After an exciting menswear season abreast with developments, tailoring proposals and innovative fabric research, it was time to turn to the ladies. Last months, Paris Fashion Week, boasted a large schedule, featuring established names, upcoming brands and an array of new talents. For this report, we felt like focussing on a selection of exceptional and at times rather overlooked collections. Navigating through private viewings, presentations and shows: the account below is a curated reflection on the sartorial tendencies for AW14.
Over a week, hundreds of collections were shown, one event, that stood out in its simplicity, was the calm and intimate presentation of Canadian designer, Rad Hourani. The gathering, hosted in his Parisian gallery, focussed on his laboratory style women’s collection and mainline unisex garments. Curious yet innocent, the sharply cut garments, carefully dissecting the body anatomically. As always, the sober colour palette confirmed Mr. Hourani’s love for texture and juxtaposing different materials, resulting in a well balanced collection.
Another stop was made close by, to observe the atelier collection by Victoria/Tomas, where design-duo Tomas Berzins and Victoria Feldman delivered a special collection. The collection balances the usage of natural materials, leathers, heavy wools, with graphic shapes cocooning the body comfortable. Their craftsmanship and respect for tailoring, was combined with textural interplay, resulting in a meaningful investigation of design-dogmas.
If you could be anyone else who would you be? That’s one of the things we asked the lovely Miss Angela Missoni. She fell back in her chair and did not answer. It was one of the questions she has never been asked before. How could it be that a person so big in the fashion world, even born into it, was never asked such a question? Of course she could be forgiven, why would she dream of being anyone else?
Discussing the current trends in fashion, Angela exclaimed “I love high heels; I was born to be in high heels while my mother sticks to being in flats and I think that it is the biggest difference between my mother’s style and mine”. Daughter of Ottavio and Rosita, Angela Missoni shares a very tight bond with her parents especially her mother. Growing up seeing the knitwear brand bloom into a phenomenon, Angela started assisting her mother on a daily basis at the age of 20. Rosita, who has always been an ardent fan of Angela’s work, always stressed the importance of having the strength of being firm and affirmative when it came to making important decisions. Angela recalls her mother telling her “You have to do fashion when you are young and you have to be strong to fight for your ideas”. It is her mother who had the vision to realise that Angela is able to steer the brand in the right direction: “What you are doing is what I would like Missoni to be today”, with these words Rosita Missoni defined her desires for the future of the Missoni company.
Through a quick glance or a small glimpse a turquoise blue zig zag print instantly sparks the Missoni name. This is the brands exclusive competitive strength: uniqueness. Missoni holds a crucial advantage in being recognizable even without a logo. “My parents really invented the language! And I am here to update vocabulary”, a humble and insightful statement by Angela. Twenty years ago she was facing a challenge “to bring Missoni back to fashion and keep it alive” since at that time the brand had “become a more classic line and not a fashionable line”. Her initial goal was to build brand awareness not only among her generation, but to expand it beyond, into the generation of her daughters. And now, with the previous goal achieved successfully, Angela is striving to reach the third generation.
In the 60’s Ottavio and Rosita Missoni made a step which influenced the lifestyle of the Missoni empire. They decided to build their factory in a beautiful place in the middle of the country and to live just three minuets away from it. Living so close to the workplace gave them an opportunity to be productive at work and to enjoy the life they desrired. With a family business model Angela doesn’t make a big separation between personal and professional life: “I can ask Margarita: ‘How’s the baby? Are you coming with me to San Francisco for this show? What you think about these shoes?’ It all goes together”. Living in the country gives the family a specific rhythm during their daily life: “We go home for lunch. Sometimes it can happen that we are nine at the table!” says Angela laughing.
When interviewing Angela Missoni you cannot help but dream of her childhood and the one she provided for her own children. You picture large tables full of family, wine and laughter in the Italian countryside all whilst looking perfect. She herself mentions the freedom her parents gave her and her two brother’s Luca and Ottavio. This free spirit is very evident in the brands identity and in Angela’s designs. For one who wants to experience the Missoni lifestyle Angela has a piece of advice: “Try to enjoy every moment of your life if it is work or anything else. Be curious for everything! Life is so colourful because it is full of many different aspects!”.
We have been informed Angela’s other passion is for cooking. She prefers to cook original dishes depending on the season: “In winter it can be polenta and meat, in summer fresh pasta”. Missoni family has many original recipes for vegetables and they even share some of them on the Missoni official website. The family often discuss the idea of writing a recipe book and Angela’s son Francesco is passionate about this project. It is going to be not only about recipes but also about style for those perfect family gatherings.
Authenticity is not a word we hear often nowadays and in fashion it is mostly related to genuine products. After interviewing Angela Missoni however, it is the first word that comes to mind. Not because she is sweet and easygoing. But because she is a strong, confident woman who knows who she is and what she stands for. Not only has her family survived generations in one of the world’s most unforgiving businesses, they maintained their DNA while learning to evolve with every coming generation. It sound obvious, but it is anything but. Through the years she has cultivated an empire and, most importantly, learned to build her career without alienating her home and family. She is a daughter, mother, grandmother, designer, businesswoman and heir, none of which come easy. But it is her undying enthusiasm for life that has made Missoni an Italian icon.
One of the best advices given by the designer to us young upcoming enthusiasts is to be hungry for information, be a sponge for knowledge. Listen, observe, and work towards the passion that inspires you. Overcoming one of her biggest fears, which for Angela was talking in public and giving interviews, has been one of her greatest achievements. Today, after having interviewed her, it is easy to say she has mastered the skill. “Overcome your fears and turn them into a talent”, no one could have put it better. When asked about her upcoming collection she took a deep sigh and confessed “collection panic” especially being under the lens every 3 months. Tension is common until the looks hit the runway, she affirms. A good creative mind has to multitask, especially when you juggle so many projects at once.
Organizing your work life isn’t the only difficult task at hand. As a mother who takes care of her children’s future, Missoni’s Creative Director suggests we follow our dreams and curiosity. If you manage to hold on to your passion, Angela guarantees you will succeed, in life and in work. A hard lesson that she learnt after inheriting her parents’ legacy. She certainly enjoyed a charmed life, but struggled to create an identity and to make it strong. Something she has since done at Missoni, challenging the commercial aspects of the business and demanding creative change. As she puts it, “The commercial department always knows what has sold, but not what will sell”. After all, it’s the only way to fight for one’s ideas.
As every good leader knows, it takes a team to build a strong brand. So she reminds us rookies that we can be an essential piece of the design puzzle, a comforting concept for new comers who feel the pressure to take on fashion’s veterans. It’s not a matter of “me”, it’s a matter of “we”. This big small difference is what makes Missoni a powerhouse in today’s market.
Since she was young she has been thinking of others. At the age of 23 she was pregnant and eagerly awaiting her first child. She began a serene life raising her kids and only when they reached school age Angela turned her attention to fashion. She assumed the role of Missoni’s Creative Director with one vision: “I wanted to keep the brand alive, make it reach my generation as well as the generation of my daughter, and I think I have achieved that”. It takes a very self-assured woman to grab fashion by the balls and make it her bitch. She takes on her herculean tasks with the strength of a titan and delicacy of a lamb. Angela is one of the few women who have the envious task of ruling her universe during the day and still making time to have a family lunch at home. What modern woman wouldn’t want that?
Her parents, Rosita and Ottavio Missoni established this colourful lifestyle when the duo decided to build a factory in the country back in 1953. Little did they know they would raise a family and empire on the Italian countryside. Since then they have created a dynasty, worked alongside greats like Anna Piaggi and Diane Vreeland. Thanks to this heritage, Angela has seen over three generations of fashion editors and, no doubt, upcoming talents like Margherita and Teresa will see many more.
Overall, when you get the chance to learn from a woman like Angela Missoni, you truly learn to be a woman: a spitfire in the office, a lover at home and a counselor to all. If there is one lesson to take home it is this: live a happy life.
That is the Missoni lifestyle.
by Luisa Farani, Neha Singla, Tarini Sud, Martina Giambi, Marta Melini
We often speak of “up-and-coming talents” and how to support them so that they don’t emigrate abroad. In Italy, competitions and initiatives for young designers are few and far between. But one of the few, quality contests is now in its 13th year: ITS 2014 – International Talent Support, a creative platform conceived and developed by the agency EVE, which has developed a solid international scouting project, offering not only visibility but also work opportunities. ITS also enables the finalists to present their work to leading experts in the sector, who they meet every year in Trieste in a truly unique setting. And thanks to Diesel, the main partner, Swarovski (sponsor for the ITS JEWELRY Award), YKK (main partner for ITS ACCESSORIES Award) cash prizes as well as paid internships in companies are offered.
Each edition also features a theme for reflection. For ITS 2014, it is “Lucid Dreams”, namely realising you are in a dream and consciously taking part in it. Whether it is flying, facing one’s fears, acting out one’s secret fantasies, creating new worlds or meeting ourselves, the lucid dream is an intense experience and the work by the ITS finalists should represent the most intense dreams in a conscious way. A panel of experts and opinion leaders has the task of assessing the work of the forty finalists.
ITS – 11 and 12 July next in Trieste, will see some of fashion’s most charismatic figures on the panel, such as Consuelo Castiglioni (Marni), Nick Knight, Nicola Formichetti, Nicholas Kirkwood, Manish Arora, Olivier Saillard, Carla Sozzani and Floriane de Saint Pierre.
One of this year’s novelties is the launch of ITS ARTWORK, a project in conjunction with Swatch to promote a new area of the platform. The ITS finalist will be asked to interpret the legendary Swiss brand, by telling a story, a vision of the Swatch world through their own eyes, freely and without restriction through materials, images photographs, drawings or words. The winner of the Swatch Award will receive € 10,000 and get the chance to work with the Swatch Creative Lab as part of a paid internship.
To follow the selection of the finalists, follow the updates on the website www.itsweb.org and see their creations in person at the Salone degli Incanti in Trieste.
Les Arts Décoratifs Museum in Paris dedicates a great exhibition to Dries Van Noten, one of the most famous and successful “Antwerp Six”. An exciting thematic exhibition designed as an invitation to an intimate and emotional journey into the world of the Belgian designer and his sources of inspirations. Not a usual retrospective to see his past collection, but a path built on the basis of comparisons between the designer’s collections and archives of the fashion museum in Paris, along with photographs, videos, film extracts, musical citations, French and international artworks, from public and private collections, who fed his creativity.
About the role that arts play in his work, Dries Van Noten commented: “As a creative spirit I am also a huge fan of all of the creative fields, Art, Music, Performance, Literature etc etc. They all impassion me and ennoble me in my work. As a fashion designer I have been particularly drawn and excited by a growing passion for textiles in all of their aspects, print, texture, colour, technique and tradition over the years. It has been a constant source of gratification for me that I have managed to learn so much over time and I especially enjoy being able to apply that what it is I have learned to my craft, in my studio, with my team and with my collection. Sharing this increased knowledge and understanding of fabrics is truly one of my greatest pleasures as a designer today, this is certainly true of my team yet is especially true of my relationship with those who wear my clothes! Having the opportunity and honor of having access to the textile archives of Les Arts Decoratifs was a true gift in my life.”
After an enthralling start of the year, with the menswear trade weeks of Florence, Milan and Paris now behind us, we travelled North to experience Copenhagen Fashion Week, where an array of collections was on display. Over three days, we witnessed a curated selection of womens and menswear designers, some already internationally active, some steadily building and others completely at the beginning of their careers. Scandinavia tends to slumber along the long and dark winters, where functionality is key in most wardrobes. Layering is often needed to brave the crisp elements and colour seems rather underplayed. How perceptions can be deceiving…
The week proved to be one of diversity, with local heroes such as Designers Remix, Bruuns Bazaar, Malene Birger and Mads Nørgaard providing clean utility wardrobe essentials. For this report, we would however like to focus on talent, and its profound impact on the fashion landscape.
An absolute highlight of the week, was Asger Juel Larsen‘s take on modern menswear. Rather eccentric, yet wearable, his army of galactic warriors, marched upon us, in the vibrating old Copenhagen city hall. Brazen and prepared, the interplay of graphics, textures and innovative fabrics really struck the audience. Larsen is able to maintain a sense of relevance in menswear wardrobes, keeping it both refreshing and well tailored. Special was also the collaboration with shoe-makers The Last Conspiracy, resulting in a series of silver and black handcrafted hi-top sneakers, completing the collection well.
Another strong collection was delivered by Faroese designer Barbara I Gongini, who managed to present both her MAN and WOMAN collection together. The sober colour palette was broken down by intricate knitwear pieces, heavy wools and sheer japanese cottons, playing wonderfully with volume and dimensions. This designer succeeded in dissecting the darker universe into wearable and beautifully constructed garments.
On the occasion of its spring-summer 2014 Haute Couture Show, the house of Dior invited eighty-one students drawn from the world’s best fashion schools to Paris for an unforgettable visit. Three of them are from Polimoda: Olivia An Dayoung from Fashion Technology, Vladimir Makhalov and Claudia Susini from Fashion Design. They haven’t lost the opportunity of taking advantage of this unique trip, planned as a veritable initiation into the world of haute couture for these students who will be among the future faces of design.
Getting the exclusive chance to discover the collection that was being readied for its public unveiling, they were first immersed into the adrenalin-filled pre-show atmosphere when they received a guided tour of the Dior ateliers.
The following day, the students explored in detail the history of the house and its founding couturier in a series of conferences in Monsieur Dior’s salons at 30 Avenue Montaigne. Lastly, they went to the Musée Rodin to attend their first show. Later on, it was backstage, after the show ended, that some of them were able to observe the clothes up-close and to appreciate the finesse of the details realized by hand by the Dior ateliers, while others took advantage of the opportunity to share a few words with Raf Simons.
Alberto Lattuada ci ha lasciati.
Un grande Maestro e un grande uomo, sia nella sua attività professionale che nella vita.
Ci ha donato una grande eredità di stile e di eleganza anche per come ha affrontato la sua malattia e il suo ultimo viaggio, verso un altrove che per lui sarà pieno di colore e di spunti fantastici.
Era stato docente di Fashion Drawing al Polimoda per ben 14 anni dal 1992 al 2006, lasciando in eredità all’Istituto alcuni interessanti progetti e altrettante tavole grafiche, che per molto tempo hanno tappezzato i corridoi, le aule e gli uffici della scuola.
Non sempre un fervido e geniale artista si rivela anche un bravo insegnante.
Sono mestieri assolutamente diversi.
Anzi sono assai frequenti i casi di celeberrimi maestri, pittori e scultori del passato, che non hanno mai avuto una vera e propria scuola, intesa come seguito, come enclave di discepoli a cui passare il testimone in linea diretta, ma che piuttosto hanno lasciato traccia solo all’interno della “bottega”.
Lattuada dunque, giustamente considerato il più importante illustratore di moda italiana del Novecento per qualità e quantità di produzione, definizione questa da cui egli cercava sempre di prendere le distanze per eccesso di modestia, ha dimostrato con il suo tratto visionario e realistico assieme, raffinato ma graffiante, di aver impresso un segno indelebile nella storia del gusto e della grafica, interpretando le continue oscillazioni del costume contemporaneo con un linguaggio soltanto suo, riconoscibilissimo, ma mai uguale e prevedibile.
Avrebbe potuto quindi rimanere brillantemente fecondo nel proprio campo specifico di interesse, senza correre il rischio di volersi mettere alla prova in quello comunque diverso e insidioso dell’insegnamento.
Invece, dal 1992, ha intrapreso nelle insolite vesti di professore un fortunato e fruttuoso percorso che si è protratto per ben un lungo arco cronologico al Polimoda di Firenze, riuscendo a plasmare nuove generazioni di fashion designer e di giovani insegnanti e dimostrando, senza alcuna premeditazione, quanto sia stato a lui congeniale trasmettere non solo conoscenze tecniche e disegnative, ma anche tutti quei sottili elementi necessari ad una maturazione più ampia e individuale dei suoi allievi.
Così, Alberto, ha regalato testimonianza diretta di stile e innato talento che sono stati elementi di stimolo fondamentali per tutti i suoi studenti, anche al fine di esortarli verso una via espressiva di originalità e di pilotata anarchia creativa, mostrando così di essere insegnante sensibile alle attitudini individuali e di saperle valorizzare, mai sopraffare con la propria talvolta ingombrante personalità.
Gabriele Papi has always had a strong passion for art and fashion. After he graduated in 2010 at the Art School Leon Battista Alberti in Florence, he started his adventure at Polimoda. In his second year, searching for new trends and forms, he made his first men’s collection. He was inspired by bondage, street style, the 80’s and a pinch of Japan. The concept of this collection was born from a trip Gabriele took to London, when by chance he found himself in a jewish ghetto.
As himself states: “I took a walk in the neighborhood, disoriented, I look around. I didn’t noticed that the and the neighboring area of the park with a fountain, was populated by black figures. Characters that appear to come from a lost past, cold individuals, dark appearances. Coat ankle-length, austere faces, framed by a mane of curly hair, long beards, bushy, as their entangeled thoughts.” This volcano of emotions and feelings translated into fashion in his autumn-winter collection 2013-2014 “STRAIGHT TO MY BEAT”: a journey of research that leads to the fusion of two worlds (one more introverted and the other more vigorous), perfectly described by this previously unreleased video.
After that, Gabriele won a well deserved scholarship and is now in Japan at the Osaka Bunka fashion school where he will introduce a new collection in February 2014.
Florence has won over London thanks to a mix of quality and vanity, positioning men as new women to dress up every day no matter the occasion. It’s a vision affirming a precise style counting on high standards of quality, mixing traditional tailor-made with an attention to latent socio-cultural trends, and in the end also selling. Dear London, being trendy is not enough. One has to be on trend. Subtle but substantial difference.
Apart from Prada, Milan has gone with safe sex again and Paris has done a butchery of it. Yamamoto’s mature post-atomic flâneur has flowered again. Viva Baudelaire et les fleurs du bien. Le mal[e] came with Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons, after all. Dries Van Noten’s minimal maximalism and Raf Simons’ futuristic vintage have refreshed that taste for deconstructions typical of the Belgians. The first, disjoining and rejoining the elegant outfit with the rave mood (space), the second showing the subcultures from the 80s like if they were supposed to happen in the future (time). Damir Doma has been a confirmation: no tricks, no styling, 100% design. Bravo. Rick Owens, aggressive and breathtaking show as always. Given-Tici by Riccardo Tichy is smart, in a good sense. Paris is a patchwork of brands and designers keeping the attention high, and collage as a technique is dominant in many collections. It’s important, collage is a methodological or method[illogical] form of error, a transitory activity where fragments of the past are assembled in a non-linear way, giving the possibility to generate the future, the unexpected. Not a reshaped heritage but an UN-EX-PECTED form. It means fashion is living a catharsis and there will be something after the hedonism of the 80s, the subconscious of the 90s and the nothingness of the last decade.
In this moment Paris is granting that the unexpected can still happen and Florence is granting tailorism will never die because able to update itself. That’s why they won over Milan and London. It’s not about football matches but the CITY as a collective dimension counts also in fashion. It’s in the third skin made of walls, streets and monuments that the second skin made of textiles can become a movement, a slogan, a direction penetrating the first skin, the epidermis, and representing the essence of fashion: to show what we are and what we can be. Without any transition of socio-cultural messages through these skins there’s only commercial clothing and wasteful embellishment. No thanks.
Now that Milan is ground zero something historical must happen in Italy. Do we give space to new designers? Are there any left? Do we move fashion back to Florence where something new is fermenting? Maybe. It’s not a discourse made for Italy only, it’s because without a counterpart Paris would become boring as well. Fashion, like everything, needs plurality. Multipli[city].