In late again to cover AltaRoma, but the things I’m about to write have no expiry date . The four days of fashion shows, talks and presentations (like the Gentile Catone shown above), happened in Rome by the end of January inside the Guido Reni District, have completed the transition of AltaRoma from the stage for Roman haute couture, to a fashion hub for emerging talents. The process started few seasons ago and it’s been quite controversial. At first, couturiers felt outraged to be sharing the calendar with small upcoming brands. Meanwhile, buyers and journalists, ready to fly anywhere in the world to discover new names, neglected AltaRoma complaining it wasn’t cool enough.
The President of AltaRoma, Silvia Venturini Fendi, really committed herself to the idea of turning the event into the right place where young designers can test their collections and experience the catwalk for the first time. And the older and much respected maisons slowly accepted the fact that they can only benefit from such a change. It’s now acknowledged that many of the brands currently showing in Milano started in Rome (Stella Jean or Arthur Arbesser, just to name two), thanks to Who Is On Next?, the contest launched by the late Franca Sozzani and Vogue Italia to support emerging designers. What happened this season, though, is a further step.
ICE is an organization supported by the Italian government to promote Made in Italy products on a global scale. For the January edition, ICE and AltaRoma created Showcase, a daily format where selected brands could present their products. Some of them are quite new, but many others have being running their business for a while, outside the major fashion circuits. They have great expertise and a good range of customers, only they want to preserve their own peculiarities. They call themselves The Independents and they want to play the fashion game with different rules.
We always assume that a designer dreams of being the next Maria Grazia Chiuri, who, by the way, was acclaimed as a superstar when she showed up during AltaRoma. Well some people simply choose to be small and are quite happy to produce their top quality stuff, without growing frantically. During my last Roman days, I talked to most of them and discovered their style. Above all, they truly inspired me with their free-spirited attitude towards the business: Happiness is do what you like, the way you like it, even if this means that you will earn less. The Independents go to Rome rather than Milano or Paris because they find a community of like-minded people. If you judge a fashion week by the number of the shows, then AltaRoma isn’t that relevant. But when you start thinking about the connections happening there, it turns out the be a quality one, with an international parterre. Some Italians still look down on it: bad for them, they’re missing a chance to be part of the future of Italian fashion.
A.I. ARTISANAL INTELLIGENCE 50 YEARS LATER. A SELECTION OF GRADUATE COLLECTIONS SHOWN INSIDE GALLERIA NAZIONALE
CUMULO – AN INSTALLATION MADE WITH THE ACCESSORY BRANDS AWARDED BY THE LAST EDITION OF WHO IS ON NEXT?
MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI, DIOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR SURROUNDED BY CAMERAS AND FANS WITH SILVIA VENTURINI FENDI, ALTAROMA PRESIDENT
SHOWCASE – CASAMADRE, BENEDETTA BRUZZICHES, 16 R, FRENZLAUER
GRETA BOLDINI SHOWING AT COIN EXCELSIOR
FILIPPO LATERZA – A YOUNG COUTURIER
ACCADEMIA COSTUME E MODA – THE GRADUATE SHOW
Photos P. Lanzi, Luca Sorrentino, S. Olivieri, G. Palma, S. Dragone, Andrea Kim Mariani, F. Fior, Andrea Sgambellari, E. Rosato, C. Meggiolaro, Allucinazione