Pitti Uomo 97 to fête ‘United Nations of the World’
“We will embody the ‘United Nations of the World’, where everyone can express their creativity and identity. A changing, constantly evolving identity.”
With these words, Agostino Poletto, general manager of Pitti Immagine, summarised the spirit of the 97th edition of the Pitti Uomo show, scheduled in Florence from Tuesday January 7 to Friday January 10. The benchmark menswear show has chosen flags as this season’s visual theme, symbolising an open, international outlook.
On the eve of the event, Pitti Uomo boss Raffaello Napoleone was satisfied with the number of exhibitors that are set to gather at the Fortezza Da Basso venue, a total of 1,203 brands, compared to 1,230 last January. Of the exhibitors, 540 (45%) will be coming from outside Italy. “We’re looking forward to an excellent season, despite the fact that the Italian market remains flat, with declining consumption,” he said.
The forthcoming Pitti Uomo session, focused on the Fall/Winter 2020-21 collections, will host 265 labels that are either making a come-back to the show, like Brioni, returning to Florence after a long hiatus with a special installation curated by Olivier Saillard to mark its 75th anniversary, or are making their Florentine debut, like Sergio Rossi, now relaunching its men's line, and Japanese label Anrealage, a Parisian catwalk regular, which will unveil a new knitwear line in collaboration with Tokyo Knit.
The show's organisers are putting the accent on two new initiatives. The first focuses on men's clothes and their recent evolution, assessing in particular the current role played by suits, through a major catwalk show entitled ‘Otherwise Formal - formal wear/ a matter of quality’. It will be held on January 8 in the heart of the event’s venue, in front of the central pavilion, and will feature looks by some 30 exhibitors, whose collections are leaving the stands to showcase to the general public the latest concepts in men's elegance.
“There is a general feeling favouring a return to formal wear. We wanted to explore the issue, trying to find the new men's fashion equation through the different, apparently contrasting styles that feature in it, from sports to casual to sartorial. It's an attempt at defining contemporary formal wear,” said Poletto. The event will be organised by contemporary culture and fashion magazine Dust, based in London and Berlin.
The second initiative is called ‘Land Flag: from waste to new materials’, and it seeks to broaden the horizons of Pitti Uomo through a series of debates that will not necessarily focus on fashion. Among the panellists, sailor and explorer Alex Bellini; the director of Lisbon’s MAAT museum, Beatrice Leanza; physicist and astronomer Fabio Peri, and Barbara Mazzolai, director of the Centre for Micro-BioRobotics at the Italian Technology Institute (IIT).
“We are giving voice to different opinions. Something that hasn’t been done before. The show is indeed becoming increasingly complex, and we have been supported by fabric manufacturer Reda for this project. There is a willingness on the part of our exhibitors to invest during the event,” said Napoleone. The debates will be held in the show’s Lyceum area, in a setting conducive to reflection that was designed by architect Andrea Caputo using visible, recycled plastic waste, to highlight the practice of eco-design and show how it can be used in stores.
Alongside these new initiatives, the programme of Pitti Uomo 97 will be as intense as that of last summer’s edition. It will kick off on Tuesday January 7 with Chevignon, staging a show at the Stazione Leopolda to celebrate its 40th anniversary, while Woolrich will fête its 190th anniversary with a special installation.
Top of the billing on the next day, January 8, is Jil Sander, Pitti Uomo 97’s guest of honour. The German label will stage a show in the cloister of Santa Maria Novella. On the same evening, K-Way will hold its first-ever show, at the Florence Chamber of Commerce. Another must-see is the Sergio Tacchini retrospective, also presenting the first collection by the sportswear brand’s new Creative Director Dao-Yi Chow, co-founder of Public School.
Two other special guests will show on Thursday January 9: African-American designer Clemens Telfar, with the new collection of his anti-fashion label Telfar, and Italian designer Stefano Pilati, unveiling his new label Random Identities, launched last year. These two labels will end the day in style, with a big joint party in the evening. Notably, the Hyères Festival’s Finnish finalist, Maria Korkeila, will showcase at Pitti Uomo the first apparel collection by gardening products brand Fiskars, famous for its orange secateurs. Also on show, the creations by the winner of the ITS 2019 design competition held in Trieste, Daoyuan Ding.
Pitti Uomo 97 will not host a special guest nation, as the project did not materialise. It will however feature once more a section dedicated to Nordic fashion, Scandinavian Manifesto, again in collaboration with Copenhagen show Revolver, showcasing 17 emerging labels. Also, Japanese fashion will once again take centre stage with the finalists of the Tokyo Fashion Award, and so will Chinese fashion, with the China Energy section, which has picked six emerging designers.
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