By  on July 21, 2005

ROME — In a country where Dolce & Gabbana are widely considered the latest new designers, the need to find and support a fresh generation of talent is becoming a priority.

The issue was addressed by the Who Is on Next award created by Vogue Italia with the support of Alta Roma, the body that organizes the city’s couture shows.

“We need fresh blood for a new generation of designers and a sense of continuity — the last successful designers are now over 40,’’ said Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia. “We offer a negative image in a world that moves constantly. I’m not so optimistic as to believe that there will be a big new designer every year, but experimentation creates movement and this is positive.

“Who’s on next? This is what people ask me all the time and I don’t have an answer,” she added, pointing out that Paris, on the other hand, can list Olivier Theyskens and Phoebe Philo, for example, as recent successful designers. 

On July 11, six months after the launch of the contest, the three winners — Albino, the 6267 label and accessories designer Carlo Alberto Pregnolato —staged their runway shows at Rome’s Auditorium, designed by Renzo Piano, where most of the couture shows are held. The other six finalists, chosen out of 300 candidates, also showed their collections: Isabella Tonchi, Alessandro Cannavò, Bureau de Chance designers Stefania Bertoni and Lara Canal, Corto Moltedo, Francesca Rossi and Matteo Thiela. In September, the winners will show their spring-summer collections in Milan during fashion week. They also will appear on the pages of Vogue Italia and receive a monetary award.

Albino D’Amato, 31, who has worked with Emmanuel Ungaro, Guy Laroche, Emilio  Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani, showed pleated short dresses inspired by Jean Patou and Givenchy. One of Albino’s best looks was a canary mink-fur vest worn over a powdery blue satin blouse and dark shorts. The line is available at Biffi, Milan; Maria Luisa, Paris, and Harvey Nichols, Hong Kong, among others. Albino said he wanted to give his own “fresh and contemporary spin” to sophisticated looks and deconstructed shapes.

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