How to stage a fashion week while distancing restrictions are still an everyday reality? A difficult question, to be sure, that AltaRoma chose to overcome with determination this season. Privileging outdoor spaces and the fountain-side garden of Palazzo Brancaccio for this edition, the AltaRoma shows put on a display of talents in the eternal city – showing the world what Rome’s history in terms of fashion excellence has to offer.
One of the key moments of AltaRoma is Who Is On Next?, an initiative that champions Silvia Venturini Fendi as its president, as well as being backed by the Camera Nazionale della Moda and the city of Rome. Speaking of the exceptional edition, Adriano Franchi, director of AltaRoma, explained that stopping in a moment in time that is already difficult was not an option. “Our reference and target group [of designers] has been affected in terms of the usual resources available to them, which are often limited – resources that are linked to sales, and it’s what they need, what the brands need, to be able to invest in tools that allow them to grow and to promote what they’re doing.” Suspending this edition would have worsened an already dire situation; a solution that therefore was not on the books. With a brand new digital platform, namely AltaRoma Digital Runway, new horizons were reached.
With fewer industry professionals than usual, but with no less enthusiasm and dedication, AltaRoma presented a cluster of local and international talent, all currently based in Italy. For Who Is On Next?, designer Alfredo Cortese opened the event with his A.C.9 collection, a crisp rendition of architectural silhouettes. Geometry was masterfully combined with supple materials, using folds and pleats that created flowing and beautiful silhouettes. A pure, airy design that breathed life and an oneiric quality.
Francesco Murano and his exceptional draping skills clearly caught the jury’s eye, earning him the title of winner of the womenswear prize. Already well versed in dressing women with his masterful treatment of cuts – fans of the brand include Beyoncé, to give you an idea – Murano brought sharp shoulders and neatly tailored silhouettes to the runway.
Opulent and beautifully baroque, Des Phemmes played perfectly with excess, balancing chandelier chic looks with a more minimal, streamlined approach to the body. Alexandre Blanc brought beautiful painterly prints to life, with nostalgic femininity and precisely delineated and cinched volumes and A-line silhouettes. Vaderetro, on the other hand, was wonderfully playful and vintage, toying with the iconography of retro wear, rooted in vintage airs, combined with artisanal excellence and a fantastic study of materials.
During the rest of the schedule, AltaRoma presented stalwarts of the scene, with Dassù y Amoroso, a techno rendition of gender-neutral clothing, with PVC looks and lime green pops worthy of your greatest queer Matrix fantasy. Francesca Marchisio combined a focus on textile fibres with looks that took on weaving details, cotton volumes, and colourful inserts, while Francesca Cottone equally presented a gender-free collection, displaying razor-sharp tailoring that liberated bodies of any binary configurations. Slim lapels, cropped jackets, and flowing tailored coats all hailed the arrival of a gender revolution in tailored form.
Despite obstacles and restrictions, AltaRoma hosted the hopeful and determined generations of designers whose artistry and ambition came together to celebrate the best that Italian has to offer – craft, inventive excellence, and elegance.
words. Patrick Clark