TRIESTE, Italy — German fashion student Paula Knorr scooped up the Fashion Award at the 14th edition of ITS — International Talent Support,  which closed here on Saturday night.

The award, consisting of a cash prize of 10,000 euros, or $11,147 at current exchange, was decided by a jury of experts that included ITS founder and director Barbara Franchin, Italian Fashion Chamber president and Costume National chief executive officer Carlo Capasa, Diesel artistic director Nicola Formichetti, and MSGM founder and Emilio Pucci creative director Massimo Giorgetti, among others.

“It’s great because here commercial rules don’t have any value,” said Giorgetti, attending ITS for the first time. “But it’s also interesting to see that among many a tad crazy things, the best collection was very feminine, sexy, wearable,” he added, referring to the lineup presented by Knorr.

The promotion of young, talented designers is among Capasa’s key goals.

“We are not only going to include new brands in September’s show schedule, but we are also going to organize a fashion hub where up-and-coming designers will be able to unveil their ready-to-wear and accessories collections,” said Capasa, highlighting that, in order to offer them more visibility, this will be next to Camera Nazionale della Moda’s spaces dedicated to press and buyers during Milan Fashion Week.

Capasa also said that one of the next projects to be developed by Italy’s fashion association must be the creation of a financial program in partnership with specialized partners to support designers in setting up their own companies.

According to Capasa, the Camera might team up with the Italian government — in particular the Ministry of Economic Development, which has over the last few seasons supported many initiatives, including Pitti Uomo and Milano Unica trade shows — to develop projects to both offer international visibility for Italian designers and better tell Italy’s fashion heritage through the creation of an interactive museum.

“We chose him because he is down-to-earth, grounded, he is an entrepreneur so he hates bureaucracy, he cut useless costs. He is definitely doing beyond my expectations,” said Renzo Rosso, referring to the newly installed Capasa.

Rosso’s fashion group OTB, the parent company of Maison Martin Margiela, Diesel, Viktor & Rolf and Staff International, is the main sponsor of the Trieste-based talent search contest. In addition to the top prize, the contest awarded Yuko Koike, who presented a collection of hand-knitted pieces, a prize of 5,000 euros, or $5,573, and the opportunity to do an internship at one of OTB’s brands.

During the contest’s closing ceremony, a jury of accessories experts, including jewelry designer Roxanne Assoulin, footwear designer Diego Dolcini and bag designer Elena Ghisellini, assigned the ITS Accessories Award to Isabel Helf. The Austrian bag designer won a cash prize of 10,000 euros, or $11,147, as well as the chance to unveil her new creations at the next edition of ITS.

Rosso could not contain his enthusiasm for the new course of the Maison Margiela label under the leadership of creative director John Galliano.

“He [Galliano] immediately fell in love with the brand. Since he started visiting the archives, he continued saying that he could not imagine to design other pieces for other brands,” Rosso said. “And on the other side, Martin told me: ‘Renzo, you cannot give me a bigger gift than hiring John.’ Because Martin was looking at him like a real star.

“A few days ago I met him [John Galliano] and I told him, ‘You look so pretty and relaxed,’” Rosso continued. “He replied: ‘It’s you! I work peacefully, I’m happy.’”

Renzo also said that since Galliano’s arrival, the Maison Margiela company has changed the way it organizes the collections. “We used to start from the different categories, keeping the couture as the last thing. Now it’s the opposite — we start from couture and then consequently we create the other things in the way there is a fil rouge running through the whole brand.”

According to Rosso, since Galliano’s appointment, Maison Margiela’s business has grown 30 percent and the men’s-only store in Milan is registering sales that are higher than when the unit used to carry all the brand’s products.

The entrepreneur also said Marni is continuing to grow and revealed that for the first time the brand will unveil an advertising campaign, debuting in mid-August in the September issues of international fashion publications.

While he forecast good performances for all the brand’s under the OTB umbrella, Rosso acknowledged that, after a two-year restructuring, 2015 is expected to be the worst year in the history of Diesel.

“Over the years Diesel became a victim of its success, it was sold in too many stores. We had to completely restructure it with Nicola [Formichetti] and Alessandro Bogliolo [the brand’s chief executive officer]. We had to rethink the processes and reorganize everything,” Rosso said, confirming previous WWD reports. “During these last two years, I returned to work a lot on Diesel — which I set aside a little bit to focus on other brands of the group — and tried to transfer the DNA of the brand to Nicola, who now can’t wait to start doing really brave stuff. We defined a new positioning and we cut a big slice of our wholesale accounts for a total value of about 85 million euros, or $94.7 million.”

According to Rosso, the first positive signals of the brand’s new course are also coming from celebrities, including Rihanna. “She sent some sketches to realize some customized clothes for her,” he said. “Celebrities are knocking at our door to collaborate with us, which is a sign we are walking on the right path.”

Rosso added that he continues to be pleased with the performance of Diesel’s home licenses. “We are introducing flooring and we are presenting our first bathroom at the next Milan Design Week,” he said.

“I’m finally super confident about my team, Renzo is super supportive and I feel that I can finally do my crazy things,” admitted Formichetti, who said that next September the company will unveil a new Web site, which will offer “a super new way of shopping.”

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