the focus
points of the collection, made using silk organdie completely covered by
handmade embroideries, sequined fabrics or with applications of gold
foils, that with their preciousness give a touch of femininity to the

Graduate collection “Contrasts” by Martina Bavaro
Next week the second part of this article with other 10 young designers!

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