Franca Sozzani and Marco Bizzarri


NEW BLOOD: Milan’s fashion community celebrated rising talents on Wednesday night with back-to-back events organized by Vogue Italia at the historic Palazzo Morando.

The publication began the evening by revealing it was renewing its partnership with Kering for the Empower Talents program, now in its fourth edition, which offers internship opportunities with the French group and nine of its luxury brands, including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga.

Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault, in town earlier in the day for the Gucci show, was unable to attend. Instead, Gucci president and ceo Marco Bizzarri, accompanied by the brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele, stepped in to deliver a speech alongside Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani.

The executive noted that Michele was working behind the scenes for 13 years before being promoted to the top job. “I think it’s possible that there are many people that are there. They just need the occasion,” Bizzarri said afterwards.

“Leaders should learn more to try to give possibilities to the people below them and creating continuous new succession planning, but real succession planning to allow these people to be bosses, to be leaders, to do something else,” he added.

The cocktail segued seamlessly into the latest editions of Who Is on Next? — the showcase held by Vogue Italia with fashion agency Altaroma — and Vogue Talents, which highlighted a selection of emerging designers from Italy and overseas. Guests included Carlo Capasa, Mario Boselli, Anna Molinari, Sara Battaglia, Gaia Trussardi, Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi.

Giuseppe Zanotti was checking out the shoe offerings, which ranged from the futuristic metallic designs of Lodovico Zordanazzo to Akhal Tekè’s delicate hand-embroidered slippers.

“I come here to see courage. Young people who enjoy a challenge stimulate me too. The first step is the hardest because when you have a dream and you are unable to make it come true, it’s painful,” he said. “When there is an organization like this that invests in young people and gives them the hope of making it, and some of these kids succeed, that is a huge joy.”

Benedetta Bolognesi, who codesigns Akhal Tekè with Gaia Ghetti, said Zanotti’s interest was important for the brand, now in its second season and sold by retailers including 10 Corso Como. “He is a leader in his field and the fact that he liked our work is a big deal for us,” she said.

The event also shined a light on Middle Eastern designers. Narguess Hatami, founder of Miahatami, grew up in Tehran and studied fashion in Bologna, Italy. Her clothing brand, founded two years ago, melds European designs with patterns culled from Iranian art and architecture.

“In the future, the world is going to see many more Iranian designers,” she predicted. “They are so young and they have to grow much more. They have to go out and see the world. There are so few Iranian designers sold around the world. Most of them have shops only in Tehran.”

Nora Aldamer from Saudi Arabia founded her brand, Chador, in 2013 and was presenting her first full collection since graduating from The New School’s Parsons School of Design in May.

Winner of the inaugural edition of Saudi Talents Scouting, organized by Vogue Italia with luxury retailer Rubaiyat, she hopes to create a global brand with her modest designs, which hit the market at a time when luxury brands and fast-fashion chains alike are increasingly catering to Middle Eastern women with specific collections.

“I think it’s being financially smart, because they are following financial powers,” she said of the market trend, adding that she hopes to gain useful feedback from the Milan event, which is open to the public through Saturday. “To know what people think about our stuff is really important to know what to do next.”

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