Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Everyone knows Pitti for the trade fair in Florence that takes over the city twice a year with some of the best menswear designers in the world. Though the organisation behind this, Pitti Immagine, also run other major fairs, including their womenswear offshoot in Milan, SUPER. This is what I visited, and with this season’s move to a new location, along came a higher quality and selection of designers. Here are a few of my picks, four of whom were a part of the SUPER TALENTS section, selected by Sara Maino of Vogue Talents and Italian Vogue:
Hellen Van Rees – The work of this Dutch designer is cognitive but not overly worked, and her use of textiles is particularly strong. Van Rees uses left over yarn from factories in the Netherlands to make her heat-pressed textiles. She also experimented this season with silicon layers over cotton, knitwear, and pleated silk, giving weight and drop to what would otherwise be predictably floaty pieces.
Little Shilpa – I remember when I saw Shilpa’s work 2 years ago at Silencio in Paris. It was totally wild, which is why this collection surprised me a little for its air of 70s sport and totally wearable pieces, but in a good way. Change is good! The season is based on Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire, where hand-beaded wilting flowers adorned shirts and accessories. I’m particularly fond of the ‘summer beanie’ that shows off the best of Shilpa’s millinery skills, and another piece that felt like a mix between Dame Edna Everage and yourself, Diane!
Gentucca Bini – As the special guest designer at SUPER tris season, Gentucca not only presented her function- and construction-driven capsule collection, but also, appropriately, dresses all the staff at the fair in her overalls, summer boiler suits, and gingham onesies. Bini has been in fashion for quite some time, formerly at Gianfranco Ferre, Chanel and the assistant to Andre Leon Talley, but when she’s not designing clothing she works as an architect, and this comes through in her garments.
Taller Marmo – based in the UAE, Argentine Yago Goicoechea and Italian Riccardo Audisio design incredibly romantic clothing for everyday use. They used ancient ottoman drawings for their rich Como-produced jacquards and never skimp on the details. It’s refreshing to see designers paying such close attention to buttons, lining and piping. With the world’s collective anxiety only building, I can’t think of anything more necessary than a cloth-covered button.
Salo Shayo – Last but not least is Salo Shayo who has been quietly building his brand over the past few years. With always references to his home country, Salo translated this season ‘Tropicana’ into something soft and not at all a stereotype of Mexican culture, save for some irony. Indeed there’s lovely narrative throughout his work, as well as a personal touch.