Rome wants to restore lustre back to its couture week

Gone are the days of flashy couture houses lighting up the Piazza di Spagna. The 29th edition of AltaRoma, held in Rome July 8-11, marked a new chapter for the couture week event with a completely renewed format - showcasing young talent and Italian craftsmanship.

Heiress to the Fendi name and artistic director of women's accessories, menswear and kidswear for the luxury Roman brand, Silvia Venturini Fendi is also the AltaRoma president, a post she has held for the last six years. AltaRoma is a public corporation created by the city of Rome, in the Lazio region, as well as the Chamber of Commerce promoting Roman fashion and emerging designers.
Fendi, the designer and industry veteran, spoke to FashionMag about the revolution of AltaRoma.

Silvia Venturini Fendi - ITS 2016 GG

FashionMag: How has AltaRoma changed?

Silvia Venturini Fendi:  
First of all, the event is no longer called Alta Roma Alta Moda like is was in the past, but simply AltaRoma. The historic Roman couture houses have nearly all disappeared. Only a small number remain and many don't wish to put on shows anymore. That's why we've taken ourselves toward a "new-couture", for young designers showcasing Italian craftsmanship. We've also changed the location and moved to the more spacious and functional, Ex Dogana.

FM : How was the new fashion week in Rome organised?

SVF :
AltaRoma spanned over three days with around ten runway shows and several presentations, as well as special events including couture atelier visits and exhibitions. This July, for example, we invited a Lebanese designer. The idea was to see and touch our incredible craft heritage. We wanted to give more visibility of our expertise to buyers, but also major international houses.

FM : You also have the support of the government? 

SVF :
 AltaRoma is part of a common project with Pitti Immagine  and the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. The minister for economic development ICE, the promotional agency for SME to foreigners, has given us their support to see Rome become a platform for young talent. 

FM : But there are already a number of initiatives in Milan and Florence for young designers...

SVF :
 We believe that Rome should serve as a breeding grand for young talent, providing experience to young people before heading to Milan. The idea is to also provide a general introduction to the world of couture. On one hand, we look to discover new talent, and on the other, we provide support to Roman ateliers and studios. For 12 years, we've collaborated with Vogue Italie to organise the ready-to-wear and accessories competition, Who is On Next?, which has provided a lot new names for Made in Italy brand.

Les collections présentées à AltaRoma en juillet - altaroma.it

FM : In regards to Fendi, have you considered the departure of Karl Lagerfeld ?

SVF : Fendi is a beautiful family story made up several women and one man, Karl. Replacing him after 50 years of work, I don't even want to go there! As the head of our womenswear collections he has brought a perfect vision, taking Fendi toward the future, but also the fur industry as a whole. 

Translated by Benjamin Fitzgerald

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