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July 28 2014

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At Alta Roma, It’s in With the Old, and the New

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Arthur Arbesser and Comeforbreakfast

Framed by the storied houses of alta moda, Alta Roma, Rome’s couture week, is always a feast of exhibitions, old-world craft, and rising stars. The four-day Fall ’14 spectacle, which wrapped this evening, offered up a Hans Feurer retrospective at the Roman palace La Pinacoteca del Tesoriere; a visit to the city’s Sartoria Farani, which has made costumes for Fellini, Pasolini, and Peter Brook; a fashion performance by Ludovica Amati in the rarely seen ruins below Rome’s Piazza Navona; and Bulgari’s presentation of the greatest hits from Diane Pernet’s A Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival, which was staged in Rome’s nearly 2,000-year-old Tempio di Adriano. If all this sounds like a nostalgia-inducing, Fellini-esque fashion circus, it was. But that’s not to say Rome didn’t highlight the new—it just took the most scenic route.

In fact, Alta Roma serves as a springboard for young designers. For instance, the six new talents who competed for Italy’s Who Is On Next prize last season returned to Rome to present their Fall ’14 collections. The winner of that competition, Austrian-born, Milan-based designer Arthur Arbesser (above, left), unveiled a fresh Fall ’14 range of checkerboard knits, transparent shirts, simple jackets, sweatshirts, and shorts.

Alta Roma afforded Arbesser not only a platform to present his Fall vision (which was inspired by “Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, London’s street edginess, Memphis design, and the straight lines of Vatican tailoring”) but also an opportunity to meet his idol, 83-year-old couturier Roberto Capucci, who came backstage to congratulate him postshow. “I was a child when the Kunsthistorisches, Vienna’s art history museum, showed Capucci’s pieces with armor and gowns from the Hapsburg Imperial family,” said Arbesser. “Seeing that convinced me to study fashion.”

Comeforbreakfast (above, right), designed by Italian duo Antonio Romano and Francesco Alagna, turned out anatomically cut vests; blousons; and easy, cropped pants. Inspired by sport style, their practically unisex wares were covered in arty silkscreen prints. The pair revealed that they’ll also be showing their collection in Paris this February.

Alta Roma's Room Service

The last stop on Rome’s up-and-comer tour was Alta Roma’s Room Service, a showroom that cherry-picks unique made-in-Italy collections. Local designer Maria Federica Bachiddu (above) mixed antique ikat silks with tweeds and flannels for a lineup of reversible, one-of-a-kind capes. Meanwhile, Flavia La Rocca, another Rome native, presented a mix-and-match Fall ’14 made from recycled plaid. Her ultrasimple pieces transform via a system of zips and folds, and will be available for the next two weeks on wowcracy.com, Davide Tronzano’s new online shop, which offers collections from emerging talents before they hit the market.

Photo: Courtesy of Alta Roma

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