Altaroma – Rome's Couture week since 2002 – is here to stay. In fact, Rome's eternal charm inspired Altaroma's board of directors, presided over by Silvia Venturini Fendi, to turn things upside down, and stage this season's edition that took place from June 28th to July 1st in a one-of-a-kind place: the iconic Cinecittà Studios, the birthplace of Italian cinema. Putting Rome's creative avant-garde into the limelight, Silvia Venturini Fendi teamed up with the iconic Roman Couturier Renato Balestra to discuss Altaroma with NOWFASHION. Balestra, who showcased his latest collection during Altaroma in the breathtaking Ancient Rome setting at Cinecittà, is about to create the "Renato Balestra Foundation," together with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism. But the Roman Couture designer doesn't seem to have much time to rest on his laurels: he's currently planning two exhibitions in Rome set to open in October, and a runway show in Dubai that will take place in November. We met with Silvia Venturini Fendi and Renato Balestra in Rome and discussed Roman fashion and its future.
Federica Balestra, Renato Balestra and Virginia Elena Raggi at the Tribute to Renato Balestra show in Rome. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
Tell us more about this edition of Altaroma. What makes it so special to both of you?
Silvia Venturini Fendi: Altaroma has evolved into a festival of creativity, full of multifaceted contents where fashion has a prominent place but is enhanced by dialogue with other arts. We started this edition at the Colosseum with the presentation of a project aimed at young Italian fashion schools, and then immersed ourselves in one of the most famous filmsets of the world, the Ancient Rome filmset at Cinecittà, where the tribute to Renato Balestra took place. At the same time, within walking distance, a group of young designers exhibited their designs within the Artisanal Intelligence (AI) exhibition project.
Renato Balestra: For sure, the tribute that Altaroma wanted to dedicate to my career in the unique and splendid setting of Cinecittà has been my most memorable moment this season. Furthermore, every edition of Altaroma is special to me for the continuous commitment to not only valorizing high fashion but also to promoting young talents.
What are this edition’s highlights, according to you?
Silvia Venturini Fendi: The summer edition of Altaroma has featured "Who’s on Next," a scouting project created by Altaroma in collaboration with Vogue Italia, for the past 14 years. The novelty of this edition is the agreement with the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum that offers Italian fashion schools the opportunity to design new uniforms for park employees. In addition, we elaborated the "Showcase" project together with ICE - Rome Agency, where 60 designers have shown their collections to a delegation of buyers from all over the world who have made several orders. And let's not forget about the tribute to Renato Balestra, the undisputed master of Italian couture, as well as the film screening about Roberto Capucci and Raffaella Carrà's design exhibition.
Renato Balestra: My own show, of course, the "Who's on Next" talent competition and the Raffaella Carrà exhibition.
Tribute to Renato Balestra show in Rome. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
How do you feel about this edition’s setting, the Cinecittà?
Silvia Venturini Fendi: The choice of Cinecittà as a location for Altaroma gave a magical touch to all events and created a surreal atmosphere, somewhere between reality and film fiction, between past and future, between innovation and tradition. On the one hand, it allowed us to invite the numerous guests of Altaroma to discover this unique and magical place of Italian cultural heritage, and on the other, the Cinecittà turned into a true creative playground for all the participating designers.
Renato Balestra: Cinecittà is cinema, a wonderful setting that recalls the great splendor of the "Dolce Vita." The perfect frame for my beautiful designs.
Vibes at Alta Roma. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
What is your opinion of the younger generation of designers and talents exhibited at Altaroma?
Silvia Venturini Fendi: In recent years, our mission has focused more decisively on scouting and a new generation of creatives has gradually become the focus of our action, giving life to a community that grows year after year, becoming an identity and regenerating factor of the role of Rome in the Italian fashion system. Altaroma, today, offers a wide range of concepts that are addressed to a variety of fashion professionals: from the young novice who has the opportunity to be known by presenting his work to fashion insiders to designers with a little more experience who can show their creations through runway shows, presentations, or exhibition projects. This edition featured over 150 young designers!
Renato Balestra: Today's generation of designers are very theatrical and creative. The competition is so high, which is why they have to stand out and attract attention, in a positive or negative way.