Italian Fashion’s Rising Star: Marco de Vincenzo

Marco de Vincenzo’s Couture Fall/Winter 09


When Italian Vogue‘s Editor Franca Sozzani says she likes something the fashion world listens. So it’s a small wonder that the young designers chosen for the magazine’s annual “Who Is On Next” fashion and accessories talent show and competition soon find the world’s style spotlight shining on them. 
Last weekend “Who Is On Next” picked 2009s bright young hopeful Marco de Vincenzo, 31, currently one of Silvia Venturnini Fendi’s key assistant on accessories at Fendi. His women’s collection was selected from among four  other  finalists. And for accessories it’s shoe designer Daniele Michetti, 33, who has worked extensively with Stefano Pilatti on Yves Saint Laurent’s men’s accessories for the past five seasons. “It’s not really important who wins,” says Sozzani, ” it’s about promoting ‘Made in Italy.'” But she also admits that nothing succeeds like success. “This award has been successful because when you start by winning, you’re in a good position.”
 De Vincenzo and Michette will have a spread devoted to their collections in the magazine and a space at the Milano Collezioni fair during fashion week. In fact, anyone, as long as they’re young  and produce their collection in Italy, can enter the competition. This year Sozzani said she received over 120 applications—which might not sound like a lot, but imagine sending your collection straight to Sozzani! (LEFT: FRINGES BY DANIELE MICHETTI)
The clothes de Vincenzo showed yesterday combined optical and Art Deco effects. They’re layered, technical, handmade and sexy all at once. He likes slicing and re-stitching strips of fabric and playing with textures (two-toned jersey, glittery suede, granite varnishes and laser picking) in a collection based on his obsession for the intense costume changes in Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love.
A prestigious group of judges was assembled to pick the finalists, including American Vogue‘s Sally Singer, Averyl Oates of Harvey Nichols and Terron Schaefer of Sakes Fifth Avenue. And the show itself, held around the corner from the Vatican in the S. Spirito in Sassia, where many of Rome’s Alta Moda or Haute Couture shows take place this week, is buzzing with that curious mix of press, fashion people and Rome’s version of ladies who lunch, which gives the impression that something stylishly important is happening.
On Sunday, just before the show, de Vincenzo’s PR, Angelo Sensini who’s from Rome but is based in Paris, paced in front of the venue, obviously waiting for someone important to arrive. Did he think de Vincenzo would win?  “I have absolutely no idea,” he said then, “you never can tell about taste.” But it was a pretty good bet that he would win. De Vincenzo has been developing new  construction techniques and innovating fabrics for the past eight years for Fendi, one of Europe’s most creative and luxurious brands. In fact he was hired as soon as he graduated from the European Institute of Design, and he never left.
Normally a key job at a big house would be enough for a  young designer, particularly today, when fashion start-ups are so risky, but last January de Vincenzo went to Paris to present an haute couture collection made from thin strips of the same fabric worked in different textures that he assembled at home by hand with a seamstress.  It was a backbreaking job, and the results—curvy, sleek, arty looking dresses—were terrific, but the collection dew scant attention in Paris, where the shows by the major houses eclipse everything else. So with a debut ready-to-wear show planned for Milan’s Spring 2010 fashion week in September, a lot was riding on winning yesterday.