2012
You will probably never in your lifetime get to see Silvia Venturini Fendi, Kim Jones, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood and Donatella Versace under the same roof.  However, today, Suzy Menkes proved me wrong. She managed to bring together all of the above and many more for the 12th IHT Luxury Conference in Rome. 
 
This year’s topic: ‘The promise of Africa and the power of the Mediterranean’. 
 
If you didn’t have a chance to follow my live tweets @MatthewZorpas, you can read all the great insightful thoughts from the speakers below. 
 
Simone Cipriani  Head, Poor Communities and Trade Programme & Chief Technical Advisor said the following for his work in Africa: 
 
“We produce quality products for Stella McCartney, Venturini Fendi and Vivienne Westwood”
“We work with the poorest of the poor but this is not pity or charity, but work”
“When do we start working together? Today. It’s not charity. It’s work”
 
 
Jochen Zeitz , Director of PPR and Chairman of the board’s sustainable development committee and Chairman of PUMA SE, described the continent as the heart of light and an unlimited source of beauty.
 
“I’m not suggesting that Africa is a new China in the making. It has true potentials that comes from within”
“Luxury is not about price, but inspiration, rare, bespoke and quality far beyond utility” 
“We’ve got to support positive possibilities if we want more positive people and a positive change”
 
Kim Jones, Men’s Style Director Louis Vuitton gets inspired by Africa and mentioned that he always reference something from Africa in all his collections.  
“I can take any reference from all around the world and thats a privilege working for LV. “
 
 
Jean Paul Gaultier, talked about his love for diversity and couture. 
” What I don’t like about fashion is how easily we can hate what we loved last season”
On young designers “Be yourself. Open your eyes and listen your reaction feelings.” Couture is changing but is a necessity in a way.”
 
Farida Khelfa, Ambassador Maison Schiaparelli, revealed  Schiaparelli’s plans to relaunch haute couture in July.  
 
Giancarlo Giammetti, Founder Valentino:
“Our virtual museum is not a profitable organisation but is funded by myself and Valentino”
“Our virtual museum is the only 3D museum in the world”
 
 
Vivienne Westwood expressed her environmental concerns in the fashion business:
“My problem as a fashion designer is that I want quality rather than quantity”
“Economics is not a science it’s consensus”
“The only way to get a sound economy is to consider climate change. Both need to be tackled together”
“We will not save the world by fashion. We are not looking of the future. Our future is so fragile”
 
 
Donatella Versace talked about her connections with Italy and heritage. 
“We Italians are surrounded by art & history, we love our history so we look to our history for inspiration.” 
“Young designers must choose one idea and go deep”
 
My evening ended at the outstanding Musei Capitolini, piazza del Campidoglio. 
 
Stay tuned for Renzo Rosso, Franca Sozzani, Manolo Blahnk and many more tomorrow!
M.