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Guess Who’s Next? Alta Roma Honors Emerging Talent

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Looks from Arthur Arbesser and Esme Vie

Alta Roma, Italy’s answer to haute couture, is currently under way in Rome. And yesterday, the winners of this season’s Who Is On Next design competition were announced. It was judged by an esteemed panel that included Saks Fifth Avenue’s Terron Schaefer, Suzy Menkes, and Harrods’ Marigay McKee. The initiative supports independent designers who produce their labels in Italy. The top talents will receive an area to show their collections to buyers during next September’s Milan fashion week (courtesy of Vogue Italia), and they’ll also create an exclusive look, which will be stocked on Yoox.com.

This year, Arthur Arbesser, a Viennese designer who spent seven years working with Giorgio Armani before launching his own line last fall in Milan, co-won the grand prize. He shared the spotlight with Julia Voitenko and Daria Golveko, the Russian duo behind Esme Vie.

Shoes by Paul Andrew“It’s based on good cut and amazing materials you want to touch,” said Arbesser of his Spring ’14 offering (above, left)—a no-fuss mix of menswear tailoring and pinafore dresses, which was influenced by the figurative work of the late Austrian artist Heninz Stangl. The Esme Vie designers originally moved to Milan from Moscow eight years ago to start their shoe brand Judari, and they only ventured into ready-to-wear this year. Inspired by “elegant ladies of the fifties and sixties,” the pair’s Spring range (above, right) was cut from duchesse satin, faille, and other precious materials. Their dramatically simple shapes were reminiscent of Cristobal Balenciaga in his heyday, and the palette consisted of warm beiges and orange-sunset hues. “I think the Russian side in our collection shows in the rich fabrics, and the Italian side comes through in the simplicity and elegance of the shapes,” said Voitenko.

The accessories award went to Paul Andrew (above), a shoe designer who spent the past 15 years in New York working with Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and others. “My shoes are sexy, elegant, and above all, wearable,” he told Style.com. Andrew just launched his footwear brand this year and already sells at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys New York. “To me, ‘Made in Italy’ means craftsmanship,” he said. “So this award is a huge compliment.”

Photos: Courtesy of Alta Roma

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