ROME, Italy – Under the Roman sun, AltaRoma convened once again, bringing guests from all over the world together to the Eternal City in search of the one thing that keeps the fashion industry truly ticking: its fresh talent. Top story on our home screens? The spotlight shone on artisanal crafts throughout the weekend, as evidenced by the catwalks featuring young designers but also by events such as A.I. Artisanal Intelligence or visits to factories and schools, including the always-wonderful Academia Costume e Moda where garments and costume come together in one balanced and wide-ranging curriculum.
And let’s not forget the extravaganza of the Fendi show on the recently renovated Fontana di Trevi, where the Rome-based furrier cashed in on its philanthropic desire to save this landmark of the Eternal City by being the first (and presumably only) brand to show its wares atop the turquoise waters of the fountain.
Among the highlights of this edition:
Accessories were the main focus at “Who Is On Next?”, as the scouting competition welcomed the first class of its Accessories prize in front of an industry jury more glitzy than ever, led by the incomparable Franca Sozzani. If Pugnetti Parma, an easy favorite who readily admits his main tool is the pencil with which he pare down his already simple shapes to their most essential nature, took home the highest distinction, his competitors were no less fierce in their desire to achieve excellence in their chosen craft. Among these, Schield, a contemporary jewelry brand that takes body adornment to the next level. Roberto Ferlito, its founder, plays dangerously gorgeous games with propriety and good taste for a brand whose jewels come across as boldly bizarre, audacious and terribly attractive. Mark our words, the accessories field here will no doubt yield astounding results.
At the Ex Dogana location, Clara Tosi Pamphili and Alessio de’ Navasques’ Artisanal Intelligence project offered up its latest edition, A.I. Grand Tour, a reading on the importance of Italy and Rome in artistic identities. Juxtaposing old and new brought out the influential reach of craftsmanship, yesterday and tomorrow. From the micro-mosaics of Faraoni 137 to the capes of Maria Federica Bachiddu’s Theodora Bak, from Masakatsu Tsumura’s sharp cuts in Period Features to the steampunk goodness of Stefano Russo’s creations, the inspiration power of culture and craft flexed its muscle in many different ways.
As the relentless July sun made temperatures soar to impossible heights and guests forsook the terrazzos for strolls through the coolness of historical digs (exclusively opened for AltaRoma) or the unexpected shade of a garden with a bubbling fountain nestled between fortified walls at the Villa Gentili Dominici, there was plenty of time to admire the works of its fresh talent in the Tale(nt) of Rome tours. From the Auditorium di Mecenate (where Caterina Zagrando showcased her latest wares) to the Ex-Dogana customs warehouses, home to the main event, and even to the relatively far-flung E.42 suburban district where Fendi headquarters now occupy the Palazzo Della Civilita Italiana, a masterpiece of Fascist architecture, Rome opened its doors wider than ever to showcase its artisanal talent.