MILAN — While international buyers were flocking to Milan for fashion week, the city’s Tortona district was buzzing with Super, the trade show organized by Pitti Immagine and running Feb. 22 to 25, concurrently with White Milano.
“We all have benefited from this creative atmosphere and we are reaping the rewards of our efforts aiming at attracting more buyers from all over the world,” said Raffaello Napoleone, Pitti Immagine’s chief executive officer. “Italian companies are asking to boost the image of Milan as an international fashion crossover, starting from fashion shows to business-oriented fairs, as it’s happening in Paris.”
The increase in the number of visitors was “much better than expected,” noted Napoleone. Super featured 108 women’s ready-to-wear and accessories brands showcasing their fall-winter 2019-20 collections, and 43 percent of them came from abroad. Those brands attracted nearly 5,700 visitors, with a 21 percent increase in buyers compared to the February 2018 edition. Around 20 percent of buyers came from outside Italy, mainly from Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, the U.S. and China.
International scouting is a priority for organizers, who brought 50 entries to Super. Case in point: Stand, a Scandinavian label founded by designer Nellie Kamras, who played with the traditional concept of faux-fur coats through a number of leopard prints.
Alessandro Enriquez presented his Sexissima collection, comprising fun shirts, skirts and dresses with prints of Parisian nightclub dancers in a Fifties atmosphere, for example, or a set of “Sex Voto,” where hearts and naked lady parts play on the Catholic “ex-voto” religious pictures. The designer’s collection mottos this edition were “Viva, Viva, Viva!” and “Femmina, femmina, femmina!” (woman in Italian). The designer asked some famous women to wear his key items: among these, Coco Chanel’s grandniece Oona Chanel; journalist Renata Molho, and former top model Dragana Kunjadić. A capsule collection featured the Pink Panther character, through a partnership with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Young Italian designer Stefania Marra presented her brand Stma, founded three years ago. Marra played on a vintage mood and on a Seventies-inspired femininity. Examples were the Tigra print — a tiger-woman who was the symbol of a Seventies Belgian pack of cigarettes, strong, beautiful and sensuous at same time. The vintage mood was also found in a collection of preppy and college-style shirts and sweaters. “We have just launched a collection for girls aged from six to 12, and we are also working on our e-commerce platform, due to launch this spring,” said Marra.
Amedeo Piccione’s Peech showcased a richer collection this year with precious details reminiscent of the costume jewelry industry, where Piccione started as a designer, with stones decorating fringes on dresses. There were also geometric prints, which appeared to be inspired by “The Matrix,” Roman and Greek antique columns and colorful lines that created modern skyscrapers.
A boho-chic atmosphere marked brands such as Caban Romantic and 5 Progress, Madam Handbags and Shirtaporter. Ethnic capes and pea jackets, jumpers and coats were enriched with handmade embroideries, floral patterns and prints of teddy bears and popcorn. Loredana Comotti, ceo of both Caban Romantic and 5 Progress, explained that the common thread was “a joyful and colorful mix and match that is well appreciated in Italy, the U.S., China and Japan.”
Maurizio Massimino presented his namesake brand together with his wife, Cristina Massignani: a collection of denim jeans handmade in Veneto, Italy. “It’s a long process, every piece is handcrafted and we can give our customers the chance of customizing the items,” said Massimino. “We love the potential of denim and we are also thinking about launching a kids collection.”
There were also interesting accessories companies such as Italian designer Fernando Pezzuto at Dafdesign with a bag collection “inspired by my grandmother’s clutches,” Pezzuto said. “We also try to recycle everything: some bags are made with unused tapestry, other bags have been sewn with old trousers or sweaters,” Pezzuto explained, “then we renew them all with a luminous touch of glitter or a bold color.”
Super’s first floor was dedicated to Armenian and South American designers. Shabeeg was founded by Mary Sukiasyan, who aims to bring Armenian heritage around the world. Cilicia, the latest collection, takes its inspiration from the monks and the scribes of the ancient region of Cilicia (now part of Turkey). Lions, crowns, angels and faces — references to Oriental meditation — were the main features of this collection.
Loom Weaving by Inga Manukyan stood out for its braiding work. Vibrant colors like yellow, red and orange lit up the interlaced yarns and the handcrafted knitting technique. Founded in 2014, Loom Weaving has reached Russia, Switzerland and Los Angeles.
Born into a family of artists, every year Vahan Khachatryan presents a collection inspired by the world of art. The fall season is a tribute to the late Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico and Florence, the city where Khachatryan has lived for 10 years, and its beautiful sculptures, for example. The collection also features skirts pleated by Armenian workshops now in Lebanon, while the rest of the production is made in Armenia.
In the South America designers area, knitwear, no-gender and sustainability were the main topics. Four designers were selected in collaboration with Sara Sozzani Maino of Vogue Italia and Vogue Talents. Brazilian Lucas Leão debuted with a handmade collection made of recycled plastic and shaped by gender-free forms, wide and colorful. No-gender was also key for another Brazilian brand called Led, designed by Célio Dias, a designer who is committed to social protest movements in Brazil. Recycled fabrics were the main feature of Docena 12-na, a Chilean platform founded by Mercedes Martinez.