Autumn Winter 2011
This week Florence has been inundated with fashionistas from around the globe. They have come from far and wide for the Pitti Uomo exhibition. This fashion show is held twice a year, January and June, and is the most important men’s fashion trade show at the start of each season. Autumn Winter 2011, or as we in the industry say, AW11, is the season selling now and all the biggest ‘ready-to-wear’ brands will be showing their latest collections at the Fortezza da Basso, the old fortress that was built under the orders of the Medici. The Fortezza was originally built as a home for the army and also as a refuge for the government in case of a revolt by the Florentines. It’s oppressive and domineering structure was also supposed to intimidate the Florentines and deter any such revolt ever happening!
*The Pitti trade show was started in 1950 when Giovan Battista Giorgini, who worked as a buying agent for the major American stores, invited some of his most important clients (B. Altman, Bergdorf Goodman, I. Magnin, Morgan) to attend the first showing of Italian High Fashions featuring 10 high fashion couturiers (Antonelli, Carosa, Fabiani, Marucelli, Noberasco, Schubert, Simonetta, Sorelle Fontana, Vanna, Veneziani) and four boutiques (Emilio Pucci, Baronessa Gallotti, Avolio and Bertoli). The show was held in the eighteenth century salon of his home on Via dei Serragli. Only the leading members of the trade press were invited to this first showing.
After the huge and unexpected success of the February show, foreign buyers and Italian journalists were invited to attend the first “official” show in the ballrooms of the Grand Hotel. The project’s prestige continued to grow with each subsequent edition.
In 1952 the City of Florence opened the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti. Each season, in January and July, the catwalk in Palazzo Pitti was enriched with new names, and the Boutique section acquired more and more importance alongside of the High Fashion section.
After a few more years, Palazzo Pitti became too small to host the ever-increasing numbers of clients. While still holding fashion shows in the Sala Bianca, the Centro Moda decided to show collections at Palazzo Strozzi. The High Fashion and Boutique shows continued to be held until 1965.
February of 1972 marked the birth of PITTI UOMO, an event showcasing men’s clothing and accessories. Created mainly for the Italian domestic market, in a few years it attained such prestige that it became one of the industry’s most important events in the world. PITTI UOMO was by now a complete and qualified international reference for the men’s clothing market.
At first PITTI UOMO was held at the Hotel Villa Medici, then Palazzo Strozzi, at the Grand Hotel, at the Hotel Majestic, at Palazzo degli Affari and then, starting in the latter half of 1983 at the Fortezza da Basso.
Below are some photos from last week. I am always amazed at how quickly this space is transformed each year and the creativity of each brand who design such innovative new stands each season!
As I work for a fashion distributor based in Florence, Pitti is the stage where we present the new season’s samples to all of our important buyers and new clients. The last few weeks have been incredibly busy co-ordinating all the samples, photographing, costing each collection and designing the booth that will showcase each brand at the show.
As the majority of our brands that we distribute are American, it is a huge effort to have the new samples ready in time due to the Italian fashion calendar being much earlier than the American one. The first major American trade show for the AW11 season is still a month away.
I will be traveling to many trade shows over the next few months. Next week I’ll be at Bread & Butter in Berlin and then to New York for the Ffany shoe show and finally to Las Vegas for the huge Project/ENK/Magic show. We are constantly searching for new and exciting talent in the shoe and apparel industry so these shows are a great opportunity to see all the latest and greatest in one location.
Below are some photos of some of the amazing brands that we have the pleasure to work with.