ITS Fashion Festival’s Dream Team

Earlier this month, the 13th annual ITS Fashion Festival (Int’l Talent Support) in Trieste, Italy, culminated with a runway show and award ceremony that promised a “collective lucid dream.” But a day before the event — which was hosted by the Italian actress Anita Kravos, who somnambulated down the dimly-lit runway while murmuring, “Are you there?” — a dream-themed art installation had already stolen the show. It featured a male model sleeping on a bed in immaculate white underwear, while a machine seemed to record the blond hunk’s dreams — flying and, of course, sex.

But let’s go back to the fashion. The festival, largely backed by Diesel, aims to showcase and nurture the best young designers in the fields of fashion, accessories, and jewelry — as decided this year by a jury that included Carla Sozzani. Other sponsors include Swatch, Samsung, and Swarovski, each handing out a prize. As a result, the 16 awards produced a somewhat excessive number of climaxes at the ceremony.

The big winner was the British designer Katherine Roberts-Wood, who took home the Fashion Collection of the Year award for her intriguing laser-cut outfits that peel off the body. The Icelander Anita Hirlekar won the Great Prize for her textured dresses using an antique needle technique. Zoe Walters, another Brit, deservedly won the lucrative 25,000 euro Diesel award (and a job with the company) thanks to her wearable, loose zippered biker-inspired jackets. Particularly compelling were the voluminous coats by Alexander Beznekritis, a Royal College of Art graduate who was inspired by contemporary relations between Africa and China. The highly-promising Ivana Damjanvic, meanwhile, won two accessory prizes for her beautiful space-agey bags.

Most of the designers showed outfits that stood away from the body, thus hiding its curves, perhaps due to the enduring legacy of Nicolas Ghesquière and his architectural Balenciaga designs of the previous decade. Or maybe a new generation doesn’t have sex on its mind like our sleeping hunk does.

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