Florence gets ready to become "fashion capital"

Big preparations are underway in Florence, which is primed to become "fashion capital.” The Tuscan capital is planning festivities to coincide with the next edition of Pitti Uomo men's wear show June 16 – 20, 2014, in celebration of 60 years of Italian fashion through the project "Florence Hometown of Fashion." The program was unveiled during a press conference in Rome, Friday, May 9.

The Italian Government is heavily backing this event, which aims to give greater visibility to Made in Italy products in an increasingly competitive environment. The public sector is essentially putting up two million euros to fund this initiative.

In fact, those monies have some very local ties. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was mayor of Florence, his hometown, before taking the reins of the Italian government. The allocation of two million euros for the event is surely no coincidence.

The "Florence Hometown of Fashion" logo

"For us, Firenze Hometown of Fashion is the single most important initiative we will be developing this year in terms of investment," said Carlo Calenda, Italian minister for economic development. "If the event is successful, we intend to support other major Italian fairs, such as the furniture fair in Milan," he said. Nearly 800,000 euros are coming from the Florence Center for Italian Fashion (CFMI), the project's creator.

Florence Hometown of Fashion was championed by Stefano Ricci, founder of the eponymous luxury brand and president of the CFMI, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014. This semi-public and private organization, a conglomerate of local institutions and various industry associations, owns Pitti Immagine, the organizer of the Florence trade fairs.

The CFMI was created in 1954 to promote the development of Italian fashion just as the first Made in Italy runway shows had their debut in Florence. For the occasion, Stefano Ricci has also donated a new lighting system for the Ponte Vecchio, the iconic bridge of the city of Florence.

In partnership with the city, this event is being organized by the CFMI and Pitti Uomo with the support of Ministry of Economic Development and ICE, the Italian Agency for Foreign Trade.

To celebrate Made in Italy in grand style, five major Florentine brands – Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Ermanno Scervino and Roberto Cavalli – were invited to stage their own events in one of the city's symbolic locations. However, Roberto Cavalli had to back out.

"Last night, Roberto told us that he cannot take part in this because he is currently too busy with other projects, but he promised that he will hold a special event in Florence next January or June," said the trade show organizer.

As part of "Florence Hometown of Fashion," Gucci will be hosting two events: one at the brand's museum in Florence and the other in the legendary Richard Ginori porcelain store, which will reopen for the occasion.

On June 18, Ermanno Scervino will host an evening event at the Forte Belvedere, while Salvatore Ferragamo has announced an exhibition entitled "Equilibrium" in his own museum. Emilio Pucci is still waiting for final approvals before announcing his program.

The "Hometown of Florence Fashion" project will not only focus on fashion but also includes a whole series of cultural initiatives. A concert by Andrea Bocelli will kick off the event on the evening of June 16.

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