Presenting our latest video, The Sound of Made in Italy for Artigiano Contemporaneo, at Pitti Uomo, I took a stroll around the stands and stumbled upon this seriously cool new brand of bags (mainly but not only), IMHO one of the most exciting on show at the Florentine fair this year. Alessandro Enriquez and Azzurra Gronchi teamed up while working together at Costume National. The outcome from this combination of two of Italy’s brightest young design talents could only be dazzling. It’s taken the form of audacious accessories under the label, already used elsewhere by Ale, An Italian Theory.
For Alessandro is also the author of 10×10 An Italian Theory (published by Lombardi Editori), an extraordinary book about food, and eating it, and design, based on 10 dinner parties he held for 10 movers and shakers, with dinner-time anecdotes, recipes and of course Ale’s Italian theory. Born in Palermo of Spanish-Jewish and French Tunisian as well as Sicilian lineage, he graduated from Central Saint Martins and stepped right into the Milan rag trade, soon to be senior menswear designer at CN. Azzurra hails from one of Italy’s biggest tanneries in Tuscany and studied to hone her design and management skills. She’d already worked on leather goods with the likes of D&G and Ferragamobefore running into Ale at CN, and produces a luxury if classic bag collection under her own name.
The zesty, pop-inspired An Italian Theory collection is loaded with a lucky-charm theme: bags, pochettes, rucksacks and purses, even caps, helmets and gloves, all with recognizable symbols such as the sacred heart, the horseshoe, the elephant with its trunk raised, ladybirds – and the corno or Italian horn, a classic to ward off the evil eye over here. I loved everything about the tongue-in-cheek, neo-kitsch design, and it certainly stood out in the crowd of been-there, post-hipster, tartan stuff that was everywhere to be seen. I’m curious to see where An Italian Theory will go from here. Break a leg, guys!