Regardless of how short a time I spend on a trip, I always seem to write at least two travel posts about it. Four years of blogging doesn’t seem to have curbed the tendency to ramble that drove my teachers insane. In the case of this particular excursion however, we really were there for a while and fitted a LOT in so it seems justified. Trieste day two involved both a full on morning of back to back interviews with the competition judges, and afternoon at the seaside as well as the competition final, fashion show, dinner, party and after party, perhaps not surprising I lay comatose in my obscenely comfortable bed until ten minutes before we had to check out the following morning. I know I keep banging on about that bloody bed but but seriously, it was like sleeping inside a giant hug, magical. On the morning of day two however I was forced to drag myself from its featherweight confines as I needed to get myself suitably spruced to meet some very important people. After a totally failed attempt to go for a run along the shore – i.e ten minutes of jog-walk-jog-give-up – I was ready to hit up the Grand Hotel Duchi‘s unsurprisingly divine breakfast before making the quick stroll round the corner to the Hotel Savoia Excelsior.
The next few hours were fascinating, albeit fascinating in a very intense sort of way. In a truly gobsmacking feat of organisational excellence, several hundred journalists would interview the judging panel, current and past finalists through a series of tightly times 15 minute one-on-one’s, not dissimilar to speed dating. My interviewees were recently appointed CEO of the Italian Fashion Council, Jane Reeve; Senior Editor of Vogue Italia, Sara Maino; Editor-in-Chief of JOYCE Magazine, Maria Eugenia Alberti; legendary editor, innovator and gallerist, Carla Sozzani and Nicola Formichetti who’s current creative roles are simply to numerous to list. It was an absolute privilege to interview such incredibly inspiring, pioneering and established names in the industry and the insights they shared were invaluable. I will be sharing them with you too over the next few weeks and months but to try to edit them down to soundbites for this post would be to do my subjects, and you dear readers, a disservice. For now just trust me when I tell you, they were amazing. Once the interview session wrapped Laura, Alya and I joined the rest of the Diesel team, their guests and Livin’Cool founder Emanuele D’Angelo who was on the terrace for a much needed drink (I mean, it was midday after all) before heading into the hotel ballroom for lunch.
From left: Emanuele, Alya, Laura & Me
Sufficiently stuffed with Italian fare we pondered our next move. With a long, free afternoon stretching before us there really seemed only one sensible option: get into our bikinis and hit the beach. Well, not “beach” exactly but the beauty of the Hotel Riviera‘s panoramic coastal views and elegant lounging facilities more than made up for a lack of actual sand. The Hotel itself was an utterly gorgeous cornflower yellow building adorned with white washed window boxes boasting fuchsia blooms and perched atop the cliffs, overlooking the surreally blue ocean. A journey down in a lift encased within a round tower took us to the waterfront where smart red and yellow sun loungers awaited. Me, Laura, Alya, Emanuele, Diesel’s incredible gorgeous stateside PR, Simone and Style.Com editor, Katharine Zarella – incidentally, the most fabulous human being I’ve met in my life who I’d very much like to be when I grown up – spent an utterly blissful afternoon dipping in and out of the water, drinking Prosecco, eating pizza, chatting and generally having a very good time. The fact that this could technically be called “work” only added to the surreal awesomeness of the whole situation.
Eventually it was time to go and do some actual work – if a waterfront dinner and cocktail party followed by a fashion show followed by an after party can be thought of as such – so we peeled ourselves off our loungers and headed back to the Grand Hotel Duchi which by this point I’d start to wishfully think of as “home”. One very quick outfit change and a slightly less quick fannying about on Facebook session later we were on our way back to the ITS Venue where the cocktails were already flowing, guests mingling and another feast had been laid out ready for munching.
The joy of eating and drinking outside by the water almost began to make me yearn to swap city life for an altogether more laid back existence, but the fashion frenzy that ensued once we we’d taken our seats and the finalists show began soon put paid to that. Through a show that lasted several hours we were treated to a visual spectacle of fearless design as each of the fashion finalists collections took to the catwalk, allowing my seatmate, A Magazine’s Dan Thawley and I to thoroughly enjoy ourselves analysing the creations before us and guessing who might win what. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but a fair few of our predictions turned out to be correct. And so without further ado, the fashion award winners for ITS 2014 were as follows…
Fashion Collection of the Year Award:
€ 15,000 towards the development of a new collection to be presented at ITS
Katherine Roberts-Wood, Great Britain.
€25,000 plus a 6-month internship with Diesel’s Creative Team
Zoe Waters, Great Britain.
Fashion Special Prize:
Anita Hirlekar, Iceland.
Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana Award:
€2,500 plus a 6-month internship at Trussardi
Natalija Mencej, Slovenia
Vogue Talents Award:
Publication on Vogue.it of a photo shoot and interview as well as a dedicated feature in the
supplement to Vogue Italia released in September
Katherine Roberts-Wood, Great Britain.
Creation of a fashion film with SHOWstudio
Yasuto Kimura, Japan.
€3,000 to the most interesting knitwear collection
Anna Bornhold, Germany.
There were of course equally prestigious awards and worthy recipients for the jewellery, accessories, artwork and Samsung GALAXY Award categories but listing all of them all would go on forever. If you want to know exactly who won what, you can fin out on the ITS Competition website here. Attending the show was wonderful for many reasons, not least because seeing the young talents who’s skills were on show are the future of the industry we so adore. It was also a very heartening experience that, for me at least, really conveyed both the beauty and the duality of fashion. As we all know, there’s a lot of superficiality and, for want of a better word, bullshit involved in it all but the genuine support, love and creativity demonstrated at ITS 2014 was really quite moving. When the award winners got up to collect their prizes, many in tears of joy and disbelief, to be hugged and congratulated by their mentors and judges I had to try very heard not to cry myself! Finally the show drew to a close and we all filed out of the venue… Or at least, we tried to. For the first time in at least a decade, the ITS Competition final in Trieste coincided with the kind of rainstorm that leaves even us Brits unable to venture outside. Sadly this rather put paid to the planned after party but, shocker, we still all managed to have a very good time. The hours that followed involved a lot of dashing around in the rain with our formerly glamourous frocks getting drenched, an impromptu soiree at the Hotel Savoia hosted by Renzo Rosso and a possibly ill advised four man after party in my hotel room. All in all, attending the ITS Competition 2014 final was utterly fantastic, fabulous and fun and I very much hope to get the chance to do it all again. Diesel, I cannot thank you enough for taking me as your guest and being the most generous hosts.
Love Ella. X