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Invasion of the Brits at Pitti

A group of British designers was invited to showcase their 2010 pre-collections at Florence’s Pitti_W Woman.

The main aim of the organisers of the “Pitti_W Woman” event, held last week in Florence, was expanding the scope of the popular pre-collection trade show. The organisers perfectly reached their target by dedicating the ground floor of the classic Villa Vittoria to a group of British designers.

Located across the road from the Fortezza da Basso, Villa Vittoria offered an international and slightly more refined atmosphere. Italian visitors, more used to the big names of the local fashion scene, were finally able to see collections by innovative womenswear labels and designers such as Christopher Kane, Emma Cook, Markus Lupfer, Preen, Richard Nicoll and Jonathan Saunders.

Walking around the rooms of Villa Vittoria gave visitors the chance to preview Emma Cook’s dresses and tops with fairytale-like prints of Hitchcockian little birds; Preen’s mini-dresses characterised by pleated and folded motifs; German but London-based designer Markus Lupfer’s jersey tops with sequinned ruby lips and black palms, thick metal snakes studded with sparkling crystals crossing shirts and skirts and grey jersey shirts with 3-D trompe l’oeil lace corsets.
The strongest collections presented were by Christopher Kane, Richard Nicoll and Jonathan Saunders. Kane’s first pre-collection featured images of nuclear tests printed on dresses, tops and trousers. Though the mushroom clouds were rather disquieting, their brightly vivid colours – from rusty orange to soft lilac and mimosa yellow – were quite beautiful. The cut of the garments was also interesting: the “Nuclear Diamond Dress” for example was characterised by a nude coloured patch of fabric cut in the shape of a diamond, surrounded by prints of mauve mushroom clouds. Cropped leather jackets and clutches and envelope bags covered in multi-coloured Swarovski crystals completed the collection.  

Nicoll’s Resort Collection featured crepe de chine vest dresses, black and white check trousers matched with apricot vests with bright orange patches, pink shirt dresses with cut out shoulder details, striped jumpsuits, jade green grosgrain ribbon miniskirts paired with double crepe vests with georgette overlayers and slate grey ribbon dresses. Navy, cream and grey prevailed, while Perspex and metal medal brooches encrusted with crystals were used as decorations on skirts and tops.

Saunders’s showcased a selection of scarves with his graphic designs, optical prints à la Victor Vasarely and stylised dark grey robots. The best pieces were the luxurious silk and cashmere Allen cardigans in grey/jade green or grey/orange, the boyfriend’s oversized T-shirts with abstract graphic prints and pastel coloured lyocell vest dresses.  
“I consider Pitti_W Woman the beginning of the Spring-Summer season,” Richard Nicoll told Dazed Digital. “Showing my resort collection there felt like the ideal way to introduce it and gain momentum prior to being in Paris during couture week.”