Villa Favard

When we met with Danilo Venturi – writer, teacher, consultant and, most importantly, director of Florence’s Polimoda  – we asked him to tell us about the project that he, as director of one of the most interesting fashion schools on the international panorama, is bringing to Pitti.

What should we expect from the new talents? And what does fashion need from them? 
In recent years, we in our sector have been witnessing an evolution in professional profiles and the emergence of an increasing number of “hybrid” profiles that mix creative and managerial expertise, technical and communication skills, vision and the capacity to strategize. I believe that the new designers must possess a full awareness of the market, its history, its dynamics: talent is of course fundamental, but only if it is solidly grounded will it succeed in finding its own space and positioning itself within a context that has become more competitive than ever. Fashion is looking for creative talents with “disruptive” ideas, designers and managers possessed of courageous visions, which must be communicated in unique and innovate ways.
What do you feel is your fundamental task as director of a school that trains tomorrow’s creative talents? 
We take rough diamonds and cut and polish to make each one sparkle; this means allowing the characteristics and individuality of each talent to shine through the faceting. Our task is therefore to observe and to listen in order to identify the potentials, the strong points and the shortcomings of each student and then to provide the knowledge and skills each needs to define his or her identity. Personal attention to our students and respect of their individuality is at the center of our work here at Polimoda.  Teaching and making sure that our students can find their own paths requires that we always remain open-minded and available to them – and our mission is to be just that.
The theme of your show this year centers on an important trend, the expression of the Ego. Our times are tagged as a period of great individualism. Do you think we are more individualistic than before? And how is this reflected in fashion? 
Strip away classifications and social stereotypes, and what remains in every case is a human being. Tell Me About You aims to encourage students to show their real identities in their creations – show them to others, surely, but also to themselves. Garments become tools for communicating an identity, for initiating a silent dialogue, for introducing a story. In an age of individualism, attention to quality for the individual has become an essential need. True luxury, today, is not the garment: it’s the person who wears it. 
Your expectations from Pitti? What would you like to see? 
Florence is one of the fashion capitals of the world and the Pitti salons are among the principal propulsive forces driving the industry. During the week of Pitti Uomo, the whole face of the city changes: as it concentrates a community of fashion insiders, it pulses with events and with life. We are at the center of global fashion attention. From a city of art and history, Florence transforms into a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis thanks to an inflow of more than 30,000 people from upwards of 100 foreign countries, all speaking a common language, one which by now is part of our lives: fashion. Special events, business opportunities, young, emerging talents: this is the heady atmosphere I expect to be breathing during the fair.