As you cannot have possibly missed thanks to the million Instagram snaps I posted – unless of course you don’t follow me, a situation which can be amended here – a couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Trieste for the ITS Competition final as a guest of Diesel. If you did spot those ‘grams then you’ll already know it was pretty awesome. Before I tell you ALL about the trip (#sorrynotsorry) let’s kick things of with a bit of background about ITS. For thirteen years, the International Talent Support platform has been enabling young creatives from all over the world to share their talent, build their businesses and reinvigorate the creative industries with their fresh ideas, skills and individual brands. That sounds a bit sweeping, not to mention pompous, but I don’t really know how else to summarise the magnitude of what the platform does for both the designers themselves and the professional fields into which they go. Virtually every previous ITS Award winner currently holds a role at the likes of Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin and McQueen. Those that don’t are making waves with their own lines; think Peter Pilotto, Michael Van der Ham, Mark Fast and Aitor Throup. The prizes are big ones and besides providing cash, also offer mentorship, ongoing support and exposure in publications such as Vogue Italia and Dazed & Confused. It was truly an honour to be given the opportunity to attend this year’s final, see the work of the new talents who will be our industry’s future and meet many of the inspiring and esteemed judges too. I’ll be sharing the winners and my thoughts on the catwalk show shortly but first, night one.
I wore… AllSaints leather jacket, J.Crew floral top (available here) and skirt, Prada clutch & Karen Millen ankle boots (available here)
The first thing that struck me as I arrived in Trieste, rather later than planned, was how incredibly beautiful it is and also, how old fashioned. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s just absolutely your quintessential, old school Italian coastal town, all semi dilapidated but gorgeous buildings, tiny locally run shops and traditonal gelato parlours. Of course, even Trieste can’t escape the influx of new visitors and new money so this slightly run down charm is juxtaposed by mega buck yachts in the port and a smattering of incredible grand hotels, the most wonderful of which was ours. I fell hard for the Grand Hotel Duchi D’Aosta the second I walked in the door. After seeing my room that infatuation hit new levels. Despite being rather big and very grand, the place has a boutique-y, intimate feel thanks to personal touches – think charmingly mismatches antiqued in every room, quirky vintage chandeliers and a bed that was both one of the most magnificent and most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. It was heaven.
I didn’t have a great deal of time to revel in my surroundings that evening as I checked in with precisely 4 minutes until we were meant to leave for the first evening’s celebrations. Queue panic and world’s fastest outfit change and the worst lipstick application of all time. The Diesel team and their respective guests were all outside Harry’s Grill – the Duchi’s divine restaurant overlooking the Piazza Unità d’Italia. We were of course running on Italian time which allowed enough for me to knock back a much needed vino and Instagram the hell out of my surroundings. Eventually someone decided that it might actually not be a bad idea to make a move and so Laura, Alya Mooro – my fellow London guest of Diesel; journalist, blogger and all round babe – and I commenced the short totter along the seafront to the ITS Location; a vast, warehouse esque building opening out onto the water.
Me & Laura
That evening the venue was playing host to the Vernissage of ITS 2014′s accessories, artwork and jewellery and Samsung GALAXY Award finalists, each consisting of 10 finalists from at least 6 different countries. This year’s theme was “Lucid Dream” and the fantastical, varied and original creations the finalists created in response to it left me genuinely speechless, no mean feat as I suspect I don’t need to tell you. A couple of my favourites were Katharina Bauer, Ryota and Chiaki Murakami and Noriko Nakazato but they were all enormously impressive. This standard is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that the judging panel included Carla Sozzani, Nicola Formichetti, Nick Knight, Manish Arora, Consuelo Castiglioni and Susie Lau. Suitably awestruck, we wandered out onto the waterfront terrace which was bedecked with white umbrella topped seating areas and a buffet that was frankly the stuff of gluttonous dreams. We’re talking the kind of limitless, Mediterranean cuisine feast that runs a very real risk of ending in calamari induced food coma if not approached with the utmost caution (caution I did not exercise and suffered the consequences). There was also, of course, a never ending supply of very fine Italian wine which is never a bad thing. Being very much a global competition there were press, guests, judges and sponsors from all over the show in attendance with a pretty strong London contingent. I ran into lovely Laura Martin who styled my Ibiza shoot for Company Magazine back in June as well as fellow blogger and my Athens travel pal, Reem Kanj. All in all, it was a wonderful start to what would be a very memorable weekend. After hearing what some of the others got up to until the wee hours I rather regretted making a midnight return to my bed but good God it was comfortable.
By Katharina Bauer
By Ryota & Chiaki Murakami
By Noriko Nakazato
Me & Laura Martin
FYI, the Trieste street shots below were actually taken on day 3 but I’ve included them here, partially to show you how lovely the place is but mainly because I’m not going to write a whole separate post about alternating between nursing a hangover of epic proportions, attempting to work and walking around taking photographs of random stuff I thought looked nice, which is how I spent that particular afternoon. We also had a very delicious lunch at Harry’s Grill during which I drove the waiters mad by customising the menu like the irritating customer I am.
Me & Alya at Harry’s Bar
More on ITS Competition 2014 coming soon!
Love Ella. X