By Giulia Piceni.
Paris Fashion Week has gained a reputation for being one of the most interesting and diverse fashion events in recent years. To highlight its international appeal, Paris has included six Italian brands and designers, both emerging and mainstream, in its Spring Summer 2024 calendar. Paris Fashion Week has always had an eclectic soul; on any given day, you can see the eerie creatures of Rick Owens coming out from the techno arena of Palais de Tokyo and the timeless elegance of Lanvin. In a nutshell, the greater the contrast, the better the experience!
Are Italy and France still rivals in fashion?
Italy and France have a long history of conflicts, and the rivalry gets even harsher when it comes to fashion. Historically speaking, Italy and France can be considered two cousins. They share some unresolved issues (try mentioning “Gioconda” to an Italian and expect a clear explanation of how they plan to bring it back), and there has always been intense competition in fashion. The Italian fashion system is well known for its inability to support young talents, while big fashion companies based in France, such as LVMH and Kering, are certainly good at attracting brands and designers to their courts. That might explain why many emerging Italian designers decided to present their collections in Paris instead of Milan.
Paris Fashion Week trends for Spring Summer 2024 according to six Italian designers
The upcoming PFW is expected to showcase the debut of several designers, such as Peter Do for his eponymous brand and Stefano Gallici for Ann Demuelemeester), revive stagnant or old yet artistically rich brands (Victoria Beckham and Courreges, among many), and re-establish the dominance of big names in the industry, with Dior and Saint Laurent being the dream-to-attend shows.
Marking the end of the four most influential Fashion Weeks after New York, London, and Milan, Paris featured six Italian names you don’t want to miss. Here is a quick list of must-watch shows!
1. September 26th: Niccolò Pasqualetti
Niccolò Pasqualetti’s creativity straddles the worlds of art and nature, dreams and poetry. His work serves as the intersection between the Italian sartorial tradition and genderless fashion.
After graduating from IUAV in Venice and working with The Row and Loewe, Pasqualetti founded his eponymous brand in 2021. His talent was quickly recognised with the Franca Sozzani Award at Who Is Next? in 2021, and he was also a finalist for the 2022 LVMH Prize. An impressive start, right?
The emerging Italian designer eventually decided to make his debut last season at the Paris Fashion Week and will rock the runway again this season with his SS 2024 collection. Pasqualetti’s trademark elements are experimentation with cut, silhouettes and textures along with show-stopping jewellery pieces, making this name the next hot brand to keep an eye on.
2. September 27th: Marni
With strict cuts, vintage echoes and prints as its key features, Marni is a colourful and playful brand founded in the late 90s by the Italian duo of Consuelo and Gianni Castiglioni.
Renzo Rosso’s OTB Group acquired Marni after Consuelo Castiglioni ran it independently for almost two decades, leading her to step down in 2016, marking the end of an era.
Nonetheless, the brand is now experiencing a highly productive phase both in terms of creativity and economically speaking. The Creative Direction has been under Francesco Risso’s supervision since the FW 2017 collection. Risso is an incredibly cultured fashion designer who worked with Miuccia Prada for 8 years, eventually becoming her protegé.
Known for his boldness in knitwear, Risso has all the necessary ingredients from Marni’s archive and his knowledge to put the brand in the spotlight at PFW. Can’t wait to discover the new collection!
3. September 28th: Schiaparelli
They used to call her La Belle Laide (The Ugly-Beauty), and Coco Chanel referred to her as La Italienne in a demeaning way.
Elsa Schiaparelli was indeed a girl of a kind. She came from a wealthy Roman family but was kicked out of her home at 16 for writing erotic poetry. She left for Paris, where she found what she thought was love and her passion for fashion –at least, that’s what she wrote in her autobiography.
Her career took off with a simple black and white sweater with a knitted trompe l’oeil ribbon, and soon she was dressing influential personalities like Wallis Simpson and collaborating with Salvador Dalì.
Unfortunately, the Schiaparelli brand went bankrupt before World War II and was forgotten after the conflict, along with the extravagant era it represented. Thanks to the appointment of Daniel Roseberry as Creative Director, an American in Paris just like the 1961 musical, the Surrealist brand was resurrected and regained its former fame.
As Paris Fashion Week approaches, the expectations couldn’t be higher. After past designs, including lion heads attached to evening gowns and chandelier dresses, what innovative surrealist creation will Rosberry present this time?
4. September 30th: Ann Demeulemeester
Paris Fashion Week will feature another much-awaited debut: Stefano Gallici as the Creative Director of Ann Demeulemeester. Born in 1996 and a graduate of IUAV in Venice, Gallici previously worked as an assistant designer to Haider Ackermann in Antwerp and later joined the menswear creative team at Ann Demeulemeester in Paris. Stefano Gallici may not be a well-known name in the industry like De Saint Sernin, but after almost 4 years working for the Belgian brand, he has certainly gained all the necessary skills to create a collection that stands out and won’t be forgotten after a few reposts. The artistic value of last season’s garments from Ann Demeulemeester weighed nothing, maybe a few grams, just like the feathers covering the models’ breasts in the opening and closing looks.
Sometimes, talent can burst onto the scene like a flame, burning bright and hot before flickering out. This seems to be the path that Ludovic De Saint Sernin has experienced, both at the Belgian-founded brand and at his eponymous label. While he initially made waves with his genderless designs, his recent work has slowly grown into a tired homoerotic narrative. We are now eagerly anticipating the new direction set by Gallici and wish him good luck!
5. October 1st: Valentino
Let’s delve into the world of rockstar fashion brands from every perspective. Pierpaolo Piccioli, a creative designer at Valentino, showcases his talent for elegance and timelessness, one collection after another. As the successor of the legendary Emperor of fashion, Valentino Garavani, he continues to dress modern princesses, transforming even the most ordinary garments into show-stopping pieces with great attention to detail.
Recognisable for his focus on accessories and clean lines, the new Valentino collection by Piccioli is set to enchant the audience at this year’s Paris Fashion Week.
6. October 1st: Quira
A name hard to forget, Quira by Veronica Leoni is among the most promising young talents in Italy’s fashion scene. Along with other Italian-based brands like Magliano and Setchu, Quira was a finalist in this year’s prestigious LVMH Prize, a great opportunity in terms of global visibility that proved Veronica’s years at Jil Sander, Céline and Moncler paid off.
Quira was founded in 2021 by Veronica Leoni in honour of her grandmother Quirina, a talented seamstress who passed down her love of clothes to her granddaughter.
Quira’s style can be described as minimalist maximalism, combining her Italian sartorial heritage with hints of Japan and workwear. It’s definitely one of the most interesting names to keep an eye on.