August 23 2014

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17 posts tagged "Renzo Rosso"

ITS and Diesel Make Young Designers’ Dreams Come True


Diesel Award

Trieste, an Italian town just outside of Venice, is charmingly stuck in another era. Ancient Roman relics are just minutes away (by boat, of course) from Castello di Miramare, a 19th-century castle built specifically so Empress Sissi of Austria could have her numerous nervous breakdowns in decadent seclusion. The cobblestone streets are narrow. The bars close at midnight. And the Internet connection is virtually nonexistent. So it’s ironic, perhaps, that this old-fashioned locale is home to International Talent Support, one of the world’s foremost fashion competitions known for championing the new. Founded by Barbara Franchin—a Trieste native—in 2001, the competition has given such designers as Michael van der Ham, Peter Pilotto, Astrid Andersen, Aitor Throup, and Heaven Tanudiredja their starts. Franchin has helped other victors find work placement at mega houses including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, Lanvin, Chloé, Kenzo, and many, many more.

According to Franchin, who travels to fashion schools all over the globe to scout new talent, more than 1,200 jewelry, accessories, and fashion designers applied for the 2014 competition. This past weekend, eleven finalists in each category (save accessories, which had ten) presented their collections to esteemed juries. I sat in on the fashion section, and I can tell you, it was a pretty nerve-racking experience for these young designers, all of whom were just out of fashion school (albeit esteemed ones like the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins). But considering this year’s judges, I couldn’t blame them for being anxious. Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni, Susie Bubble, and Diesel’s Nicola Formichetti were all on the panel, surveying the collections and asking questions. And considering Diesel is the main sponsor of ITS, Formichetti’s presence was no doubt particularly intimidating, despite the designer’s signature laid-back demeanor.


“This competition is very important to me because we want to discover talents when they are virgins,” explained Renzo Rosso, Diesel’s founder, who is deeply invested in ITS. “We screen eighty countries and one hundred universities. [The designers] are just out of school—they’re pure, and every year we hire one or two [finalists] at Diesel. They can really come in and help grow the brand, and it’s very important to help open doors for these young people.”

Formichetti offered that he liked the competitors who really went for it, like Yasuto Kimura (above, left), whose backpack-jacket hybrids, futuristic suiting, and matching surgical masks were inspired by Japanese businessmen jammed into commuter trains. He ended up taking the SHOWstudio Award. Also on Formichetti’s radar was Ukrainian Central Saint Martins graduate Natalija Mencej. Her extremely detailed and sternly cut menswear range (above, right) was based around, as she told it, “Japanese truckers who trick out their trucks.” Mencej earned the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana Award. “I want to see something bonkers,” Formichetti told me. “I don’t want to see something commercial—I want to see inside their world.”

Best Collection

Later that day, Formichetti got his wish. The theme behind the runway show, set in a building by the sea, was “Lucid Dreaming.” And as the designers sent their collections down the runway, it was as if all their “bonkers” dreams had come to life. Katherine Roberts-Wood took the Fashion Collection of the Year prize for her womenswear, which looked like an armadillo had been crossbred with a rose and a Slinky. And I mean that in the best way possible. It was mind-boggling how well she controlled her silhouettes despite the countless laser-cut petals of bonded neoprene that made up her wares. “It started off with the obsessive idea of repetition,” she told me after the show. “Each piece is linked together without stitching.” Her win, which came with 15,000 euros and the chance to present at next year’s competition, was much deserved. The 28-year-old Royal College of Art graduate hopes to launch her own line with the spoils.

Fashion Special PrizeThe Fashion Special Prize went to Icelandic designer Anita Hirlekar for her vibrant, maniacally embroidered womenswear offering (left). “The starting point for me was actually the reverse side of an embroidered sample I found,” said the Central Saint Martins grad after the win. “It was very organic, rather than really ‘perfect,’ so I kind of wanted to explore that and make a painting of sorts.” It took her four days to make each outfit. The stitching sometimes made her fingers bleed. Her efforts earned her 5,000 euros.

And then, of course, there was the Diesel prize. Each fashion competitor was asked to create a single denim look, and the designer behind the best ensemble would be awarded 20,000 euro, as well as a six-month internship at Diesel. This year, that lucky victor was Zoe Walters, a 27-year-old Royal College of Art grad who caught the judges’ attention with her sculptural bonded denim jacket and oversize deep blue denim shirtdress (top. I’m not a denim fan, per se, but I wanted this outfit on my body immediately. “I want to get some really solid experience with Diesel,” said Walters about her next step. “Then we’ll see what happens.”

But the formal awardees won’t be the only winners in this competition. Formichetti plans to pull some of the accessory finalists’ work for Brooke Candy‘s upcoming video. Expect to see ceramic limbs, extreme black ballerina shoes, and cascading crystal baubles in Candy’s next flick. I’d imagine that, for many an emerging designer, that’s a dream in and of itself.

Photo: Courtesy Photos

Ami’s Alexandre Mattiussi Looks Back on His Best Year Yet


AlexandreIt’s been a year since Alexandre Mattiussi, the founder and designer of burgeoning menswear brand Ami, took home the €250,000 ANDAM prize. As he prepares to pass on his crown and sash—and to show his Spring ’15 menswear collection in Paris—Mattiussi reflects on a fruitful year that included a new Paris store, his first runway show, and a revamped website. Here, the designer speaks with about his forthcoming collection, the importance of accessibility, and his little red cap.

It’s been a year since your ANDAM win. How are you feeling now?
Before ANDAM, I thought, Maybe we could win, and we did. When I do something, it’s a thousand percent, whether it’s creative or commercial. Winning the ANDAM is like winning the César. Since then, I’ve had lots of requests for advice, and I always say, “The point is to see your clothes worn.” If I were a baker, my attitude would be the same—I’d want people to line up for my cake, and it would not cost $15,000.

Renzo Rosso, who’s mentoring you post-ANDAM, said that he sees a lot of himself in you.
We share a birthday—September 15—and a lucky number, so there must be something to it. He’s helped us a lot with gaining international visibility, and he brought us cred.

So what did you do with the money?
I got a total makeover and liposuction, can’t you tell? We moved offices. I hired my intern. We redid the website and launched e-commerce. We hired a PR for the U.S. market. We held a fashion show in January; our second one is Saturday. Now I have more time to think about how I will create the wardrobe I’ve always wanted to, with a little more spice. We feel like we’re building. Three weeks ago we opened a new boutique at 22 Rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank. We’re looking at London for 2015, and New York, of course.

What’s changed for you personally?
My personal life changed. I quit smoking. People start recognizing you—I feel like a singer or something. They see me riding my scooter around town and yell, “Ami!” I love that people love the brand. They recognize my red bonnet—it’s not a gimmick, I’ve been wearing one since I was a kid. My father just unearthed a picture of me at age 8 wearing one. It’s like we’re creating this little character—people are coming to expect it. I was in Tokyo recently, and all these young people were asking me where that bonnet was, so I had to go back to the hotel and get it.

Alex M

What’s different about the new boutique compared with the original one on the Boulevard Beaumarchais?
I love the Left Bank. My mother worked in a shop there for a while. I love the energy of that neighborhood. The idea was a tailor’s shop, a neighborhood place, with a coffee bar in back. I wanted it to be chic but easy. And a photographer friend, Nicolas Wagner, is putting up a rogues’ gallery of friends wearing a red bonnet.

What should we expect from your show this Saturday?
We’re doing it at this very French high school, the Lycée Carnot. I wanted to stage a little youthquake, starting in the cradle of amitié [friendship]. That means a lot of color—yellow, red, blue, green—oversize coats, technical fabrics. But there will always be a navy jacket and a camel coat at Ami. We’re also doing more accessories, like backpacks and sneakers. I just want it to be fun, joyful, and no beards.

Why did you gravitate toward this youthful theme?
When I was in fashion school, people were less invested in their personal style—we couldn’t be, we had no money. Today, I notice that even the students are really styled and there are always super-interesting things going on in the street. When you look at young people, you realize that they are seriously cool. That said, my mother thinks I dress like a teenager—she’s shocked that I don’t wear socks with my sneakers.

This question’s been following you since Ami opened: What about women’s clothes?
I like keeping Ami for men, although women do buy our clothes. When I sketch, it’s always [a] masculine [silhouette], even if it’s on a feminine form. I love dressing women in menswear—Caroline de Maigret walked for us in January wearing a men’s suit. I say without pretense that I love what Hedi Slimane did with Dior Homme for Parisian youth. Also, I just finished working for Bally on a women’s collection that will be available next season—they gave me carte blanche, and I really had fun with it. I have one other collaboration coming up. But we’ve registered Ami(e), and I am thinking about a capsule of iconic men’s pieces for women. No dresses. But I’m 33. I have time!

What’s your creative process?
I don’t really have creative hang-ups—I can sketch out a collection at the dinner table with friends. You have to know yourself. When I first worked at Givenchy men’s with Riccardo [Tisci], we did pink lace Bermudas for Spring 2005. But I realized I couldn’t do that, and that’s why I would have made a lousy assistant. Later on, I realized that I did not want to design things that I could not afford myself. Fashion is dangerous that way. There’s an imbalance between dreaming up a dress that costs a bomb and the real world.

So what is your ambition?
I have an ego. But being a star or going on vacation with celebrities or whatever is not the goal. If it happens naturally, great. But I know who I am and what my reality is. C’est ça la vie [That's what life's all about].

Exclusive: Diesel’s Nicola Formichetti Goes Hell for Leather


Diesel Campaign

“Diesel is all about rebels,” insisted Nicola Formichetti, the brand’s artistic director and arguably one of the biggest rebels on the block. In fact, he may be second only to Renzo Rosso, Diesel’s founder, who gave Formichetti near-free reign of the house’s image when he hired the designer, stylist, and Internet whiz last year. If you think we’re exaggerating, just have a look at the Tokyo bondage party the pair threw to celebrate the label’s accessories collection last fall. Or consider the fact that Formichetti told us he’s holding his debut Diesel runway show on April 3 (that is, after fashion month) in Venice, just an hour east of the company’s Breganze, Italy, headquarters. “I wanted to do something away from fashion week, and to create our own rules,” Formichetti asserted. “It’s going to be an experience—way different from a fashion show. And it’s going to be really digital—but that’s no surprise.”

Never one for downtime, Formichetti is releasing a new leather-centric #Diesel Tribute capsule ahead of the Venice show. And the twenty-piece clothing and accessories range—a follow-up to November’s denim capsule of the same name—embodies the designer’s iconoclastic outlook. “We are elegant rebels, modern-day rebels, and I think leather sums that up,” said Formichetti of the collection. A nod to Diesel’s archive, the outing comprises a zip-front body-con leather dress; a stud-embellished vest; jeans; tees; and jersey denim bombers, pants, and intimates that ooze all the toughness of leather but offer a little more comfort. The centerpieces, however, are a hand-stitched patchwork leather bomber and matching pants. “I didn’t want to do something super-trendy, and we can’t make it very cheap,” said Formichetti of the collection, which is priced between $120 for a T-shirt and $3,800 for those patched-up pants. “You know, fast fashion is cool and inexpensive, but after a couple of months, it falls apart. I wanted to do something more timeless, something that will last and remain in your wardrobe.”

Diesel Campaign

#Diesel Tribute Leather debuts exclusively here in a campaign by Nick Knight, which he shot entirely on his iPhone. “It was all about apps and doing everything instantly on set,” said Formichetti, who famously launched his reign at Diesel with a robust social media initiative. As for the cast, Formichetti tapped the same breed of staunch individual that he has featured in previous advertising efforts. (His first accessories campaign was fronted by stripper-turned-rapper Brooke Candy, and Diesel’s recent We Are Connected ads starred Jillian Mercado—a striking 26-year-old blogger with muscular dystrophy—and her wheelchair.) “They’re people we found on Tumblr—some friends, friends of friends, models, you know, a good mix,” said Formichetti when quizzed on his fresh faces. “Pulling these unsung heroes is [important], and I think it’s so cool that Diesel’s brave enough to support them because, you know, the fashion world is crazy.”

Diesel Campaign

As for the forthcoming Fall ’14 collection, Formichetti hinted that it’s going to be a blend of the house’s signature denim and leather, but on steroids. “I’m doing an über version of my last two capsules for the show,” he said over the yelping of his two dogs, Tank and Bambi. The pups had just gotten back from a trip to L.A., where they were, as Formichetti put it, “retreating for the winter.” Once the barking stopped, he added, “Fall is all about going back to the basics—something that you would want to wear every day. But, of course, it’s me, so you’re going to get a bit of fantasy there, too.”

The #Diesel Tribute Leather Collection will be available at Diesel stores worldwide from February 1.

Photos: Nick Knight

With Strip Shows and Shibari, Diesel’s Nicola Formichetti and Brooke Candy Take Tokyo


Brooke Candy

Does Nicola Formichetti ever miss Mugler? “No, I don’t,” he said from the back of a chauffeured car in his native Tokyo last week. And why would he? In his new job as Diesel’s artistic director, Formichetti is not only allowed, but encouraged, to let his signature freak flag fly. “Before Diesel, people used to tell me to turn down the volume,” he recalled. “But [Diesel founder] Renzo [Rosso] always tells me to go crazier. No one’s ever said that to me before.”

Formichetti has scores of potentially crazy upcoming projects for the brand, like capsule denim and leather collections and his very first Diesel runway show, which will be held in a yet-to-be-determined city this March. But his latest efforts—a Japanese Shibari rope bondage-inspired accessories collection and a burlesque-style ad campaign staring rebel rapper Brooke Candy and model Tessa Kuragi—are easily his craziest to date. Featuring Kuragi and Candy, a former stripper, flexing round a silver pole while showing off Diesel’s Spring ’14 wares, the Inez & Vinoodh-lensed images and corresponding film are bound to raise some eyebrows. But on Friday night, Formichetti firmly asserted his role as fashion’s primo provocateur with an X-rated launch party at Tokyo’s Tabloid. Upon entering, guests were ushered through a bona fide sex shop stocked with handcuffs, pearl-studded ball gags, fringed whips, and various other erotic toys. Beyond the accessories installation, which included Diesel’s leather-cage booties, harness-embellished bags, bullet-studded totes, and metallic brogues, were rooms peppered with exotic dancers in black lace lingerie. Meanwhile, in a red-lit space downstairs, nearly nude experts demonstrated the aforementioned art of Shibari to the sound of a harpsichord. Their colleagues, dressed in bottom-baring gowns, lace-up boots, or hot pants, watched on their hands and knees from locked cages.

It was a night that we won’t soon be able to forget, but considering the controversial reputation that Candy has built since commencing her career two years ago, the explicit event felt apropos.

Brooke Candy and Tessa Kuragi

I first met Diesel’s new face at dinner on Thursday night. She descended the stairs of the Park Hyatt’s Kozue restaurant about an hour late, wearing a neon fuchsia wig, the label’s Spring stilettos, black arm-length gloves, and pair of latex thigh-high stockings. All this was topped with a poufy hot pink frock, which would have been positively princesslike were it not completely sheer. Accompanied by her best friend and personal designer, Seth Pratt (having also worked with Azealia Banks, he’s created Candy’s outré ensembles from the beginning), the 24-year-old musician had just flown in from L.A., where she was shooting her new Diesel-funded music video. “It’s a period piece that taps into politics, religion, and female oppression,” said Candy the following day, explaining that the narrative film follows a gang of sister wives who shed their clothes, rise up against their husband, and fight for freedom. “I’m a feminist,” she added. “Any woman who says she’s not doesn’t know what’s happening.”

With a look akin to a post-apocalyptic sex robot (not to mention song lyrics like “I wanna fuck right now”), Candy isn’t your average feminist. But her fearless aesthetic, and often shocking sexual expression, are at the center of her quest for girl power. “You have to have a message when you’re doing it,” she said, referring to her penchant for nudity. “I have an agenda. I’m queer, I’m a feminist, and I’ve said that from the beginning. But once you’re a product of the [music] industry, and you’re getting naked for no reason, then you become an object.”

“She’s speaking the language of now,” said Formichetti, who discovered Candy while watching her dance in Grimes’ Genesis video. “She looks like a creature from another planet, which is kind of my thing, and I love the fact that she raps and dances like a pole dancer—she’s fresh, she’s very smart, and she knows what she’s doing.”

Flanked by two acrobatic strippers, Candy took the stage two hours into Diesel’s raucous fete. She donned little more than a black leather harness and heels (which she kicked off halfway through the set), and screamed obscenities at the audience while flipping her pastel dreads. No doubt, she’s her own woman, and proud of it. Continue Reading “With Strip Shows and Shibari, Diesel’s Nicola Formichetti and Brooke Candy Take Tokyo” »

A League of Their Own


Renzo RossoAnyone who’s been watching the ready-to-wear shows knows that athleticism is the thing for Spring (gym gear at Gucci, soccer socks at Prada, mesh galore at Pucci, et alia). But in an interview with Reuters this weekend, Diesel founder (and ruler of the OTB empire) Renzo Rosso made a more conceptual connection between the worlds of fashion and sport. “Fashion is like soccer. Only champions make a difference,” he said when asked about LVMH’s recent investment in J.W. Anderson and Nicholas Kirkwood—two brands he had reportedly been following for the past couple of years. “We also considered investing in them, but we never expected LVMH to move so quickly,” he added. With big companies once again championing up-and-comers (Kering just invested in Altuzarra and, of course, bought a 51 percent stake in Christopher Kane in January), the game is definitely on. Here’s to the next generation of winning talents.

Photo: Jocelyn Bain Hogg/ Print