2 posts tagged "Woolmark"
Yesterday afternoon, Raffaello Napoleone, the CEO of Florence-based fashion fair Pitti Immagine, hosted a lunch at Il Cantinori—the much-loved Italian restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village. The purpose was to discuss the upcoming Pitti Uomo (June 18 to 21), Pitti W (June 18 to 21), and Pitti Bimbo (June 27 to 29). And while the fettuccine and branzino may have been old-school, Napoleone’s plans for this season’s fairs felt forward-thinking. Napoleone told Style.com that, in general, fashion fairs are not often, well, fashionable. Pitti aims to be the exception to this rule. “We try to do as much research as we can, because the Italian and international buyers need to see something new season after season. We have to offer them something that they cannot find easily on the map,” he explained.
Addressing the press and buyers in attendance, Napoleone highlighted Pitti Uomo’s and Pitti W’s guest designers—Japanese menswear label Kolor and Paris-based womenswear label Damir Doma—who will show on the evenings of June 20 and June 19, respectively. A focus has been placed on new designers from emerging markets, with six young talents from Korea and seven from Pitti Uomo’s guest nation, Turkey, slotted to present their latest wares. And Pitti’s Italics platform will lend its support to up-and-coming brands MSGM by Massimo Giorgetti, Aquazzura by Edgardo Osorio, and Stella Jean.
Other highlights include the debut of Tom Dixon’s project with Adidas; a new premium collection from G-Star Raw; an automobile collaboration between Italdesign Giugiaro, Cerruti, and the Woolmark company; and a fashion show for Andrea Pompilio’s collaborative range with Japanese sportswear label Onitsuka Tiger.
Napoleone conceded that Europe’s economic troubles have taken a toll. “More companies are suffering, and some of them decided not to exhibit,” he said, noting that about forty labels dropped out this season. But with about 1,010 participating brands, 370 of which are from outside Italy, visiting buyers and press will still have more than enough on their plates.
Last week, the first regional winners of the International Woolmark Prize were named in the U.S., Europe, and China; following the upcoming announcements of the Australian and Indian winners, the finalists will compete for the global award at London fashion week. Style.com’s Tim Blanks was on the judging panel of the European edition of the prize; he writes in with notes from the judges’ bench.
“I’m used to being judged, not judging,” sighed Alber Elbaz more than once during Thursday’s European heat of the International Woolmark Prize. The 21 designers from 11 countries that Elbaz and his co-judges—fellow designers Giles Deacon and Dean and Dan Caten; Vogue editors Alexandra Shulman and Christiane Arp; and me as the Sancho Panza of the posse—were assessing represented the usual apples-and-oranges challenge of all such contests, but at least the criteria were crystal clear so it was relatively straightforward to edit them down to a final handful. And then Twelve Angry Men Syndrome kicked in, with occasionally heated debate among jury members. Passionately argued positions dissolved, allegiances shifted, wine flowed (for at least one juror), but it was finally those closely studied criteria that carried Belgium’s Christian Wijnants (left, with Albaz)—at 34, almost a veteran in this context—to the top of the heap with a capsule collection of knit dresses that matched expert technique to an inspired color sense. He’ll face off against Sophie Théallet (U.S.A.), Ban Xiao Xue (China), and yet-to-be-announced designers from Australia and India at the grand finale during London fashion week in February.
For me, the real pleasure of the day was watching Elbaz rise to his responsibilities. Less judge than mentor, he gave all sorts of subtle insights into his own working methods. Turkey’s Ipek Arnas showed a dress with a complex intarsia covering its front. Too in-your-face banal for Elbaz. He advised the designer to reverse the dress, and presto! It took on an entirely different personality. “Now there is a surprise,” he said, satisfied. Elbaz was seduced by the ingenious top half of J.W. Anderson’s outfit, but less taken with the skirt, so he asked to see it just with the underlying crinoline. The result was scarcely as its creator had intended, but that top truly came into its own.
“When you finish a collection, do you love it the next day or hate it?” Elbaz asked a young Italian duo. He was clearly speaking from experience, so it wasn’t surprising that he confessed to being nonplussed by the unambiguously upbeat answers he got to his probing questions, at least in the initial stages of the judging process. “Unhappiness is the motor to move things forward,” Elbaz offered. Take this to heart, designers of the future: Dissatisfaction is an asset.