Я3∙SET. Fashion Going Off The Pitti Uomo Road at Istituto Marangoni Firenze

A new beginning without losing your roots: how talented Fashion Designers stayed true to this motto.  


By Giulia Piceni. Cover image: look from Shackles by Han Wang.

Like a frame contributing to a painting’s beauty, the charm of the rationalist architecture of the Institute of Aeronautical Military Sciences in Florence perfectly sets the stage for the outcome of the most critical learning process for a fashion student: the creation of a collection.
Although it does not belong to the Florentine Renaissance, the unusual location charmed and inspired the students with its 100 years of history.
Meeting with the press, the Director of Education, Francesca Giulia Tavanti, stated that while visiting the venue for the first time, the place felt immediately magical, the ultimate expression of Florentine rationalism for her.
At first glance, it might have looked empty on the outside, featuring a mosaic-like porch with floral glass sculptures hanging from the ceiling.
Still, looking closely, you could discover that all the details were remarkably consistent and connected with its identity.
The fashion show’s set-up had been arranged specifically for the location to meet its distinctive minimalism; the main goal was to give viewers a strong sense of consistency. 


The title was highly evocative and aimed to connect the two areas to which the show paid tribute: the Leet alphabet used in the military and Web 1.0: the first digital era. The reversed R and the point in the middle reminded me of a military code and a semantic play of words. The prefix RE also referenced a restart, a new beginning from something pre-existing. Therefore, Я3∙SET appeared as the starting investigation of different creative areas: a voyage towards the future, without forgetting its origins and roots.


Curtains closed abruptly, engines roaring and flashing lights.
Tutor Emiliano Zelanda took care of sound design; live during the fashion show, he mixed different tracks with engines and strong beats as a base, while the designs on the luminescent boards were an invention by Tutor Stefano Concutelli.
Those were inspired by chladni, a technique that showcases how bodies react to sound by placing sand on metal plates and making them vibrate. The grains’ reaction to them looks like a sort of mandala, with specular artistic images on the two axes of the plate.
This synergy between Art and Fashion proved how the Florentine school heavily relies on an interdisciplinary approach.


In the outstanding venue, the show featured ten collections of six outfits each, designed by the school’s best ten third-year Fashion Design & Accessories students.

For most of the soon-to-be graduates, those garments made up a pilot collection they would use to introduce themselves as they entered the working world the school has patiently prepared them for; through them, like a fighter military aeroplane, they would skyrocket into the fashion industry.   

Considering creativity, innovation and execution, the designers’ selection was assessed on June 5 by an exceptional jury: the Talents Scout and Director of Vogue Talents Sara Sozzani Maino; fashion journalist Giuliana Matarrese; Quira fashion designer Veronica Leoni; Vivetta Ponti from her eponymous brand; Annagreta Panconesi, creative director at Luisaviaroma, and the young creative Felipe Fiallo.


The best collections shared some common elements, the first being sartorial menswear. In this term, Marisa by Carmine Nappi made Neapolitan craftsmanship emerge along with its sacred and profane tradition.

Great attention was paid to sustainability, such as in Discover Me by Michelagnoli Agatha, who presented pants with holes made of an environmentally-conscious paper-look-like fabric.

Upcycling was also generally important and in Beatrice Dario’s collection Res, Rerum in particular; in line with the venue and inspired by Dino Buzzati’s The Tartar Steppe, the designer styled buttons and military patches from her grandfather, a former paratrooper.

Daring always pays off, and Istituto Marangoni Firenze’s designers are aware of that. Showcasing innovative materials obtained by applying interdisciplinary techniques inspired by Italian artist Alberto Burri, the plastic burnt garments ranging from collars to vests by Lorenzo La Commare made his collection Contro il metodo stand out, declaring the young talent Designer of the Year.


We needed some fresh air after staying in the dark room where the show took place. Although the weather wasn’t by our side at first, as it rained heavily, the DJ kept playing music unperturbed, with tribal-sounding beats – the best ones to shake off the anxiety of preparing the show.
With great tunes in the background and a glass of wine in their hands, the designers, runway models, students and tutors filled the night with spontaneous dancing steps. It might have been the sunset, but the overall happiness and satisfaction were through the roof. 

Giulia Piceni is an Undergraduate Arts Curating Student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. 

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