Pitti Uomo

Pitti Uomo Readies Summer Edition With Wales Bonner, Soulland, Ann Demeulemeester

Pitti Uomo Readies Summer Edition With Wales Bonner, Soulland, Ann Demeulemeester

MILAN — The upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo indicates the menswear industry is moving to embrace the opportunities offered by the sector’s strong rebound, especially in key regions such as the U.S. and Europe.The showcase, which will run from June 14 to 17, is expected to attract around 640 exhibitors, 38 percent of which hail from abroad, offering a good mix of established names and up-and-coming talent. Of the total, 100 brands are joining the men’s fair for the first time.
“We’re not entirely back at it, but the number of exhibitors is already up 50 percent compared to the same edition last year. They are very active…and there’s a lot of enthusiasm to restart,” said Claudio Marenzi, president of organizing body Pitti Immagine, during a press conference here Thursday to unveil the schedule of events.

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Wales Bonner’s fashion show and the much-anticipated exhibition of Ann Demeulemeester, initially supposed to take place last January, are just a few of the events that will take place during the week.
Copenhagen-based street-inflected brand Soulland will present its spring 2023 collection with a fashion show-slash-event at a still undisclosed location as one of the event’s special projects, the other being up-and-coming brand Sapio, helmed by Rick Owens alum Giulio Sapio, who will install a presentation in a box format. This was already tested at Milan Fashion Week last January, as reported, and in Florence, it will be staged at the Galleria Discovery space inside the Fortezza da Basso.
Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine, noted the fair expects a fairly strong attendance of about 15,000. This compares with 10,000 last January and 20,000 in 2019. “Big buyers are back; real players in the economy, all the merchants know and feel they need to be in Florence,” he said.
Although there will be no initiatives to attract Russian buyers in light of ongoing sanctions against the country because of the invasion of Ukraine, Napoleone said Pitti Immagine will welcome every attendee and noted how the domestic market in Russia is not flat.
Addressing the havoc wrought by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Marenzi said the area represents around 2.2 percent of total exports of men’s fashion. “We still don’t have exact figures but given its numbers, Russia is still a relevant market but not so crucial,” he said.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and the war, exports of men’s fashion are back on track. According to figures provided by Confindustria Moda, they amounted to 7.2 billion euros in 2021, up 13.4 percent versus the year prior. That is still 5.3 percent below 2019 levels.
China represented the fourth most important destination for Italian men’s fashion in 2021, with exports jumping 58.8 percent compared to 2020, but it saw a slowdown in the first quarter of 2022 in light of continued lockdowns that are denting consumer confidence, Marenzi said. This has been compensated by the U.S., where he observed an “exceptionally brisk activity.” Exports to the country increased 12.5 percent in 2021 and while this is roughly 20 percent below 2019, Pitti Immagine’s president forecast the U.S. will represent the main growth driver, alongside Europe.

Offsite events will also animate the city of Florence during the four-day Pitti Uomo, with Gucci officially unveiling its Giardino 25 café and cocktail bar, the latest addition to the Gucci Garden experiential destination, with an event on June 16.
As reported, newly rebooted menswear brand Bagutta is making its debut under the partnership with Castor Fashion and creative direction of Albino D’Amato with a breakfast presentation on the terrace of Pitti Immagine’s headquarters in town, while Superga will throw a bash on June 14 hosted by model Emily Ratajkowski.
In keeping with the previous edition, the Fortezza da Basso fairgrounds will be organized across four main areas called Fantastic Classic; Futuro Maschile; Superstyling, and Dynamic Attitude, the latter dedicated to sportswear brands. The category represents a strong sector within menswear and it will be under the spotlight at the trade show, with sailing lifestyle brand North Sails unveiling its collection with Maserati, BasicNet-owned Robe di Kappa and Fila both returning to the fair and sustainable-minded Ecoalf marking its second attendance.
There will be room for anniversaries, too, as denim company Roy Rogers will fete its 70th anniversary with an event unveiling a short movie directed by Bruce Weber and WP Lavori in Corso, which has been driving the European agenda of sportswear distribution in Europe since 1982, will mark its 40th milestone.
The Superstyling section will feature a selection of green labels called Sustainable Style, first introduced at the onset of the pandemic, with 10 brands hailing from all continents.
Showing its support of Ukrainian designers whose work has been impacted by the ongoing conflict, Pitti Uomo has invited a range of brands from that country to showcase their collections at the fair. The young names include talents outside the fashion realm who are known for their work in pottery and textiles.
As reported, Pitti Uomo will take place as a stand-alone event, discontinuing the recent tradition of combining it with the Pitti Bimbo and Pitti FIlati fairs dedicated to childrenswear and yarn-makers, respectively. The IRL trade show will be flanked by the Pitti Connect digital platform.

Bagutta to Relaunch Under Partnership With Castor Fashion

Bagutta to Relaunch Under Partnership With Castor Fashion

MILAN — Italian shirt specialist Bagutta is to be revamped with a little help from manufacturing company Castor Fashion.According to a statement released on Tuesday, the two parties have inked a three-year partnership for “strategic consultancy” aimed at consolidating its business in Italy and propel its international expansion.
As part of the relaunch, Castor Fashion has started to support the brand’s restructuring, which included the appointment of designer Albino D’Amato to oversee the style direction.
D’Amato — who is the founder of the A.Teodoro brand and formerly served as design director at Vionnet and also worked for brands of the likes of Emanuel Ungaro, Guy Laroche, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld and Trussardi — has already started to retool Bagutta’s designs. His first efforts for the brand will debut with the spring 2023 collection to be presented during Pitti Uomo next month.

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“Our goal is to take Bagutta back at the center of the fashion stage because behind the brand there’s a beautiful story of Italian entrepreneurship that must be protected and enhanced. In such a difficult moment on a global scale, we believe it is a duty for our industry to create a unified front and put one’s own experience at disposal of those who made the Made in Italy great,” said Castor Fashion’s founder Angela Picozzi.
“In a very difficult global context, we need to look ahead and seize the opportunities that the markets offer us,” echoed Antonio Gavazzeni, who with his cousin Andrea is part of the third generation at the helm of the family-run shirt brand.
The revamp outlined by Castor Fashion will include the implementation of a new approach to communication, both online and offline, in addition to strategies to better expand in different markets, starting with the U.S.

Castor Fashion
Courtesy of Castor Fashion

Founded in 2003, Castor Fashion is a leading manufacturing company that currently develops prototypes and production for luxury labels including Chanel Group, Giambattista Valli, Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler, and Jean Paul Gaultier, in addition to operating its in-house brand Mantù.

Gucci Unveils New Archives in Florence

Gucci Unveils New Archives in Florence

FLORENCE, Italy — In the year marking its 100th anniversary, Gucci is celebrating its legacy while staying firmly focused on the future.
In conjunction with men’s trade fair Pitti Uomo, the brand has unveiled its archives here, a striking space covering 30,138 square feet conceived by creative director Alessandro Michele to gather under one roof the brand’s creations and pay homage to its 100-year history.
A few guests from the press were escorted inside the building, passing through the colonnaded courtyard filtering the blinding sun of a windy and blue-sky morning in Florence and were invited to discover the space nestled in the cobblestone street Via delle Caldaie in the Santo Spirito neighborhood.

The archive is housed inside the 16th-century Palazzo Settimanni, mentions of which date as far back as 1427, located on the left bank of the Arno river, where artisans and artists used to set up their ateliers and workshops and where the city’s aristocracy built their sumptuous villas close to Palazzo Pitti, where the Medici family had moved.
Palazzo Settimanni was acquired by Gucci in 1953 and over the course of seven decades was adapted to contain the brand’s first Florentine factory, as well as workshops and a showroom. Signs of its past could be perceived in its restored version spearheaded by the house under the lead of Michele, who sought to bring the multilayered space back to its ancient beauty.

The Gucci archive space at Palazzo Settimanni in Florence, Italy. 
Courtesy of Gucci

The five-story archives, including the ground floor and basement, were stripped of some recent additions to reveal traces of decorations, trompe l’oeil frescoes and mural paintings, which span three centuries from the 17th to the 19th. Renovation work on the palazzo included removing a ’90s covering of the entrance hall to let natural light filter through the portico.
In a nod to its multipurpose past and the surrounding neighborhood filled with ateliers, Gucci conscripted local artisans to work on the renovation, including for the terra-cotta tile flooring seen on several floors.
Such details as furniture, glass cases, down to the lamps and handles of each door — the latter molded in the shape of scissors — were intended to exalt the house’s craftsmanship, which the archives aim to spotlight and preserve.
“Palazzo Settimanni, now free of earlier additions, is transformed into a magical place to which I have restored a sense of porousness: you pass through it, air gets in, you can walk through it as if it were a journey. I’m porous, absorbent, permeable,” explained Michele. “I have restored to the palazzo a fairytale aura which, for instance, allows the small entrance hall to become a gateway to a dream dimension. I envisaged it as a sort of secret place within the house, an inner sanctum from where one sets out for Gucci’s holy lands,” he said.

Gucci’s president and CEO Marco Bizzarri with creative director Alessandro Michele in front of the painting “Fantino con bambina” by Domenico Induno inside the Gucci archive space. 
Valentina Sommariva/Courtesy of Gucci

Gucci called on Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, who offered her curatorial eye for the layout of some of the spaces.
“The archive is a memory palace,” she said. “Far from being a dusty attic, it is a dynamic system of knowledge production and inspiration. Archives are based on the drive to collect and categorize objects from the past, not because of any nostalgia, but because the style of objects changes over time. This relation to time means that a brand like Gucci, which has a 100-year history, develops archives in order to keep a tangible cultural heritage alive, now and for the future.”

Each room on the three exhibition floors inside the palazzo is devoted to a different theme — and product category — as an homage to the brand’s history and named after Michele’s lexicon for the house, including “Radura” grouping ceramics and homeware; “Herbarium” for vintage stationery objects, and “Maison de L’Amour” for leisure articles from the ‘60s and ‘70s, which included vintage syrup cups and even an off-kilter mirror framed by a golden cornet.
The ground floor is entirely dedicated to accessories, with vintage handbags taking center stage in the “Swan” room, where different versions of signature styles including the Bamboo and Jackie bags are displayed inside glass and steel cases and retrace their evolution over the years — while proving their ability to stand the test of time. A 1955 handbag featured the original horsebit hardware that has become a house signature element. Many of the styles are meticulously preserved inside armoires with a boat’s wheel-like handle, as in the “Hortus Deliciarum” room, the palazzo’s former garden with an ancient fountain.
The adjacent mirrored room, called “Le Marché des Merveilles,” highlights the house’s jewelry designs through the years, while small leather goods and luggage designs each have a dedicated space on the ground floor. In particular, luggage is displayed inside the “1921 Rifondazione” hall, named after the year the company was founded.
The first floor is dedicated to ready-to-wear, footwear and textile accessories such as scarves, twills and ties including some foulards bearing designs that illustrator and painter Vittorio Accornero de Testa created for the brand, such as the signature Flora pattern developed in 1966. The painter’s preparatory drawings on paper hang on the walls. Other rooms on the floor house rtw pieces and footwear, catalogued according to the year and season they were first presented. Here, too, the rooms are named after Michele’s lexicon, with such monikers as “Aveugle Par Amour” and “Alchemist’s Garden.”

The Gucci archive space at Palazzo Settimanni in Florence, Italy. 
Courtesy of Gucci

Celebrating its red-carpet credentials, Gucci installed a room called “Serapis,” which hosts a life-size, high-tech treasure chest. Upon request and with the help of a dedicated technician the chest opens to reveal some of Michele’s best-known red-carpet gowns hanging on mannequins, including looks sported by celebrities including Lana Del Rey, Bjork and Dakota Johnson.

“My task was to bring many objects back home, virtually helping them return to the family. To a place which ostensibly preserves the past, but which is actually a bridge to the contemporary. An ancient building is a living thing. Like fashion,” said Michele.
Aiming for the space to bridge the past and present of the storied house, the Gucci archive — which is not open to the public — is also poised to become home to the Gucci Education initiative, which offers employees educational and training opportunities. The Florentine space will flank the brand’s online education platform and community, which already offers training in fields including retail, supply chain, digital and human resources.
As reported, in 2018 Gucci also installed the “École de l’Amour,” or School of Love, workshop held at the company’s ArtLab industrial complex dedicated to leather goods and shoes, which it christened that same year in Scandicci, near Florence.

‘Mini Me’ and Vibrant Tones: The Biggest Children’s Wear Trends at Pitti Bimbo

‘Mini Me’ and Vibrant Tones: The Biggest Children’s Wear Trends at Pitti Bimbo

Happening for the first time in conjunction with Pitti Uomo, the Pitti Bimbo children’s wear trade show is making a comeback from June 30 to July 2 with a revisited physical format. Instead of the usual 500-plus exhibitors, the fair will showcase the collections of 113 brands, 42 of them available exclusively online at this season’s Pitti Connect.
“This is going to be a kind of peculiar season, but we definitely wanted to be there. I think it was important to show the resilience of the sector and collaborate all together,” said Massimiliano Ferrari, cofounder and creative director of leading Italian swimwear company MC2 Saint Barth, which will showcase at the fair the collections of both its adult and children’s lines. “Since the beginning of our adventure, Pitti has helped us so much. It has been such a great supporter of emerging brands that we are so happy to contribute to its restart after the pandemic.”

MC2 Saint Barth operates 40 stores around the world, located in prestigious holiday destinations, spanning from the Caribbean island of St. Barth, which inspired the launch of the brand, Miami and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to Mykonos, Ibiza and Capri, among others.
“For our company, the children’s wear division is the one that was less impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Ferrari said. “First of all, kids grow fast and they constantly need new garments. Second thing, schools have been closed for long and many children spent more time at the beach with their families.”

In addition, Ferrari highlighted that children’s wear stores didn’t have to face the lockdown imposed on other retail categories.

MC2 Saint Barth Spring 2022 
Courtesy of MC2 Saint Barth

However, according to data provided by Confindustria Moda, the association that groups more than 65,000 companies operating in the fashion sector, in 2020 sales of Italian children’s wear were down 14.7 percent to 2.6 billion euros, compared to the previous year. If exports dropped 13.7 percent, the domestic sell-out registered a 18.1 percent decrease. As happened across the whole industry, the online sales of the segment spiked 33.1 percent, a growth led by the newborn compartment, where online sales were up 97.3 percent compared to the previous year.
The newborn segment of the children’s wear industry is also driving the sector’s relaunch. In the first three months of 2021, exports of newborn garments and accessories returned to growth. The most encouraging signals come from the United Arab Emirates, where Italian exports of baby clothes increased 115.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Positive results were also registered in France, where exports grew almost 50 percent, as well as in Switzerland and German, where the growth rate was around 10 percent.
Fashion-wise, the collections presented at Pitti Bimbo will put the focus on a renewed desire for freedom, joy and a mix of style and practicality.
As Ferrari highlighted, vibrant colors will take center stage in the collections. “I think neon tones are making a strong comeback,” he said, adding that the “mini me” trend continues to rule the children’s wear industry.
As well as MC2 Saint Barth, Herno and Invicta will also present their kid’s wear collections, along with the adults’ range.

Herno Kids Spring 2022 
Courtesy of Herno

Bright tones will steal the spotlight in the Herno Kids range, which will present a reedition of its signature Igloo lightweight bomber jacket in a selection of neon colors, including lime green, hot pink and orange.
While MC2 Saint Barth will continue to propose its signature sweaters featuring intarsia of the name of the most popular holiday destinations, both Herno and Invicta will showcase sweatshirts, T-shirts and polo shirts embellished with logos in bright tones.
For those buyers who won’t be able to physically attend the trade show, Pitti Bimbo will host a series of digital initiatives. For example, live guided virtual tours of the fairs will be offered for both Korean and Japanese retailers, while the Pitti Bimbo social media accounts will offer an exclusive showcase of some of the key items included in the collections available at the fair. In fact, fashion designer and multifaceted creative Alessandro Enriquez will dress some of the most popular cartoons, including Barbie and Ken, but also Popeye, with the creations of the brands at the trade show. The digital content will be released throughout Pitti Bimbo.

Giorgio Armani Men’s Spring 2022 and Privé Shows to Be Staged With Public

Giorgio Armani Men’s Spring 2022 and Privé Shows to Be Staged With Public

MILAN — Some form of normalcy is expected to return to Milan Men’s Fashion Week, scheduled for June 18 to 22.
Although the calendar has not been released yet, while Italy gradually eases restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Giorgio Armani has revealed that his signature brand’s spring 2022 show for men will be held in front of a live audience on June 21.
It will take place in the courtyard of Via Borgonuovo 21, the building where the designer used to stage his shows before erecting the Teatro in 2001, which has since become the traditional site for his fashion events. The Teatro was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando in Via Bergognone, in a former Nestlé industrial area.

Also returning live, the Armani Privé couture show will be staged in Paris on July 6 at the headquarters of the Italian Embassy.
“I think the time has come to return to show in front of a live public because I think fashion only in a virtual format has no future,” Armani told WWD. “A fashion show is a tool we cannot do without because of its format, energy and effectiveness. It’s important to restore the physical shows and they can then be translated in digital experiences for a global audience. For my part, the goal is once again to send a positive signal of restart and support for Milan, my city, which has long been an undisputed capital of fashion.”

Asked about the choice of the location in Milan, Armani said that it is “especially significant.” The designer observed that he “wanted a venue that would be representative — a return to the origins and essence of fashion, which used to be proximity and intimacy, too. For the future, I imagine events that are more contained but more exciting.”
The courtyard, being outdoors, “offers more safety, but what I believe really counts is the intimacy of the location,” Armani explained.
The company also said “the return to live attendance has been decided following the current general improvement in public health with relation to the pandemic. The organization of the shows will comply with the distance and safety rules required by law and the actual holding of the events, in any case, will be conditional to the evolution of the pandemic.”
After an initial slowdown as in the rest of Europe, Italy has been speeding up its vaccination campaign and seeing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic gradually release its grip on the country. As of Wednesday, more than 15 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated.
In February last year, Armani was quick to react to the sudden spread of the pandemic in Italy, deciding to hold his signature brand’s fall 2020 show behind closed doors at the tail end of Milan Women’s Fashion Week.
As reported, Pitti Immagine has released its final schedule of physical trade shows taking place starting in late June. In particular, leading men’s wear trade show Pitti Uomo will be held IRL June 30 to July 2, one day less than usual in sync with exhibitors’ demand for maximum concentration and cost savings.  
As a result, unlike previous seasons, Pitti Uomo will run after Milan and Paris Men’s Fashion Week, which is scheduled for June 22 to 27.  

Armani skipped his regular show during Paris Couture Week in July last year and had initially planned to hold the Armani Privé show in his headquarters in Milan on Jan. 26. However, due to the spread of the pandemic in Italy at the time, it took place behind closed doors in the Italian city without an audience and was livestreamed on the brand’s social media channels as part of the Paris Couture Week calendar.
As France gradually lifts pandemic-related restrictions, the next edition of Paris Fashion Week for men’s wear has been cleared for physical shows and presentations, scheduled for June 22 to 27. Likewise, Haute Couture Week in Paris is to take place from July 5 to 8 in the French capital with physical shows and presentations.

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