Southern Italy is wooing Americans, and not just tourists. Apparently the heel of Italy’s boot is an untapped resource for textile and leather manufacturers, who are eager to stamp “Made in Italy” on U.S. designs. At a press conference Tuesday at New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion, a group of representatives from Pit9, an organization of manufacturers from southern Italy’s Salento region, stated their firm’s interest in building an American clientele. And they are intent on doing it Italian style, complete with plenty of sweet talk and a leisurely pace — 30 minutes after the scheduled 5 p.m. start time. Domenico Delli Carpini, director of America Oggi, joked that the conference would begin in “10 Italian minutes.”
Once under way, the panel — Silvio Astore and Caterina Mastrogiovanni of Pit9, Remigio Venuti, mayor of the city of Casarano, Giuseppe Petracca of the Lecce Chamber of Commerce and Delli Carpini — made a case for Salento’s network of small family-run operations that specialize in handmade products, from socks to swimsuits to shoes to textiles. In between emphasizing Italy’s amore for America and how happy he was to be in New York, Venuti explained that Salento is home to hundreds of small factories, many of which have worked with high-profile Italian labels such as Valentino and Moschino, but aren’t equipped to approach the American market independently. Pit9 is working to change that. Mastrogiovanni estimated that over the last six years Pit9 has invested 60 million euros to support the region’s companies and develop their production capacity. “They’re ready to be in the U.S. market,” she said.
That may be true on a technical level, but judging by the post-conference runway show, which featured original designs from nine of the region’s companies, Salento’s fashion has a long way to go. Aside from swimwear by Sucrette and Gio Beachwear, the men’s wear, mostly sport jackets and trousers by firms such as Tielle, far outshone the women’s collections, the majority of which flaunted an overtly flashy vibe, i.e., metallic leggings by Angelo Mele and wayward fur-embellished dresses by Ettore Negro.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)