Room Service

by Maria Rossi

photography Claudia Esposito

16 February 2015

The gracious rooms of the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora in Rome were the fascinating backdrop for this year’s edition of “Room Service.” The exhibition, curated by Simonetta Gianfelici, offered its guests a stroll through fifteen suites of the Marriott, each an intimate atelier dedicated to a different designer. Mixing the emerging, the iconoclastic and the international, the show offers a figurative path to explore, in fluid succession, the disparate worlds of lesser-known designers, the avant-garde of the Italian artisanal and clothing tradition, and the fresh perspective of young foreign guests–this year, coming from Russia and the countries of the old Soviet Bloc.

The first world to be discovered is that of Ludovica Amati. An almost immaterial dimension is always prevalent in her designs, where decorations and embroideries extend over the body like tattoos, in close dialogue between the body and soul. Amati’s universe is shaped by a constant theoretical research which translates into a refined aesthetic emphasized by the precious printing and coloring techniques she has picked up while traveling across India, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

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Moving on to accessories, Ida De Rosis’ collection of bags references the art maestros of the 20th century, such as Matisse, Arp and Malevich. De Rosis’ use of decoration, as in the pony hair clutch with stunning silver closures (pictured below), is not merely an expression of luxury but of an intimate connection with the artistic references the designer draws upon. The world of accessories designers Co.Ro and Giuliana Mancinelli Bonafaccia share an undercurrent of geometric and rationalistic references, and not by chance, as both Costanza De Cecco and Giulia Giannini – the Co.Ro designers – and Bonafaccia come from a background in architecture. In Bonafaccia’s collection of necklaces, bracelets and bags, the geometric shapes in brass, silver and plexiglass are arranged in textures inspired by macro-photography, architecture and art.

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Among the international guests, the refined work of Zulfiya Sulton, a young designer from Uzbekistan, is the result of a contemporary sensitivity and taste applied to the interpretation of fabrics.  Alo-béchamel and adras, textiles which are original to her country, are rendered light and ethereal in the long flowing dresses which are among the most striking pieces in her collection. Following are the Co.Ro jewels, which play with the idea of applying architectural shapes directly to the body in an almost metaphysical transposition, and the duo Chez Dédé’s small editions of exclusive accessories with high grade natural materials and an entirely Italian craft, characterized by a stylistic inclination towards chic nonchalance.

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The international guest Vahan Khachatryan presented a collection distinguished by an outstanding attention to detail and a painstaking manual process in the Byzantine decorations and patterns accenting his creations.

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A reference to geometric forms is detectable in the style of Isla Fontaine, based on ample shapes, clean cuts and a pure, minimalist appearance. By contrast, the creations from Shooting Bag 1981, founded by Alessandro Di Cola, offer a steam-punk aesthetic, reinforced by the use of aluminum, which is given a new twist with the addition of colored leather, fur and pony hair insets–suggestions borrowed from the designer’s past experience in the world of horse-riding.

The pieces in the final images belong to InVitro: the brand’s foundation is in leather, which is then combined with softer materials like silk and cotton jerseys.

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"Room Service took place at the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora in Rome from January 30th to February 1st  2015.”

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