Getting to know the first exhibition of the ITS Arcademy, Museum of Fashion Art

The first exhibition of the ITS Arcademy, Museum of Art in fashion, will be officially opened, a museum dedicated to the creativity of young talents, students of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world who participated in the International Talent Support (ITS) competition. on April 18 in Trieste, Italy.

The first exhibition is curated by Olivier Saillard, curator, fashion historian and designer who, until 2017, ran the city of Paris’s fashion museum, the Palais Galliera. Since January 2018, he has been the artistic, image and culture director of the JM Weston brand. FashionUnited had the opportunity to preview the exhibition and museum, joined by Barbara Franchin, President and Artistic Director of the ITS Foundation.

The exhibition curated by Olivier Saillard is entitled “The First Exhibition – 20 Years of Evolution of Contemporary Fashion”

Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga, Matthieu Blazy, creative director of Bottega Veneta, Alithia Spuri-Zampetti, associate head of design at Alexander McQueen, Nicolas di Felice, creative director of Maison Courrèges are just some of the names of the finalists who, year after year, paraded in Trieste to win one of the prizes made available by sponsors who have supported the competition over the years.

One name stands out above all others: Diesel. Renzo Rosso, current president of the OTB holding group, which includes the brands Diesel, Jil Sander, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor&Rolf, Staff International and Brave Kid, as explained by Barbara Franchin to FashionUnited. “Rosso believed in ITS from the first moment.”

And the competition has been going well, at least judging by its 20th edition and the interest its candidates’ collections have aroused. Talents that Franchin herself has been exploring around the world and whose creations are now available for anyone who wants to see them.

Until some time ago, portfolios, sketches and collections were kept elsewhere. However, given the large volume of clothing and materials, it was no longer adequate to preserve them in the best possible way, nor to allow the public to see them.

Demna Gvasalia (Balenciaga) Matthieu Blazy (Bottega Veneta): just some of the finalists who took part in the ITS contest

In its new location, the ITS Arcademy features 1,400 square meters of exhibition space, a creative archive and a training center. The project was made possible thanks to the support of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, together with the CrTrieste Foundation.

The spaces, moreover, were made available free of charge by the Fondazione CrTrieste. “We want to open the doors to the city of Trieste and its citizens, to young people, children and seniors to allow them to talk creatively, with designers, with the history that portfolios and projects contain”, says Franchin.

Each portfolio tells the story of the student who made it, such as the Israeli Ahron Israel Genish who, through his collection ‘Lo tishtok. you will never be silenced’ found a way to overcome a difficult childhood. Some of these portfolios will be on display, in rotation, to the public in the library windows where all the projects are located. The objects belong to ITS, but the intellectual property belongs to the designers who created them.

The deconstruction of the ordinary model of clothing in favor of an intimate vision that leads to introspection, the evocation of the wounds of the epidermis, whether moral or physical, through the use of red and sometimes bloody materials, are the main characteristics of the designers in this section. The sober colors used, the dark blacks, the drips and asymmetries in the clothes, true mirrors of themselves, their feelings and moods. They all reveal a disturbing inner world amplified by the authority of their art.

Matthieu Lavanchy – James Thom, Mikio Sakabe, Olesya Serchenko, Yong Kyun Shin, Heaven Tanudiredja, Aitor Throup and Cheng Zong Yu, on the other hand, are the protagonists of the ‘neofuturists’ section. The extroverted ways that the clothes evoke define a new wardrobe, sometimes devoid of references to the past. Steel gray tones, hard blues, colors of stone or iron mines create dreamlike optical architectures. Jackets and coats become constructions of the imagination, clothes are cultivated constructive fantasies, costumes under a common appearance foreshadow a future of worries and at the same time of hope, as witnessed by the feeling of reinvention in each of the clothing creations.

“I think if you can turn off your mind and just look with your eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract.” Ellsworth Kelly’s well-known phrase, a phrase that inspired designer Kim Shui, is the perfect reference for the designers who make up the ‘lyrical abstractions’ section: Nadide Begum Yildirim, Heather Blake, Louise Crawford, Valentim Manuel Estevão Quaresma, Susan Maria Dimasi_Chantal Louise Mcdonald, Silvia Noferi, Ruth Roberts Green, Carolin Holzhuber, Yijun Liao, Kin Yan Lam, Jae Woo Lee and Shie Lyu, Joan Tarrago Pampalona_Karen Scholz, Katherine Roberts-Wood, Kim Shui, David Steinhorst, Michael Van Der Ham, Zoé Águas.

The invention of silhouettes follows geometric shapes, sometimes reduced to the simplicity of a circle or a parallelepiped. Plain colors give even more dimension to pieces that are nothing more than volumes. A veritable tectonic of fabrics is created on the body, adapted to form a manifest costume, a solution for the future. Oversized shoulders, cubic skirts and dresses and contrasting tones form a radical aesthetic coherence.

A new folklore of emotions motivates the creative methodology shared by Maria Bika, Matthieu Blazy, Paula Cheng, Emma Chopova_Laura Lowena, Daniele Controversio, Nicolas Di Felice, Mark Goldenberg, Demna Gvasalia, Chau Har Lee, Anita Hirlekar, Cecilia Juarez Balta, Matthieu Lavanchy – James Thom, Amélie Marciasini, Slobodan Mihajlovic, Cat Potter, Anni Salonen, Hana Yagi and Yunqi Zhang, artists who gather in the ‘raw and singular arts’ section.

Developed in threads, webs, chenille, knits or patchwork, the pieces reflect a renewed interest in forgotten craft techniques. Textile work, modest or sophisticated, tends to be obsessive, so much so that the threads, tied, loose and tied, provoke the material. In contrast, the shapes are urban, sometimes even identifiable as the wardrobe of humble people.

On the surface, these clothes of flesh and expression weave a utopia of appearances, more veiled than personal, in conflict with the world and the way its excesses were revealed.

Details and portraits characterize the self-portrait section of creators Mason Jung, Shinhwan Kim, Yasuto Kimura, Han Chul Lee, Eleanor McDonald, Ichiro Suzuki. Like the people we meet on the street and the individuals we approach, these fantasies are a reflection of society. In the area of ​​the free figure, the dress is the interface with the other, with your gaze and with yourself. It’s what’s inside the lining, what carries and sustains it. These are the designers gathered in the ‘free representations’ section: Tianan Ding, Aitor Goicoechea Aburuza, Courtney Mcwilliams and Syna Chen. Through their printed images, varied colors and photographs centered on the other, the clothes trigger a cross-eyed gaze, which is also experienced from within. The goiels section includes pieces by Margherita Abi-Hanna, Shilpa Chavan, Yun Sun Jang, Hazuki Katagai, Asumi Maeda, Masaki Shimizu, Takahiro Ueno and Arnaud Zill.

Finally, the Its Contest contemporary photography collection comprises 80 authors and 700 prints, both analogue and digital.

Franchin: ITS Arcademy represents the evolution of international creativity “The ITS Arcademy collection is unique in the world because it brings together the first works of designers who later wrote new codes of contemporary fashion. It is an archive of twenty years in constant evolution that represents the evolution of international creativity in its most innovative, radical, artistic and experimental expressions,” explained Franchin, emphasizing that each year’s competition trends reports represent invaluable tools for predicting trends years in advance.

Just to give an example: ITS noted the gender fluid trend as early as 2008 and wrote about it in their 2013 trends report. In ITS projects in 2016, 31 percent of collections were defined by applicants as ‘agender’, while in 2015 the percentage was less than 1 percent. Data like this is important for brands and for the fashion industry, which, starting in April, will have a new place to carry out research and analysis on trends and the behavior of today’s and tomorrow’s generations. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the collections on the runways today resemble designs and collections nominated for the ITS competition in previous years.

Seiran Tsuno, photo credit Massimo Gardone for ITS Arcademy
Credit FashionUnited
The library, photo credits: Massimo Gardone for ITS Arcademy
Richard Quinn, photo credits: Massimo Gardone for ITS Arcademy
The ‘Wunderkammer’, photo credits: Massimo Gardone for ITS Arcademy
hallway, photo credit Massimo Gardone for ITS Arcademy
Barbara Franchin, ITS 2022 competition. Photo credits: Giuliano Koren
Entrance to ITS Arcademy. Photo credits: FashionUnited
One of the ITS Arcademy workshops. Photo credits: FashionUnited

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.IT. English translation and edition: Veerle Versteeg.

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