Furio Francini, who has been the CEO at the Accademia Costume & Moda since 2013, tells us about his expectations for the future and for the event planned together with Modateca Deanna for the next Pitti Filati.
What should we expect from the new crop of talent? What does the fashion world need from them?
A professional approach, design competency, technical and product knowledge, an understanding of “costume” or rather “society” and a familiarity with market logic. As well as humility, determination, energy, a desire to learn, to experiment, to take risks and to dare. The young can “travel light”, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
What do you feel is your main task as director of school that grows the creative talent of tomorrow?
As CEO of the Accademia Costume & Moda, my brother Lupo Lanzara (Vice Presidente) and I represent the third generation. Our mission is to coordinate and guide the work group and advance the DNA and the legacy of the Accademia, bringing it up to date and in line with the demands of the industry and market.
The challenge is to transfer skill and knowledge, to share real and tangible “experiences” while working on the individual; because every human being is unique. We set our sights on a horizon well in the distance. If today the Accademia has ex students who fill important roles as Creative Directors like, for example, Alessandro Michele and many others, it means that a cultural and professional standard was sown 20 years ago, which has contributed to a platform on which our graduates have been able to build their careers. The question we ask ourselves daily is: if the objectives in the field of creative training are quality and individuality, is it possible to create training academies/institutes with thousands of students in different locations all round the world? And does the concept of genius loci really exist? Or can it all be scaled and replicated?
How did the concept for your event come about?
Our event is the result of work carried out by the students of our first Level Masters in Creative Knitwear Design, recognised by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, in partnership with the Modateca Deanna and Sonia Veroni and Deanna Ferretti, (re-baptised by many as the “Queen of Knitwear”). It is a unique initiative. There are 12 students from various countries with international top-flight training in fashion. In addition to attending lessons at the Academy (approx. 30% of the total duration of the Masters), they work in the knitwear district at the Modateca Deanna, the globally unique research centre in Emilia Romagna. The Masters is in fact run in collaboration with around 40 companies* that cover all aspects of the production line, from the big brands, to the knit factories, embroidery workshops, yarn suppliers etc. It is a unique and exceptional gesture of generosity by these companies. To put the collections created by these students on the catwalk at Pitti Filati, together with all the partners, was the last link in the chain of a project dedicated to supporting and working with young talent, with an eye to the future. An example of Italy’s ability to create a system that makes it unique on the global stage.
What are your expectations from Pitti, what would you like to see?
I would like to see dynamism, ideas, passion, creativity, solidity and lots of young people and the above all, an Italy that “works as a system”. Our president, Fiamma Lanzara, would use a Latin saying, “ad maiora!”
After graduating in Business Administration at the John Cabot University, he began his career in London in 1994 as Junior Credit Analyst at the London Branch of the Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura. Between 1995-2004 he holds the role of Equity Analyst (NatWest Markets, Banco Santander, UBS) with various responsibilities (Industrials, Consumer, Media & Internet, Banks) and receives various international awards: no.1 Italian Equity Research (Institutional Investor, Extel between 2000-2004), no.1 European Internet Research (Extel 2002). In 2004 he founds Francini & Partners, advisor to the UK fund Zebedee Capital, Identifying investment opportunities in Italy, Southern Europe and in the Consumer, Media and Bank sectors. Between 2006-2013, at Mediobanca, he formed and guided the Equity Investments Group looking after investments in Europe. During this period, he was a member of the Investments Committee.