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Exclusive Interview With Winners of POLIMODA BEST COLLECTION 2016

The renowned Polimoda Fashion Show was exceptional this year. First, to celebrate the Institute’s 30th Anniversary, the annual Fashion Show featuring the works by the best Fashion Design students was held in a spectacular setting, the courtyard of the Palazzo Strozzi. This is one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces in Florence, and houses a renowned museum run by the Palazzo Strozzi.

Plus the Fashion Show has ended in an unconventional manner, with two designers tied in their votes from the Jury, and thus two winners for the title of Best Collection for 2016. The Jury, which included 11 international experts from the world of fashion including Suzy Menkes, Hirofumi Kurino, Guram Gvasalia, Massimiliano Giornetti, Scott Schuman, Alexander Shumsky, Laudomia Pucci, Riccardo Vannetti, Brendan Cannon, Linda Loppa and Danilo Venturi, cast their anonymous votes directly after the Show held at the magnificent Palazzo Strozzi on the eve of June14th.

Out of the 20 designers whose work was shown, both Mirco Arena and Federico Cina have received the title for Best Collection for 2016. Both designers created 5-look menswear collections, which on the occasion of Pitti Uomo 90, is a fitting celebration of menswear, and in particular, new ideas for men’s garments, men’s identity, and men’s expression.

Rich in creativity, Mirco Arena’s collection entitled Dethroned Love had a frozen aura in a muted

palette, heightened by transparent straw headpieces. It was regal yet ascetic; pins, plastic, and skulls

embellished velvet coats, leather bombers, and transparent garments reminiscent of a shower curtain;

softly concealing and revealing with delicate order.

Federico Cina’s garments were about the simple principle of family, though told with transgression,

wit and a deeply personal point of view. Breast pumps for men were built into garments that at times

hinted at military notes, but only because men are immediately associated in this way and only to be

quickly deconstructed, along with all that goes with a man’s traditional role in society. Entitled Come

una Vita viene al Mondo, this collection was about the designer’s dream to have a family, in a country

that currently prohibits this for same-sex couples.

Interview with Federico Cina

Polimoda Fashion Design Student – 3rd Year

What sparked your interest in fashion?

Federico Cina

My interest in fashion has always occupied most of my life. When I was little, my only interest was drawing; I drew a lot! My mother tells me today that I’ve drawn sketches of fashion since I was 6 or 7 years old. She still has these drawings.

I believe that this passion was unleashed by the desire to be accepted. As a child many times I did not feel like I fit in with the children around me, and then I tried to understand what they had and I didn’t. Appearances are the first thing we see so I started looking at this. This is how my obsession towards the aesthetics was born.

What made you take fashion more seriously and decide to study fashion at Polimoda?

My studies were a little troubled. I wanted to do a thousand things, in high school, and I attended an art school near where I was born in Cesena. I thought of doing interior design and then hairdressing but my obsession for aesthetics drew me to fashion more and more. At the same time, I believed that the fashion world was too hard, and I thought it was a dream too far away to be realized, but the desire to try was bigger than my negative thoughts.

I saw that at Polimoda I could learn so many things. I think it is a good school that prepares you for the world and can gives many opportunities. Through studying, I understood that this work is in fact my life. I could not do anything else! I wake up in the morning and know that designing and creating something new as a way to express myself - dressing people with my emotions - is the most satisfying thing.

Where did you find the inspiration for your winning collection?

My life inspires me. I need to feel on my skin what I want to convey.

During the last year and a half, my life has changed a lot. I met my boyfriend, and my life really improved. He has filled a part of my life that was missing before, and now I understand the importance of love; a love that is sincere.

I understand the security of having my loved one by my side; making decisions together, doing the food shopping together, and above all, choosing where to live... as a family, a real family. All this has happened in Italy where civil unions for gay families has just been legalized. I experienced this with more sensitivity, so this was the start of my inspiration.

I wanted to represent my family; a family the same as others who can also raise a child. One day I might want a child, and it seems absurd to me that someone can decide if it is my right or not. Rights must not be dreams.

Federico Cina

Were there any obstacles in creating your collection?

Of course, everything has obstacles. Life has obstacles, but with determination I have the strength to work and to succeed. Sometimes I would come home exhausted and I complained to my boyfriend, but he would ask me, “if you did not do this, would you be happy?” Of course not. After this, all the strength I had lost would came back even stronger than before.

What designers are you most influenced by?

I do not have a favorite designer, but I like designers only after understanding their philosophy. At the moment I share the same philosophy that the brothers Guram Gvasalia and Demna Gvasalia have. I like how they communicate their daily lives - the reality of life. Fashion likes everything fantastic and we often forget everything else. I like the way they show the least beautiful version of fashion.

When you graduate what is your next step and where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Of course I would like to- and will continue to create my new collection. I will try to start with maybe a small showroom, with a small production. Something that can work as a springboard. For the moment I'm working as an assistant designer, so in a few years I'd like to follow my own brand.

I hope in the end, the whole world will know my brand. I think this is the dream of every designer. Time will show us how it goes…

Interview with Mirco Arena Polimoda Fashion Design Student – 3rd Year

Mirco Arena

What sparked your interest in fashion?

Since I was little I have been in contact with people dedicated to fashion. I still remember the smell of leather of my uncle's leather goods, in which came to life bags and accessories, and also with my mom’s work - the hours spent playing among brocades, tassels, feathers and Swarovski crystals that my dad used to make costumes for the Carnival of Venice. The passion that I have through their work has inspired me more and more to get closer to this world.

What made you take fashion more seriously and decide to study fashion at Polimoda?

I have always had a passion for the arts, which developed into a special interest for fashion. So when I finished my studies at an art high school, I started to search for a university that would allow me to get closer to this world. After visiting several institutions and going to various open days, the study program and the teachers at Polimoda felt to be the right choice for me.

Mirco Arena

Where did you find the inspiration for your winning collection?

To give life to my collection, I decided to portray my struggle between passion and rationality. In particular, I focused on the human instinct of seeking pleasure from what makes us suffer, which leads to ‘frozen’ human relationships. Just as water crystallizes to become ice, white and transparent hues reinforce the cold and ethereal aura of the collection. Plastics woven into geometric structures recreate the fragility of snowflakes, while shades of pink and nude show a more intimate side.

Were there any obstacles in creating your collection?

Obviously translating a sketch into reality is never simple… Respecting the volumes, proportions and forms involves a lot of work, for which I made several changes and adjustments. The main difficulties have been to find this right balance of proportion, especially in working with hats, and matching the different textiles to obtain an optimum result.

What designers are you most influenced by?

The designers who had a major influence on my style and collection were without a doubt Alexander McQueen - with his embroidery and sinister undertones, and Iris Van Herpen - with her use of plastic and three-dimensional materials.

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