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ART AND COMMERCE: Polimoda is on the roll. With a new dean on board, the Florence design school is looking to have a bigger impact on the fashion industry. “We have merged the design and business department,” said Danilo Venturi, who took over as dean in January, having previously headed the school’s department of business and communication, adding: “The industry now needs hybrids. An art director has not only to be creative but know how to sell a collection, too.”

For this purpose, the school added a fourth year to its graduate program, which students will leave with a master degree. More specialized courses are to follow, with plans to hold a mini-fashion week including events focusing on design, technology and communication.

During the Pitti Uomo trade show that ended its four-day run here on Friday, Polimoda held a fashion show highlighting the designs of 20 of its best third-year students.

The 2016 prize for best collection went ex aequo to Mirco Arena and Federico Cina. The selection jury included fashion critic Suzy Menkes; United Arrows creative director and cofounder Hirofumi Kurino; chief executive officer of Vetements Guram Gvasalia; designer and Polimoda graduate Massimiliano Giornetti; photographer Scott Schuman; head of Russian Fashion Week Alexander Shumsky; Pucci’s image director Laudomia Pucci; tutorship director of Pitti Immagine Riccardo Vannetti; chief executive director of Cannon Media Corp Brendan Cannon; former Polimoda dean Linda Loppa, and Venturi.

Arena convinced the expert panel with a run of Nordic fairytale costumes for men inspired by the Sami, an indigenous tribe living in Scandinavia. The collection boasted futuristic straw headpieces and long transparent gowns with armorlike 3-D structures made of plastic woven into them.

Cino’s men’s wear offering played with exaggerated volumes and layers, as seen on heavy bombers, XXL-dungarees and cut-off, layered silhouettes featuring in one instance a cut-off knit worn over an elongated crisp shirt styled with satin military pants and combat boots.

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