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Altaroma: the slow agony

Scritto da Giorgio Miserendino 9 July 2017

— Premise —

It was 2012, I was a young firts-time blogger when I attended for the first time to one of the most important events in the Fashion industry. Altaroma.

At the time, Sarli, Gattinoni, Tony Ward, Curiel and other great names of the haute couture used to walks the runway in Rome. Now, unfortunately, for one reason or another, they have decided not to come to AltaRoma anymore.

Altaroma is a project that the Camera di Commercio Roma, Risorse per Roma, Regione Lazio and the City of Rome has sought to re-qualify with great investments and efforts in the early years of the new century. A first setback came in 2014 due to a substantial cut in the budget, leading to a significant drop in quality until January 2017 when a further cut of 90% of the (public ) funds was announced.

I’ve always been a fiery supporter of Altaroma: since I’m from and live in Rome, I’ve always considered the fashion week of my city even more important than the far more known Milan Fashion Week.

– End of Premise –

Altaroma today is a terminal sufferer who, by now, we can only wait, to permanently remove the plug.
But let’s see in detail what has happened in the recent years.

Board of Directors: Revised in 2014, has introduced highly authoritative positions in the fashion industry. This at first sight would seem to be positive for Altaroma, but how much are these personalities doing for Altaroma? Little, too little. Being buisy from previous assignments, they do not have time for Rome. Between Florence and Milan, the board of directors has been rarely seen entirely during the fashion weeks.

Altaroma’s president, Silvia Venturini Fendi, absent at the MORFOSIS show, opening show of the Altaroma July 2017 issue

Collaborators: rarely chosen for meritocracy, they squander the little that should have parsimoniously run, they also demonstrated that they lack the professionalism needed to perform those insanely high paid roles . Link to CVs and fees.

The icon Diane Pernet forced to wait in line, not assisted by Altaroma’s team

Meritocracy: a word that doesn’t quite belong to Altaroma. My blog , even if it’s pretty small, boasts remarkable collaborations. Marras himself, the top designer of this edition of Altaroma, agreed to give us an interview that will be published very soon on the blog. Only for Altaroma we haven’t changed a bit form 2012 to now.

Buyers: In recent years they had abandoned the Roman fashion week. We see their return thanks to the partnership with the ICE agency of the Ministry of Economic Development through which Altaroma perceives substantial funding. If you exclude those buyers, who are directly invited by the ICE, it doesn’t seem to be a great economic interest at Altaroma. There are some company and stores interested in buying at Altaroma, but Altaroma doesn’t seem to be interested in them. In fact they haven’t even set up a referent for Italian buyers and does not even find the time to respond to their email requests.

One of these stores, wich has a mondial fame and attends, between Milan and Paris, the most important fashion events in the world, has decided  some years ago to be present at Altaroma. Through careful scouting work, he has put emerging brands in a top level multibrand store. I would never have thought that Altaroma would have given such a poor treatment to those who invested and investes so much in the city of Rome. Seeing a third row assigned to those who work hard to make young talent emerge leaves bitterness in the mouth.

Guests: Since some editions we have seen the rise of extras that I will now on call “home escapees”. Their role is to fill the holes left by the fashion insiders who are no longer interested in Altaroma. These choices, even if questionable, would be acceptable if we did not end up seeing Vogue Brasil in the second row and these subjects in the first row.

Close to the authorities, a group of house escapees.

This peculiar sir is about to attend to MORFOSIS’s show from the front row.

Mission: “To be a new launch pad for emerging designers and the engine room of Italian haute couture”, this is the fulcrum of the Altaroma mission (consultable on the site). Analyzing, in the July 2017 edition of Altamoda there are only 2 high fashion proposals, and those are not even directly curated and organized by Altaroma. Renato Balestra, the last Italian couturier fond of the city of Rome, and Rani Zakhem, a Lebanese reality that has been in Rome for some years now. Before him other realities of Lebanese couturiers such as Elie Saab and Abed Mahfouz choosed Rome as a bridge before landing to Paris, where their shows take place today.

In an increasingly fast-fashion oriented world, even Alta-Roma has abandoned the ideal of Alta-Moda, high fashion, haute couture. Focusing on the Prêt-à-porter and running the whole event around the “Who is on Next?” Contest, so those high-crafted and high-tail reality abandoned Rome or, if we want to speak the truth, have been abandoned by Rome.