Act no1 wins 2017 'Who Is On Next?' prize
And the multi-cultural winner is Act no1. The youthful duo of Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff, whose brand is named Act no1, on Friday in Rome won the 2017 edition of Who Is On Next? - Italy’s most important prize for young designers.
The origin of the two winners underlined just how multinational Italian culture has become. Based in northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia, Act no1, was founded in 2016 by Lin, the children of Chinese emigrants, and Gassanoff, an Azerbaijani who spent his formative years in Georgia.
They emerged victorious at lunchtime after a runway show featuring all six finalists staged in the new Guido Reni District, a former military barracks located opposite Maxxi, the Zaha Hadid-designed modern art museum located in the north Rome neighborhood of Flaminio.
Their designs delved deep into their own family origins; featuring imagery inspired by the folding screens from Chinese furniture in Lin’s parents home; and post-Soviet interiors familiar to Gassanoff. They also incorporate Chinese Tang dynasty outerwear, into their collections, and the style was modern regal. The result were deconstructed wrap jackets and long coats made in combination of cashmere, denim, heavy cotton, brocade, often broken up by Chinese folkloric images.
“We could not be happier. Winning this prize is a dream,” said Gassanoff, after the joint finalist show.
Who Is On Next? is Italy’s key fashion award and was created by the late Franca Sozzani, the famed editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. This was the 13th edition of the fashion talent contest, and the first since the death of Sozzani late last year. This year the jury of 20 included several designers – Pierpaolo Piccioli and Marco Di Vincenzo – buyers, retailers and editors such as Emanuele Farneti of Italian Vogue, Suzy Menkes, Jessica Diehl of Vanity Fair and the author of this story.
“It was important to keep this alive. It is a vital to support each new generation of talent. Franca always insisted on that,” explained Silvia Fendi, the president of Altaroma, the Roman haute couture season during which Who Is On Next? is staged.
Separately, the first prize for accessories was split between two highly contrasting talents, a minimalist bag designer Nico Giani and a maximalist shoe designer Andrea Modin.
Giani, the bag maker from Florence who had studied in San Francisco and some of Silicon Valley’s clean lines had clearly rubbed off in his work. He showed hyper smooth bags and woven totes with matching handles in the turquoise and fine red hues of David Hockney’s paintings. So ergonomic Steven Jobs would have loved them.
Modin is a Venetian shoemaker whose footwear reflected the fantasy of his native region; ruff motifs from the 17th century; gros grain and rhombus patterns. The sense of elegant carnival was apparent throughout.
Both names are very much to watch in future.
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