In Conversation with… Alessio de'Navasques & Clara Tosi Pamphili

Alessio de'Navasques and Clara Tosi Pamphili. Photo: Courtesy of PR.

Rome has recently turned into a burgeoning platform for young designers, and slowly but firmly aims to steal Milan's spotlight – or at least to be considered and acclaimed for building a new and dynamic young designer scene. In this context, Alessio de'Navasques, Co-Founder of A.I., Artisanal Intelligence, together with Clara Tosi Pamphili, have played a notable role in promoting and challenging the Italian young designer scene as well as the Roman cultural heritage. In fact, A.I. has explored Made in Italy craftsmanship and fashion for the past decade. The event takes place twice a year in various galleries, artistic spaces, and ateliers around town, in order to reveal Rome's unusual and hardly accessible historical places, along with emerging talents that deserve some exposure – and this time around, A.I.'s “Re-Action” exhibition took place at the iconic Cinecittà film studios in the context of Altaroma – the same studios which were accidentally set on fire earlier last week. Less than two weeks ago, NOWFASHION sat down with the A.I. Co-Founders and discussed the importance of fashion and film in the very same Cinecittà Ancient Rome set that now no longer exists as it used to. As the saying goes: Rome wasn't built in a day – unfortunately, Cinecittà was almost destroyed in one. But more importantly, projects like Artisanal Intelligence show that iconic cultural places cannot only be reinvented – they can rise from their ashes and matter more than ever.

Artisanal Intelligence "Re-Action" exhibition in Rome. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION. 

What do you think about the change of location. How do you feel about Altaroma and Artisanal Intelligence being staged at the iconic Cinecittà studios?

Clara Tosi Pamphili: Cinecittà is a special place because it’s a place where “nothing is true”; it's surreal! In a way, it's an idealistic and dreamy take on Rome, as it's a version of Ancient Rome that was rebuilt for the film industry. But it is also very special place for fashion, because Cinecittà actually started to reflect Roman fashion as early as 1937, when the studios were built. Iconic actresses and actors would wear Roman designer clothing and Couture and the whole world would witness it – Cinecittà became part of Rome's DNA, which is also why it's such a great place to exhibit fashion today.

Can you tell me more about the relation between the current project of Artisanal Intelligence and the vibe here at Cinecittà?

Alessio de'Navasques: The theme of this season's edition of Artisanal Intelligence is “Re-Action”: its take on the evolution of fashion, on transformation triggered by an atmosphere of crisis, and, ultimately, on metamorphosis and mutation. The Ancient Rome set of Cinecittà has a similar vibe: it's unique and stuck in time, and yet, it evolves with every new film project. For Artisanal Intelligence, we decided to build sort of a military camp-base within the Cinecittà, which is something very cinematographic as well. We wanted to challenge the iconic Ancient Rome set by adding something utterly contemporary and different that reflects a moment of change, a moment when the old meets the new, a moment when the new generation takes over.

Artisanal Intelligence "Re-Action" exhibition in Rome. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION. 

How do you define this moment of change?

Clara Tosi Pamphili: It's a difficult and strong moment at the same time – a new beginning; before that, everything was broken and had to be rebuilt. In a way, it's like a phoenix who arises from its ashes. We used these military base-camp aesthetics on purpose to show that creativity can be borne out of a place that is crumbling down, that restriction can inspire change.

Alessio de'Navasques: The political and social moment right now is very special everywhere in the world. Young creatives are more afraid of the future than ever before. We are all searching for comfort and protection, which is why we decided to exhibit a bunch of designers who incorporate these protective, utilitarian, and uniform-ish elements into their collections. In this context, the process was very important to us. We selected designers who research a lot and who focus on a mix of technology and craftsmanship – we think of them as the new, contemporary artisans who do their best to find innovative solutions and to challenge our perception of fashion.

Discover Artisanal Intelligence' “Re-Action” exhibition during Altaroma and its participation designers here.