By  on June 24, 2010

MILAN — In her new role as president of AltaRoma, the association that organizes couture shows in the Italian capital, Silvia Venturini Fendi plans to support young designers, map out Rome’s network of fashion artisans to leverage their strength, and add a more contemporary touch to couture.

“We must create a meeting point between new designers and our historical maisons or traditional, local laboratories,” said Venturini Fendi during a presentation of the 17th edition of AltaRomAltaModa, running July 10 to 14.

In addition to staple couture houses regularly showing in Rome, from Sarli to Raffaella Curiel and Balestra, Venturini Fendi, who is also accessories director for her family’s company, has invited Paris-based Corrado De Biase to be guest designer of the week. This will be the first runway show for De Biase, a John Galliano designer who previously worked for Fendi and Yves Saint Laurent.

Coinciding with the shows, an exhibition “Limited/Unlimited” will take place at the Pelanda space at the new contemporary art museum MACRO, with an installation of clothes by designers including Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, Albino D’Amato, Alessandro Dell’Acqua for his new line N.21, Gabriele Colangelo, Marco De Vincenzo, Sergio Zambon, Maurizio Pecoraro, Rodolfo Paglialunga for Vionnet and Diego Dolcini. “This show is meant to underscore the couture and artisanal details of these designers’ pieces, often entirely made by hand,” said Venturini Fendi. London-based artist Maurizio Anzeri, who is known for his life-size hair sculptures and his collaborations with Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, will show at the Pelanda.

Fendi and Valentino ateliers will be open for visits and the latter will present an installation in collaboration with artist Michelangelo Pistoletto on July 11. A multimedia installation will be staged at the antique Temple of Hadrian and pay tribute to Roberto Capucci, who will attend the inauguration on July 9.

Venturini Fendi also remains eager to find and nurture new designers, particularly through initiatives like “Who is on Next?” initiated in 2005 with Vogue Italia. A capsule collection by one of the finalists will be available on e-tailer Yoox, come September. “This contest is growing, with more than 1,200 requests to participate in five years,” said Venturini Fendi, who plans to put these young designers in contact with the artisans in Rome, tailors and seamstresses that produce for the movie and theater industry, cobblers, made-to-order eyewear and button-makers based throughout the city. Venturini Fendi and her team, who have a yearly budget of more than 2.7 million euros, or $3.3 million, to work with, mapped out a list of artisans and their shops and laboratories in Rome’s different districts in a new book, “A.I. 1,” which stands for “Italian Artisans, Artificial Intelligence or Italian Artists,” she said.

Another book, “Una guida su misura Roma,” by Pascal Godran and prefaced by Venturini Fendi, is a compilation of 120 bespoke tailors and accessories makers in Rome.

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