Angelos Bratis Takes Italy’s Who Is On Next Prize
Each July, fashion—the made-in-Italy kind, at least—moves south to Rome. The destination? Altaroma fashion week, Italy’s answer to haute couture, where acting President Silvia Venturini Fendi and Vogue Italia‘s Franca Sozzani pick the womenswear winners of Italy’s annual Who is On Next young designer competition. (The men’s half of Who’s Next was held last month at Pitti in Florence.)
The prestigious international jury, including Suzy Menkes, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Terron Schaefer and Harvey Nichols’ Averyl Oates, spent last Saturday in a sizzling-hot Rome reviewing the work of seven ready-to-wear labels and four accessories lines for the seventh edition of the prize, which rewards winners with a feature shoot by one of Vogue Italia‘s photographers and a fashion-show slot during Milan fashion week in late September. (Yoox.com, Mercedes-Benz, and Alcantara offered their own supplemental prize.)
Angelos Bratis (left), a Greek designer producing his collection in Italy, won first prize for his sleek, bias scarf-cut pieces inset with stars, while second prize went to Stella Jean, a Caribbean-Italian designer born in Rome, who created Euro-African mix of crisp pinstripe shirts and wax prints in modernized fifties hourglass shapes. Alessio Spinelli, whose eponymous shoe collection debuted in Rome this year, won the accessories prize for the innovative details of his Neon, collection like stiletto sandals with glow-in-the-dark-edged soles, or interchangeable shocking satin laces. Marta Ferri, who did a bright, floral-filled remix of fifties glamour, received the jury’s special mention.
“It’s really amazing to participate in a competition like this,” said Bratis, who spoke during a private evening tour of the Vatican with the jury and journalists assembled for the prize, a rare treat negotiated by Silvia Fendi using all her intra-Roman connections. “All of a sudden you’re in a room with some of the people who you have always dreamed of showing your collection to. So there’s 15 minutes to explain what you’re doing. And then you realize that they understand everything and that an explanation really isn’t necessary.”