Here at Grazia HQ, nothing makes us happier than discovering the new it designers in the making, but when pretty much the whole world is a budding creative, it can be tricky to get your Kirkwood clad feet onto the next rung of the ladder. Step forwards International Talent Support aka ITS which aims to give designers the world over a leg up.
Now in its thirteenth year, ITS is a platform which gives visibility to young talent from every corner of the globe, providing an opportunity to have their work shown to industry experts. Previous finalists from renowned fashion schools – Central Saint Martins in London, Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris, The Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp – have gone on to work for renowned fashion houses – Lanvin, Dior, Armani, to name but a few. Which is why, this past weekend, a usually-quiet town in Italy was descended upon by top designers, fashion insiders, past contestants and, of course, Grazia Daily for the thirteenth year of ITS in Trieste.
Having made an abundance of dreams come true since its inception, 'lucid dreams' - the theme for this year's proceedings at ITS is a supremely fitting one. Nicola Formichetti, artistic director of Diesel - a brand which has been with ITS since the very beginning - categorises the relevance of the theme in these terms: "our message of 'lucid dreams' is about the duality of today and tomorrow, and the crystal clear focus of our new generation who are making their wildest dreams a tangible reality."
And the crystal clear focus of ITS contestants is a facet that was indelibly clear throughout the two days beatiful Trieste was graced with the finest of design talents. The fashion show finale kicked off with a dimming of the lights that gave way to a hynotising, mystical video designed to ease you into the most magnificent of lucid dreams, complete with resplendent, otherworldly style creations and an award giving that saw laughter, tears of joy and a theme song that was fittingly man of the year Pharrell's 'Happy'.
From hooded, beaded numbers and oversized knits to woven wonders and straight edged tailoreds with a twist, quirky creations from ten selected designers from countries as far flung as China, Iceland, South Korea and Germany hit the catwalk.
Then fingers were crossed and breath was held as the next generation of fashion heroes nervously awaited the verdict. And, guess what? All our favourites won! (We love it when that happens).
[Photo: Gianmaria Gava]
Never Not recently (thanks England football team!) have we been prouder to be British than when Brit Katherine Roberts-Wood was announced as winner of the Fashion Collection of the year. Developing a linking technique to create structurally awe-inducing sleeves Katherine's collection begged the question of HOW.ON.EARTH did she make that and how on earth do we get one in our closet!?
[Photo: Gianmaria Gava]
It was a good year for the Brits. The Diesel special prize, which consists of a €25,000 cash prize as well as an internship with the Diesel Creative Team at their HQ in Italy went to Zoe Waters for her beautiful boxy creation. Based on the leather biker jacket and box construction, Zoe adapted her zip heavy biker into an oversize denim number which, complete with sharp edges screamed originality and cool.
[Photo: Giuliano Koren]
The fashion special prize went to Anita Hirlekar for her woven beauties which looked like walking pieces of art. Reportedly inspired by the idea of taking traditional elements and making them contemporary, the Iceland hailing designer handwove stunning embroidery into clean silhouttes; complete with padded hips and shoulders to give an effortlessly elegant beauty. (Can we have some for our wardrobe Anita, pleaaaase?)
Remember where you heard their names first.
Check back in to Grazia Daily later this week where we'll be bringing you exclusive interviews with ITS judges head honcho Barbara Franchin, Diesel designer Nicola Formichetti and superstar blogger Susie Bubble as well as more of our experiences of a wonderful weekend in Trieste with ITS and Diesel.
In the meantime, check out the contestants collections in the gallery below.