Bon-ton, mix-and-match and innovative fabrics are the essence of the new Italian style. They are young, eclectic and multitasking. They love fine details, high-end artisanal craftsmanship and they believe their unconventional, multi-sourcing way of working is more off-the beaten track than the usual ones taken by stylists or creative directors from the past.
Stella Jean, Marcobologna, Aquilano.Rimondi, Gabriele Colangelo, Fabio Sasso and Juan Carlo (Leitmotiv), Carta e Costura are among the stars of the new Italian fashion.
They come from different backgrounds, some from contemporary art, many from the “Who’s Next” (Italy’s prestigious design competition) a real scouting project organised by AltaRoma in collaboration with Vogue Italy. All of them love to mix tradition with innovation.
The Italian-Haitian Stella Jean, one of the young stylists also featured in the latest Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition “The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014″, was strongly promoted by Giorgio Armani in 2013 during Milan Fashion Week. The style of Stella Jean is focused on contrast and her so-called “Wax & Stripes” philosophy in which the bon-ton fifties meets men’s shirts and African print. It combines western fabrics and handmade craftsmanship by women in the villages of Burkina Faso. A project made possible thanks to the collaboration of the UN International Trade Centre (ITC).
Marco Giugliano and Nicholas Bologna, operating under the name Marcobologna, offer fresh and colourful collections; light dresses and fun prints from the pop mood, fluorescent colours, along with refined and trendy jewellery and accessories. After their fashion studies and first few years as contributors to prestigious brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Strenesse, they decided to create their own label and their first collection of jewellery. Within two years they were requested to exhibit their work at Vogue Talents, winning the hearts of Franca Sozzani and Anna Wintour.
On the other hand, the focus on producing luxury goods, a well refined cut, plus the in-depth research and experiments on new materials, are the key elements behind the fashion designer Gabriele Colangelo. “I have never spared on fabrics”, he said. “It is the true essence of luxury. We should always invest in good materials.” Gabriele’s design career began at Versace and Cavalli, learning the expression of craftsmanship and luxury. Every piece of his collections highlights Gabriele’s passion for precious detailing. In 2008, Gabriele Colangelo was launched in Milan and recognised as an elegant, timeless label, designing innovative pieces and reinventing the concept of grace and luxury. To understand his style better, just look at his next Autumn-Winter collection 2014-15 (the one that earned him a nomination for the Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton Prize): the most popular items are his sophisticated “3D effect” pullovers and a mosaic-style fur coat. Watch out for Leitmotiv, too. The brand of Fabio Sasso and Juan Carlo, young Italian designers who graduated from University of Dams and the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. Their style brings together beautiful tailoring, the Baroque and the Gothic. Well-known for their unusual prints on silk dresses, as well as on bow-ties for men, the Leitmotiv style is dramatic, intense and eclectic, surreal and often funny. Among the new wave of Italian designers is Carta e Costura, by Alessandra Carta and Stefano Fornari. They blend different aesthetics, historical period and silhouettes that can range from medieval dress to futuristic items.
Every piece of his collections highlights Gabriele’s passion for precious detailing.
After winning an award in the “Who’s on Next” 2007 fashion competition, Carta e Costura has been snapped up by top retailers and acknowledged by fashion editors as one of the hottest new Italian labels. Well-known by chic-fashionistas for its understated luxury and offbeat elegance, it combines couture-style pieces and dramatic detail. Collections by Carta e Costura focus especially on their trademarks: trench couture, the study of volumes and geometry, three dimensional details and traditional sartorial skills with innovative finishings, like laser cutting and heat sealing. For Roberto Rimondi e Tommaso Aquilano, knowing how to handle fabric and colour is what makes the difference between a mediocre designer and an excellent one. Their architectural and often highly embellished clothes, under the label Aquilano.Rimondi, as well as for other houses, have an impressive following among retail buyers, and their playful approach to materials (iridescent velvets, micro-jacquards, marble-inspired prints) and expert craftsmanship have made their ready-to-wear shows a must. “We believe in maximalism”, says Aquilano. Despite their very “down-to-earth” attitude, their goals are high-minded. “What we want to do”, Aquilano said, “is modernize the idea of Italian fashion.”