The opening of Borders: A flash of New Italian Fashion took place above the Chelsea Market Passage on the Highline. The exhibition, in collaboration with the Italian Consulate General, Italian Trade Commission in New York (ICE) and Italian Embassy in Washington DC, is open to the general public all of May 17th. Borders is part of a series of events by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development to enhance Italy’s visibility abroad. And what better place than New York City and the Highline, which has become a symbol of industrial reuse and environmental sustainability?
The exhibition features four Italian brands: M1229, Magliano, United Standard and Vitelli Maglieria Italiana. The clothes are showcased on biodegradable mannequins by Bonaveri, surrounded by LED lights. There is also screening of a new video, shot in Apulia with local youths, directed by Francesco Petroni. The video features the four brands. It showcases different people in Italy, mostly young people, screaming out the names of the brands.
Giangi Giordano, the curator of the event, chose the outfits of the mannequins, the brands and curated the video. He said that what all the brands have in common is an Italian attitude, but with a new, fresh take on it. All the brands are fairly new, second or third collection, and are focused on individuality, gender fluidity and inclusivity. They represent the avant-garde, a movement that put Italy at the center of the fashion scene, and contribute to the aesthetics and vitality of emerging urban cultures. The designers Giorgio Di Salvo, Mauro Simionato, Dorian Stefano Tarantini and Luca Magliano are not looking for the typical aesthetic associated with the “Italian taste”, but strive to find a new approach rooted in their present lives without any nostalgia.
After some mingling, wine, mini-burgers, mushroom tarts, and watching the sun go down to the sound of techno/lounge music playing in the background, Stefano Tonchi, editor of W magazine, started his opening speech. He said that Italy has been at the forefront of fashion for a long time and it is special that Italian designers are represented in New York. The Past, Present and Future merge in this exhibition that celebrates youth, different cultures and inclusivity.
Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio, during his speech, said that the exhibition gives an idea of what fashion is supposed to be. Fashion is art and at the same time hard work. In New York people are open to discovering, to talking to each other and to mixing cultures. The exhibition will be open to the community for the first time, so it is available to anyone and not just experts.
CNMI President Carlo Capasa said that people who love fashion–new fashion– are coming together. The designers are very Italian but also have a new and contemporary attitude. The exhibition opens up a conversation about sustainability. Fashion is beautiful but must also be conscious.
Maurizio Forte, head of the ICE, said the event is about sustainability and inclusivity. It is about what is important for the future and our planet, which should be reflected in fashion.
The New-York-based exhibition will also be reprised during Men’s Fashion Week in Milan in June 2019, and is a snapshot of the latest wave of Italian fashion design.