viva l’italia! the italian fashion moment continues at pitti
On the last day of men’s shows in Florence, Marco de Vincenzo brought some Italian womenswear power to the table, while adidas and White Mountaineering got sporty in the sartorial paradise of Pitti.
Italian fashion is currently having its biggest moment in years. The comeback isn't just down to the new stars of Milan -- Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Peter Dundas at Roberto Cavalli, Massimo Giorgetti at Pucci -- but an overall fighting spirit in the Italian industry to protect the identity of Italian fashion. Pitti Immagine, the Florentine menswear fair now in its 44th year, has played a huge role in this, constantly reinventing itself by giving a wealth of young designers from around the world a platform and a spotlight they wouldn't be able to get at Milan Fashion Week where multiple shows are fighting for the attention every day. Pitti is known as a sartorial Mecca for the tailoring segment, who strut their sports car suits and fancy beards around Florence, and it's exactly by challenging this image and constantly contrasting it with the opposite that Pitti has done its part in protecting Italy's fashion identity.
"We wanted to connect the past and the future, and mix them together," Nic Galway, vice president of global design at Adidas, said after the sportswear giant's show with the young Japanese sportswear brand White Mountaineering on Thursday evening. "By working with White Mountaineering I'm able to show the very latest innovations but have them be in a different way," he explained, noting that all the materials used in the collection -- which fused White Mountaineering's urban performance vibe with Adidas' more athletic trademark -- were created for athletes. With its techno light show and elaborate choreography (how do the models remember all of that?), there was something quite Yeezy about the parade-like nature of the show, but that approach is all in the Adidas family -- and it works. "Pitti does gentleman's clothes, so to show sportswear here is very interesting," Yosuke Aizawa of White Mountaineering said, highlighting the concept that's kept Pitti at the top of the game.
"Now sportswear and tailoring all cross over-there's no boundary, and it's very important to show these borderless clothes at Pitti," he continued, echoing the sentiment of the Juun.J show the night before where the Korean designer showed garments covered in words like "boundaryless." "Fashion is the best way to express the state of society. Fashion's DNA is culture," Marco de Vincenzo said at his womenswear presentation at the newly reopened Teatro Niccolini earlier in the evening. "So it's the perfect moment for Italy right now to come back to its roots and to find a personal way to make fashion." Just a few years into his eponymous label, de Vincenzo -- who also designs bags for Fendi -- was the first young designer in Milan to be picked by the fashion press as the guy who'd save Italian fashion. "For a long time we were looking for something that wasn't in our culture. Designers looked at English fashion and tried to combine it with-it's a strange combination! It's not right."
"We are maximalists, we are adornists, we're a culture of quality and difference of personality if you think about the great designers we had in the past. This is the moment for us, for our identity to take off, and I'm very happy to be one of the young designers considered as part of this new wave. I love what Gucci is doing, working a lot on our culture," de Vincenzo said, surrounded by the installations he'd done in collaboration with the Florentine artist Patrizio Travagli in homage to the famous theater, which has been closed for years. Based on the magic of theater, de Vicenzo used his geometry-centric clothes to create optical illusions. "A year ago I met Patrizio Travagli, who worked with me on a set for a fashion show in Milano. We have a similar vision. We like the three-dimensional effects, the illusion, he loves geometry and repetition and refraction."
"And I thought this was an opportunity for both of us to make something together. For an emerging designer it's not always possible to collaborate with an artist because it's very expensive, so thanks to Pitti for giving me this opportunity," he said, noting that the leather dresses which appeared in big glass boxes were a nod to Italian heritage, too. "We're in Tuscany and it's the best place to work with leather. It honors the city we're in." As fashion gears up for the men's shows in Milan, the industry rumor mill is spinning like never before about who will take over the two houses currently unoccupied by designers -- Lanvin and Dior -- as well as apparently-imminent changes at other houses. But for Vincenzo, who is part-owned by LVMH and whose name inevitably comes up in the speculation these rumours generate, there's no haste. "I'm conscious about the energy around me, but at the moment my collection and my job at Fendi are enough," he smiled. "I work all day!"