Who is on Next? 2014
As promised, here’s the complete coverage of what has become one of the most important events - and opportunities for young designers and brands - in the fashion world. Who is on Next? wants to find the best upcoming designers and brands to help their business grow and be recognised all over the world. 2014 saw the celebration for the 10th anniversary of Who is on Next? in Rome, while the menswear counterpart has been held during Pitti Uomo in Florence in June for six years already. The judges that are called to decide the winners for the two categories - prêt-à-porter and accessories - form a panel of very influential people in the fashion business, such as Franca Sozzani, Tim Blanks and Suzy Menkes, only to name a few.
This year’s deserved winner, at least in my opinion, was the brand Piccione.Piccione by the Italian designer Salvatore Piccione. I can really see a bright future ahead of him, as it’s proved by the past contestants and winners of the event, such as Stella Jean who, after winning in 2011, is definitely at ease, at least judging from her awesome amazing collections - I’m crazy about her! - in the competitive atmosphere of the Italian fashion. The collection which brought Piccione to win (photo 1) had a sort of bon ton feel to it, with Chanel-like jackets, chaste cardigans and schoolgirl kind of pleated skirts in an explosion of colours and decorations. I couldn’t really figure out if his exquisite patterns were floral or abstract, but instead of being a bad thing this just added to the fascination of the whole line, because they were so detailed that you could totally lose yourself in finding a way out this perfect textiles. Multicoloured birds, bees, plants and greener than green trees are Salvatore Piccione’s world, amazingly told through his collection. CONGRATS!
The runner-up in this competition was instead a designer coming from Israel, Daizy Shely (photo 2) with her psychedelic flowers on buttoned-up shirts and puff sleeves. Remarkable was the movement given to the pieces by feathers in rainbow colours. And colour was really the focus of this collection. It’s not a case, indeed, that parrots appeared on many of the textiles; and can you think of a more colourful animal than the parrot? Also loved the colour blocking in the styling, with the shoes in total contrast with the colour of the socks.
Marianna Cimini (photo 3) was instead one of the three other lucky designers who had the chance to show in front of the star-studded judging panel. Her kimonos wrapped up by gentle bows of silky ribbons were simple and yet extremely feminine. Project149 (photo 4), by the Italian duo Elisa Vigilante and Monica Mignone, seems to be considered one of the best new fashion brands and since its foundation in 2011 it slowly but inevitably started working its way up successfully. Their style looks chic and down-to-earth, without being boring of merely wearable. I was struck by the mix of materials, like glossy silk and transparent printed chiffon which plays with the skin tone underneath in a revealing/not revealing game. But not only do the two designers like mixing prints and textiles, it seemed to me they completely mixed worlds: just think of the sporty grey jersey stolen from activewear and used here for a feminine crop top and a pencil skirt, as well as the florals used for a pair of sweat shorts. Subtle and fascinating.
Tak.Ori (photo 5), by Svetlana Taccori, had probably the collection I remember best after the one by the winner. And the fact I remember can only mean something positive. The one thing that catches your attention immediately about Svetlana’s style is that she primarily puts her focus on accessories. So this means that she designs her collection of clothes taking the complements as a starting point, and not the contrary as a designer would normally do. And this is just such a fresh idea that the uniqueness of her collection doesn’t come as a surprise. The inspiration for this collection was probably coming from sportswear with an ultra-injection of chicness and, especially, irony. Of this irony, which is often missing in fashion, there was plenty in Tak.Ori’s collection, in the patterns - the stylised mouths, for example - in the proportions - what about the extremely big hat at the end of the show? - and the use of colours, sort of fading but in any case giving an impression of extreme cheerfulness. Tak.Ori really proved that irony and elegance can walk together at the same pace.
Going to accessories, instead, the winner for this year’s Who is on Next? was the brand Corion (a detail in photo 6) for its handmade bags. The design is definitely basic, but the mix of colours, the patterns and especially the quality of the materials become the real turning point
Caterina Zangrando (photo 7) and Giuliana Mancinelli Bonafaccia (photo 8) were the two jewellery designers of the bunch. The first one has an extremely simple aesthetic, but the strength and the boldness of her designs really come from this simplicity; they just seem to say they are not afraid of being so simple. And what’s more simple for a jewel than inspiration coming from geometry in its most literal meaning? She was my favourite for the accessory prize. Giuliana Mancinelli instead had a mechanical inspiration, with colourful stones in watery shades embedded in golden bolts and gears. The piece of jewellery becomes the mean through which a woman enhances her beauty. There was also an analysis on the colours, which even if paired together look anyway well-defined in their uniqueness. Oscar Tiye (photo 9) from Jordan, had sexy shoes with vague references to the architecture of the Middle East. It seems Amina Muaddi, the designer of the brand, also has a sort of flair for marketing: she inserted the brand logo - a sort of amphora with two wings - in the shape of some shoes, like for example with two wings gently embracing the ankle in a pair of high-heeled sandals. Brilliant!
So that’s it for this year’s Who is On Next? ! But of course, I’ll stay here to comment and criticise whatever I want to comment and criticise in this crazy fashion world. And you know what’s really important this week? PROJECT RUNWAY IS STARTING AGAIN ON THURSDAY! My fashion senses are tingling! CAN’T WAIT! Stay tuned because as usual I’ll review every episode <3