“Tell Me About You” was the title of this year’s Polimoda Fashion Show, a pinnacle moment during Florence’s Pitti Uomo week.


In the opulent setting of the 19th-century Villa Favard, Polimoda headquarters, 19 young design talents displayed their final year menswear and womenswear collections, a celebration of four years of studies before an audience of fashion insiders, journalists and industry experts.


22-year-old Brit Shania Matthews was awarded with the Prize for The Best Collection for 2017, chosen by a jury comprising some of the most influential names in international fashion, such as editor-in-chief of Vogue Germany Christiane Arp, founder of ASVOFF Diane Pernet and founder and CEO of Highsnobiety David Fischer. Matthews’ whimsical womenswear collection Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard drew inspiration from her family’s Irish heritage in the 1960s and ‘70s. Special mentions also went to Italian Federico Cina for his striking menswear collection Vacuum and Mauritian Max Anish Gowriah’s sophisticated yet sustainability-first I line.


The most Instagrammed collection was surely Fabio Bigondi’s Sons of Guns: synthetic knitwear covering faces and bodies in striking shades of red and purple accessorized with glitter boots by classmate Clara Avino, poking ridicule at the virility of weapons. Causing the similar stir was Margherita Banti’s What’s Wrong With Me? One hundred per cent leather garments in a nude palette of diverse skin tones, exaggerating breasts and buttocks. Skill and sexiness was abundant in Elizaveta Burtseva’s Hide collection, mature and understated lingerie in the most romantic of fabrics with loose statuesque lines.


In a press release, director of Polimoda Danilo Venturi commented, “Beyond traditional categories of people based on societal constructs, in the end there is always the human. Tell Me About You insists students do exactly this: express who they are with their clothes, to us and to themselves. Their tool is the garment – to communicated an identity, create a silent dialogue, and begin a story.”


Headed up by world-famous casting director Piergiorgio Del Moro, the show stimulated the senses on multiple levels through inventive video projections, outstanding sound design by electronic underground artist Kim Ann Foxman and contrasts between light and dark, contemporary and classic, a beacon for the future of the fashion industry amid the grandeur of Florence’s creative past.


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