IPM 2013: Adriano Franchi (General Manager of AltaRoma (Rome Fashion Week) interview
Adriano Franchi is General Manager of AltaRoma (Rome Fashion Week), which finishes the same week in July as IPM begins. He is also a speaker in the IPM 2013 panel discussion: Vitamin-Enriched, the added value of creatively merging design, fashion and music, acknowledging the strategic success of aggregation, clustering and working together as if “in a beehive.”
Interview by Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma)
Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma): Apart from the sound-tracks to fashion parades, what is the importance of music to fashion in general and to AltaRoma in particular?
ADRIANO FRANCHI, General Manager AltaRoma: Fashion and music are closely linked in terms of creativity, with the means to be able to foresee, and sometimes to influence people and the expectations of customers. They are both part of daily life for everyone, like food. The look of rock stars always influenced new trends in the fashion industry, but music started to play a key role in fashion mainly after the 80’s, when video-clips were adopted by major labels as the most successful way to launch and promote new singers.
It was a brand new way of product-placement aimed at a new target, comparable to what had happened in cinema in the 60’s. By “mashing-up” music with fashion catwalks and venues, AltaRoma adds more spice to its events, increasing young people’s interest in fashion.
Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma): What is the importance of AltaRoma in bringing to Rome the top players in the creative industries of fashion, design, music and entertainment. And please tell us about the arrival this year of Jean Paul Gaultier as a featured superstar at AltaRoma? Is there a special reason why he chose Roma? How does this relate to fashion events in Milano and Firenze?
The original mission of AltaRoma was to promote high fashion and to discover and launch the emerging “Made in Italy” talents. More recently, AltaRoma has been keen to select luxury goods and artisanal products with a contemporary edge. Our activity adds something new and different in the “panorama” of other Italian fashion weeks. Our scouting projects sometimes become “refilling” for Milano and Firenze fashion weeks, since many of our initiatives over the past two years are then also then displayed there.
Hosting top players in the worlds of fashion, design, music and entertainment is a way to stimulate curiosity about what AltaRoma has to offer, addressing those who once considered Roma fashion week as being far from the international mainstream. We can say our goal has been reached, especially in the last three years. The presence of Jean Paul Gaultier at our current fashion week is the most clear signal of all.
Last November, he previously decided to make a special fashion show in Rome with AltaRoma, during the International Herald Tribune Luxury Conference here.
He loves Rome, as many other fashion superstars also do, including Giorgio Armani, who set his OneNightOnly show in Rome last month. Gaultier has also said that when he was taking the first steps in his extraordinary career, he was inspired by many Roman designers, particularly the couture of Valentino, Galitzine, Lancetti, Balestra. Many of these designers still give a special flavour to our fashion week, through their own fashion shows, or reinterpreted by clever, younger designers.
Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma): How much is globalization, prompted by the internet and digital media, changing high fashion in Italy – and does it change how AltaRoma operates?
Globalisation has really changed the way we communicate. In the fashion industry, AltaRoma was among the first to work with bloggers, launching “Fashion on paper” in 2009, an annual event where new, independent forces in the world of fashion and web-publishing meet to exchange ideas. It includes a rich program of events, installations and artistic and musical performances.
Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma): Given the benefits of different cultural ecosystems working together, why have you specifically agreed to participate in IPM 2013?
IPM is becoming a driving force behind the music industry in Rome, attracting people from all over the world, just like AltaRoma works for the fashion business as a new launching pad for emerging designers. We both aim to make Rome an international centre, and a testing ground for artists.
Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma): Is this an example of how the different worlds are now uniting? AltaRoma occurs directly prior to IPM. Is there a linked future?
We do hope to create a stronger link between AltaRoma and IPM. It could be interesting to work together, to bring the best worldwide musicians to Rome. Maybe a special event could be organized – mixing fashion and music – to create a new scene, to give visibility to a melting pot of different forms of excellence. A meeting place and the fusion of different languages, a centre of research and cutting-edge trends, as part of an international scenario.
Jonathan Turner (IPM Roma): Many people might not know this, but you are also a keen dj with a focused knowledge about current musical trends. Can you explain how this might influence your role as General Manager of AltaRoma?
“Keen DJ” sounds a little bit exaggerated…. Indeed I’m mainly a dance vinyl collector. I love the 45’s you can find in flea markets all over the world! I always loved playing with mixers and turn-tables and, more recently, with digital stuff, which is more comfortable for those who, like me, are not exclusively and professionally dedicated to music.
The problem of playing digital is that often you risk downloading much more music than you can play for months! It’s probably easier to explain how my role as general manager of a company involved in fashion has influenced my “other side”, making me discover new trends and new iconic djs linked with the fashion system.
Anyway, deejaying for me means finding balances between many different volumes, tones, bits and genres, to guarantee an output that is appreciated. It’s the same thing I do in my job, every day trying to make new “sets” by mixing existing ingredients, to add value to the final output and…..working hard, enjoying a lot.”