Fashion brand’s No. 1 act endorsed by Valentino for Spring 2023 show – WWD

MILAN – Being endorsed by an established fashion house of Valentino’s size and reputation comes with a generous dose of pressure.

However, speaking to Galib Gassanoff and Luca Lin – whose label Act N.1 has been selected by the Roman company as an emerging brand to support this season – it’s clear that what could be a source of anxiety is more like a healthy adrenaline rush. Valentino will offer designers its Instagram platform for a live stream of the spring show, which will be held in Milan on Thursday.

Reached by phone three days before the event, the design duo were running into the device, but kept their firm signature when discussing what the initiative means for the brand and what to expect from the upcoming collection.

“Compared to previous times, there is certainly more pressure, but one that encourages us to do even better and push ourselves even further in presenting a stronger collection,” said Lin.

As reported, Act N.1 will follow Marco Rambaldi in capturing the attention of social media and the attention of Valentino’s 17.2 million followers during this edition of Milan Fashion Week. The initiative that the Roman brand started with the Italian fashion house first started in February, when the first contact was made between Maison Valentino and Act N.1.

“They got in touch three days before our previous show when we were casting. So this was an injection of energy for that show as well, because at our wildest time, in the middle of work and sleepless nights, we got such news and we were extremely happy,” Lin recalls.

When introducing the initiative last year, Maison Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli said the aim was to offer young designers the opportunity to use the brand’s social platform “as a stage to expand their work and their message” and that talents “whose sensibility resonates with our core. identity values” would approach.

Founded in 2016, Act N.1 stands for inclusiveness and a personal, multicultural view of fashion, with its collections blending a flair for deconstructed, theatrical tailoring and stylistic influences that come from the founders’ own backgrounds, as Lin is half Chinese and Gassanoff was born in Azerbaijan but raised in Georgia.

A preview of a look from the Act N.1 Spring 2023 collection, which will be unveiled on September 22, 2022, in Milan.

The spring 2023 collection will continue to build on these pillars, with Gassanoff emphasizing that the creative process continued as usual. Valentino’s house “gave us complete freedom to express ourselves and without any restrictions,” he explained.

“Because that’s the whole point: Pierpaolo chose us for the work we do and what we present, so it was important to maintain that freedom,” Lin said.

At the time of the announcement, Piccioli described the duo’s work as “light and deep as every young designer’s vision should be, and perhaps all of us.”

Freedom and self-expression are at the core of the message that Act N.1 aims to spread. The brand has explored various social themes in its collections over the years, from raising awareness about women’s rights to spotlighting minorities and subcultures.

“At first, we were a little afraid of touching on these topics in the way we’re doing now, because we were worried about how it would be perceived,” Lin said. “But now we are much more confident in following our path.”

For spring 2023, the pair will explore the different characters within each person “because everyone wears some kind of mask depending on different occasions,” Lin said, adding that the historical tradition of Chinese opera will be referenced in this investigation and , more pragmatically, it. will nod to the key prints and cuts that will appear on the clothes.

Their experimental approach often results in hybrid styles that fuse different pieces into one, a juxtaposition of masculine and feminine elements and a play with deconstructed silhouettes.

“There will be patchworks and styling tricks in this collection, too, through distressed denim patches, and an exaggeration of the military theme in denim and tulle, which is one of our key fabrics,” said Gassanoff.

Indeed, the brand is best known for its dramatic, maximalist tulle pieces and their cross-pollination with tailoring, and Gassanoff assured that this collection will have its fair share of those as designers are applying the finishing touches to “structural pieces and views in different volumes”, was decided to show their skills.

Act N.1 RTW Spring 2022

Courtesy of Act N.1

This season, the pair will present their first collection of women’s shoes, after some joint experiments. These will include flat and mostly high-heeled styles “with a distinct, very graphic shape” and revamping “some elements that we use a lot in our collections,” Lin said, declining to divulge more.

A collaboration with Casio will also debut on the runway, with the Japanese brand’s timepieces appearing in several pieces. Along with the rest of the looks, these will be paraded in a basic set-up, aimed at letting the clothes shine, while a few props will pop up here and there to mimic the feeling of being behind the scenes.

As for casting, since the beginning of their fashion journey, Gassanoff and Lin have promoted inclusivity, sending a wide variety of body types and models ranging from mature women to toddlers down the runway. This approach creates another shared value with Maison Valentino.

“In the last few years, we’ve made connections with different people who were also connected to the Valentino story,” Gassanoff noted, citing model Elisabetta Dessy as an example.

Elisabetta Dessy modeling at the Act N.1 RTW Fall 2022 runway show.

Aitor Rosas/WWD

“She was a Valentino model in the 1970s, and we worked with her for the last three years when she was no longer modeling,” Gassanoff recalls. “We loved the idea of ​​having her in our cast and we really like her personality, the character she brings to our shows and videos. It was like a rediscovery for us. And then we discovered the historical connection she has with Valentino and the personal one with Pierpaolo only recently, after the brand’s last fashion show in Rome.”

Debuting at Milan Fashion Week in 2018 with the Spring 2019 collection, Act N.1 has been part of the city’s schedule ever since, presenting collections through both physical runway shows and digital conceptual formats during the pandemic.

Italy’s fashion association has also supported the brand, which two years in a row received grants from the Camera Moda Fashion Trust, a non-profit organization founded in 2017 to help young Italian talents develop their businesses with financial assistance, as well as mentorship programs of business and tutoring.

Galib Gassanoff and Luca Lin of Act N.1 with a model wearing a look from the brand’s Fall 2022 collection.

Courtesy of Camera Moda Fashion Trust

Act N.1 is available through international stockists, including Selfridges in London, Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, as well as Sita 1910, Ant/Dote and Forty Five Ten in the U.S. Asia represents a strong market with more than 20 stockists with minority in mainland China.

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