During Pitti Uomo, the biannual men's wear trade show, the city of Florence is even more fashionable than usual. This season, Off-White's Virgil Abloh and J.W.Anderson's Jonathan Anderson (and their collaborations with Jenny Holzer and Converse, respectively) were the star attractions, but it was the young fashion designers from the Who Is On Next competition that most surprised the well-clad, linen-loving show-goers. Here, the 7 brands to know.
Luca Magliano, 30, took home the Who is On Next grand prize thanks to his rock 'n roll collection. “I really like the '50s: cowboys, rockabilly, rock stars and Elvis," explains the designer. "I have a rockabilly vibe. I think it’s because that kind of man is never formal, or bourgeois. it’s super sexy and very decorative.” To illustrate his point, Magliano cast character actor Toni Pandolfo, a cross between Iggy Pop and Harry Dean Stanton, for this season’s look book. Magliano, the namesake collection he launched last season is deliberately extreme. “My volumes are either super small, or super big. I believe people are elegant no matter what they wear. There’s something very romantic about someone wearing clothes that are too small for them, as though they borrowed them from a friend.” Magliano doesn’t believe in clothing gender. A t-shirt in thick jersey is shirred like a couture cocktail dress and blue oxford cloth shorts are edged in lace. In this season’s 12-piece “A Suitcase for a Single Man,” collection he’s packed everything he loves: crazy heart satin twill for piped western shirts, bow-legged jeans shaped like a bow-legged cowboy who has spent too long too long in the saddle and tight stripe jerseys for muscle men with a feminine side.
Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones, were surf punks designing for Ksubi before launching Double Rainbouu, their Hawaiian shirt revival last year in Australia as "resort wear for beach babes and pool punks," they explained. “We were in Bangkok and saw all these poorly made Hawaiian shirts, so we made five of our own, emailed Opening Ceremony and they came in three days later and placed an order,” says Nolan. Everything in the collection is unisex which appeals to celebrities like Justin Bieber, who was recently photographed riding a camel with a friend wearing the brand's ‘Paradise City’ neo-Hawaiian style.
Michele Canziani and Stefano Ghidotti of Milano140, a runner up for Who Is On Next, make sportswear-like pajamas using Canziani’s parents’ factory in Milan which has produced sleepwear for decades. Canziani studied architecture and brings a builder’s nuts and bolts sensibility to unisex pieces for this season’s ‘unstructured air force’ pieces. “This is a men’s collection, but there’s no gender to it,” explains Ghidotti, “everything’s loose, adjustable and open to interpretation.”
Omar Nardi, 35, created wordy graphics in his entirely black, red, and white collection out of the language in the 1996 novel Destroy by Isabella Santacroce. “It figures,” says designer Nardi, “I was into philosophy long before I got involved in fashion. I love text.”
Japan’s Takashi Sasaki of D’Etre is from Japan, but spends five months a year in Italy producing his collection of patchwork vests, all made out of vintage menswear. “I love Italian craftsmanship,” says the designer who learned everything about fashion as he grew up watching his mother’s menswear business. “My next step is to open my own store in Japan.”
Selfmade’s designer Gianfranco Villegas, 26, is Filipino, but he was raised in Florence, where he attended the landmark fashion school Polimoda. After working for Damir Doma and Lacoste Live, Villegas got a break when his collection was picked up in its first season by Japan’s The Wall where it sold alongside Raf Simons and Balenciaga. Japanese stores have been coming back for more ever since. This season’s he looked to the '70s for inspiration. “I wanted it all to be a bit funky with rough embroidery all over the place, even on work boots, and slogan T-shirts,” says Villegas.
Matteo Lamandini, 27, put in time with Tommy Hilfiger and MSGM’s Massimo Giorgetti and Marni Giorgetti before launching his eponymous label, which is full of sporty references, and offers a blend of tailoring and sweats.
Who Is On Next special mention Marina Rubini, 28, and Zoow24, 30, of Bad Deal covered their collection with '80s and '90s graffiti-style hand painting. “Aesthetically we want our clothes to be like a jingle you hear on the radio, something that could become a mantra for our ASAP generation."
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