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Pitti Uomo’s 88th Edition: Highs and Lows

By Vivian Hendriksz


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This week has seen the Tuscan city transform of Florence transform into a hotspot for men’s fashion as 1,100 men’s wear labels from around the world gather together to show their Autumn/Winter ’15-’16 from June 16 to 19, at the 88th edition of Italian trade show Pitti Immagine Uomo. As the men’s wear extravagance draws in an end this Friday afternoon, FashionUnited gathered together some of the week’s high points and lows to offer a brief overview of the Italian trade fair.

Highs: Pitticolor, Moschino, Thomas Tait and Nino Cerutti

The theme this year for Pitti Uomo was “That’s Pitticolor!’ which featured a special set designed by Oliviero Baldini, at the Fortezza da Basso. The theme was the setting for the event’s opening performance, which was stage by Angelo Figure and included coloured smoke displays which punctuated the four days of the trade fair at different times. “It will be about colour and colours, the colours we are steeped in, the colours that surround us, the colours that we wear, that are inside us and before our eyes,” said Agostine Poletto, deputy general manager of Pitti Uomo on the theme. “The language of colour is also one of fashion’s basic ‘codes’, and once again it will lead us into a full-immersion course, a plunge into new looks and lifestyles.”

Men’s wear guest designer at Pitti Uomo Moschino, saw creative director Jeremy Scott present his first men’s wear collection in Italy, during a catwalk show at the Palazzo Corsini al Parione. The show, which was an eclectic homage to Italy, opened with the iconic image of Casanova and ended with famed motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi as influences for the collection’s imaginary trip through history. "In 2016 there's nothing that can stop you from wearing what you like, if it exists," Scott said after the show to ANSA. "Here it's not about details, of a pocket or of a seam or the height of a lapel--this is Moschino, baby.” Collection highlights included black coat tails embroidered with large gold question marks, a denim suit printed with precious stones and a brown alpaca parka which was embroidered with 16th century silk thread flowers.

In contrast to Scott’s elaborate show, Thomas Tait, Pitti Uomo’s women’s guest designer hosted a mini-exhibition at the Limonaua di Zanobi Rosso in the Boboli gardens, which focused on slow fashion. “In a time when the window of opportunity to develop new fabrics is shutting down, I wanted to give a chance to look into the context of my brand,” said Thomas Tait to WWD. The designer revisited previous collections and reimagined and remade certain items for the exhibition using new fabrics and resources. Visitors where invited to touch and feel the 7 pieced collection, which included a updated coat from his autumn 2011 collection in reversible virgin wool.

The trade fair is also home to the debut exhibition dedicated to Nino Cerutti, named ‘II Signor Nino,’ host at the Museo Marino Marini. As one of the leading figures on the Italian men’s wear fashion scene for over fifty years, the exhibition portrays his unique ideas and style. “II Signor Nino is a long story told in the present tense,” said Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine, “because Nino Cerutti’s style is an example of natural and understated elegance with its roots in today. And its strengthens its meaning in a context like Pitti Uomo, where style and how it evolves has always been an essential theme.”

This season saw the Italian trade fair receive a record number of applications from around the globe. 42 percent of exhibitors at Pitti Uomo came from over thirty countries, including a record number of British men’s wear, footwear and accessories labels. The number of buyers visiting the event increased between 7 and 8 percent compared to last year edition in June, according to preliminary results released by the event’s organisers.

Lows: Florence hotel costs and blogger mania

A number of visitors and participants at Pitti Uomo have reportedly been very vocal regarding their concern with Florence’s hotel pricing during the trade fair, according to Fashionmag. Certain brands have begun to skip exhibiting at the trade fair because their customers shorten their stay in the city due to the increasing high cost of hotels. One CEO from a luxury brand claims to have switched over to hosting its own events during the beginning of the trade fair when all the key buyers may still be present. "We found that our customers, particularly retailers from top department stores and stores in Asia, have curtailed their stays in Florence because of this problem. It’s one of the reasons that made us leave Pitti Uomo," he said. Pitti Uomo remains an important source of income for the city of Florence, due to the plus 30,000 visitors which come with the trade fair. Even the city’s Mayor, Dario Nardella, has noticed the change in pricing during the trade fair and has asked hotels to charge lower prices during Pitti Uomo and introduce special packaged rated for those exhibiting at the event.

Another issue at Pitti Uomo is the increasing presence of fashion bloggers, prowling the streets surrounding the trade fair in the hopes of being photographed. “This blogger phenomenon performs well, but it’s getting too much,” said Hirofumi Kurino, United Arrows’ chief creative director to WWD. “People just want to show off. This kills the culture of fashion. The energy goes into show-off design, instead of creation. Fashion retail in general is not good at the moment. The lower and middle markets in Japan are a disaster. This means we should offer something meaningful and interesting to our customers,” he added, explaining he was appreciative of Pitti Uomo’s handcrafted items, in more neutral tones.

Images: Pitti Immagine Uomo

Pitti Uomo
Thomas Tait
United Arrows