Just as Paris haute couture week wrapped up, Rome opened its own bi-annual high fashion extravaganza AltaRomaAltaModa with five days of shows and events starting Friday. The birthplace of legendary haute couture fashion houses until the 1960s and 70s such as the Atelier Fontana and Valentino, Rome is vying to re-establish its name in the haute couture circuit and gain the spotlight by showcasing new talents along with its historic fashion houses.
The 20th edition of haute couture week organised by AltaRoma, the group behind Rome's re-launch under the new guidance of president Silvia Venturini Fendi of Roman fashion house Fendi, will see four historic ateliers on the runway as well as debuting designers and young talents discovered by the competition Who's On Next promoted with Vogue Italia in the July edition of fashion week.
The runway shows will start with the debut of Luigi Borbone, an architect turned designer with an unconventional muse for his haute couture creations, fellow architect and sculptor Santiago Calatrava. Another new designer, Cristel Carrisi, daughter of singers Al Bano and Romina Power, will showcase her brand CrisBerry on Saturday, the same day iconic fashion house Fausto Sarli will be presenting a spring-summer 2012 collection inspired by India. Raffaella Curiel, an established name of Rome fashion week, has sought inspiration in the colours and atmosphere of the splendid Salone Sistino in the Vatican library for the creations that will go down the runway the same day. Rome's Maison Gattinoni will offer its own take on Renaissance on Sunday while another brand name, Renato Balestra, will close the haute couture week on Tuesday, 31 January.
A new breed of young designers on the rise in Italy discovered by AltaRoma will also be showcasing their collections. Giada Curti's rich taste has been inspired by Federico Fellini's Dolce Vita for the spring-summer while Gianni Molaro will honour women with his eclectic style, Nino Lettieri will pay homage to the 1960s and Camillo Bona to Matrioska dolls.
The new talents from last July's Who's On Next scouting competition - winner Angelos Bratis of Greece, Italian-Caribbean designer Stella Jean, Marta Ferri, Paris-based designer To Long Nam and CO-TE duo Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari - will be on the runway from Saturday till Tuesday.
On the sidelines of the shows, more events showcasing new designers will include Room Service, the first edition of an AltaRoma project which will present a number of tailor-made collections by young brands including Bragia and Rossorame. Limited/Unlimited, a project strongly sponsored by Venturini Fendi within AltaRoma's effort to breed a new generation of haute couturiers, will see the creations of 32 designers inspired by the theme Homage, an object of desire.
Another emerging Italian talent, 27-year-old Caterina Gatta, will re-interpret eight iconic pieces by Italy's designer Pino Lancetti for the Re-edition project.