A new edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo is fast approaching. What brings you here to Florence every season, what do you think is the importance of Pitti and what do you like about it? And what are you expecting in particular from this edition?
I think that there is no question about the role of Pitti as the finger on the pulse and incubator for a certain male style. It has classic roots yet unexpected interpretations. Pitti is a benchmark for the world of contemporary fashion and this is a well-deserved role. My curiosity in what is going on – international appeal and a cosmopolitan range of products are the pluses of this fair – is what brings me to Pitti Uomo season after season. Discovering new brands, rethinking old ones, appreciating the result of experimentation into aesthetics or materials that lead to the collections on show. Since its debut, I have been particularly attracted to Touch, the pavilion that in my opinion gathers the best of international experimentation, expressed through a classicism that is off - totally outside the box: labels like Nanamica, Monitaly or the Italians Barena and Camo. I expect a good many surprises from this edition: I am curious to see what Emiliano Laszlo, Emiliano Rinaldi and Andrea Pompilio will get up to. The show by Kenzo promises to be a treat for all the senses and this in itself is enough to whet my appetite. And then there is my ‘Vestirsi da Uomo’ in collaboration with thecorner.com: I have created an installation featuring the ideal male wardrobe, comprising pieces that will be on sale online immediately at thecorner.com, all accompanied by a little book/pamphlet that is both a guide and an abstract experiment in words and images of masculine style today. In my opinion, obviously: I am still a convinced relativist.
When everything looks black, especially during periods of financial pain, Pitti Immagine Uomo helps us to remember that style lends colour to our lives and that we Italians really know what we’re doing. Far removed from easy Italian fanaticism, having a precise perception of your own value of Made in Italy is the winning move for a system that plays on an aggressive world chessboard. An identity that gains strength without getting stuck in a niche, putting itself to test against the best of foreign brands. Then, for me, Pitti is also the showcase all too often denied to our younger talents. I am very curious about the Alternative Set initiative, inaugurated last time round with temporary events and installations promoted by new-gen designers. It is a way of communicating fashion that has an art feel to it, a litmus paper that reveals the present (and the future) of creativity.
Pitti Uomo is a must-visit for understanding the evolution of male clothing and the fashion market in general. Visiting the pavilions in the classic sector, you immediately sense the birth of new trends or confirmation of those already out there. It is also a fundamental chance to talk to people who work in this sector, from CEOs to entrepreneurs, and understand how the market is changing and what the best strategies are to adopt as a consequence. As far as new ideas are concerned, I find that Pitti Uomo always offers small collections that are truly interesting for their creative quality and price, fundamental characteristics for today’s market of fashion goods. This year I am really curious to see what three guest stars will be doing: the first are the two creative designers of the Opening Ceremony, here organising a big happening for Kenzo; the second is an Italian I really admire, Andrea Pompilio, one of the few designers to have quickly found fame and fortune in the very difficult segment of menswear. The Who's on Next competition is always interesting, even if I find that youngsters today risk deviations that are too creative and a touch out of time, losing sight of contemporaneity. Florence and Pitti however, are still a brilliant example, a spearhead on the Italian scene, a lesson in how to organise a sector fair today, how to involve a city, how to stimulate institutions and enhance the heritage of Italy. I will never tire of repeating that I would like to see the same impetus also in Milan during the men and women’s runway shows. It is time to learn from this incredible industrial, creative and cultural stage.
Returning to Pitti each season means renewing promises made to our passions. For all lovers of fashion, Pitti is the highest peak from which to enjoy the widest, most far-reaching panorama possible in terms of style. Thanks to the selection of brands present, this fair always proves it is the most shining, vital example of the sector market, the stage across which blow the winds of excellence, quality and value. But what makes these appointments of the year in Florence truly exceptional is the encounter with emerging brands, oxygen that fuels the fire of fashion and also the privileged fulcrum of our attention. The banks between which gush the youngest vital flow of Pitti are absolutely Who’s on Next, the competition promoted by Vogue and the Alternative Sets. Standing on these banks and breathing in the heady new fashion currents is a moral must for anyone wanting to track the changes in our society. In particular, thanks to the Alternative Sets, an effective format for presenting outside the framework of the traditional stands, the garment magically turns from product to experience. A few basic instructions act as a plot and fashion quite simply “happens”, interacting with the improvisation of performers and to the amazement of casual passers-by/spectators. Memorable are the “happenings” by Camo and Luca Larenza, which we look forward to again this year with great trepidation. Without forgetting the runway show by Erïk Bjerkesjö, the designer who won the last Who’s on Next. What do we expect from the future? That above all during this time of economic and cultural fragility, fashion continues to make us dream, just like Florence during Pitti always has. And so far it has never let us down.