Pitti Uomo 94 continues the trade fair's evolution into a lifestyle event
More than ever, it looks like this June's Pitti Uomo is set to be a lifestyle oriented trade show. The event has develop its appeal over the seasons through a combination of important runway shows, a plethora of high quality special events and the constant renovation of its spaces. "We have gradually abandoned the traditional use of the trade fair as a space in which to present collections. Pitti isn't exactly a trade fair anymore, nor is it a Fashion Week, it's something new, where things happen", explains Pitti Immagine Managing Director Agostino Poletto.
As demonstrated by it's 94th edition, which will take place June 12 through 15, the leading menswear trade show has made a reputation for itself by expertly combining events organized by big names from the luxury industry, such as the Robert Cavalli show which is slated for June 13 in a monastery, and activations dedicated to emerging talents. The Craig Green show will take place on June 14, while Fumito Ganryu's is planned for June 13, and the fair has also long been a supporter of Scandinavian and Georgian talent. Indeed, throughout its history, Pitti Uomo has consistently juxtaposed small but sought-after labels with mainstream brands, as can be seen with the debut appearance of H&M-owned Cos, which will launch a capsule collection of perennial items named "Soma" in Florence this June.
"Before, there was a clear difference between what happened in the city with all kinds of parties and initiatives, and what went on at the Fortezza da Basso, the old fortress which hosts the trade show with its exhibitors and their stands. Today that's no longer the case. The trade show has become a kind of platform where brands present their collections, launch projects, and engage in promotional and marketing activities through their events," continued Agostino Poletto. And the program for this June certainly seems to reflect his appraisal, with the launches of Zegna's beachwear, Iceberg's new Ice Play line and the collections designed for Rossignol by Damir Doma, and for Paul & Shark by Nick Wooster all on the calendar, while Moncler is also set to present the first instalment in its Genius project with a collection by Hiroshi Fujiwara.
Pitti Uomo organizers do their best to upgrade the event every season with new developments and services. And the upcoming spring-summer 2019 fair is no exception: the organizers have announced a new 500-square-meter lounge space which has been dubbed the "P.O.P. Arena" and decorated in a "hypnotic" style by designer Sergio Colantuono, in line with this season's theme of "Pitti Optical Power", which revolves around optical illusions. Functioning simultaneously as a bar and lounge, the space, which aims to "make the Pitti experience a bit different", will also host conferences.
Another new addition for this season is the outdoor-oriented "I Go Out" project, which will bring together some twenty brands and Italian wool mill Reda, with its line of performance fabrics Reda Activ, in a forest-inspired space designed by the Andrea Caputo Studio. "It's going to be about transversal solutions for the outdoor industry, where outdoor will be considered from more of a fashion perspective than a sportswear one," explains Poletto.
In turn, the "Make" space, dedicated to craftsmanship and founded in 2016 to serve the "New Makers", i.e. the new generation of craftsmen and women reinterpreting tradition through new technologies, will be completely rethought, becoming an art gallery, or a kind of cabinet of curiosities spotlighting 25 selected brands.
"The idea is to diversify the formats to make the trade show more dynamic," says Agostino Poletto. This June's event will therefore also be offering "Editorials", small spaces or installations where visitors can discover a selection of objects and accessories dedicated to contemporary men's fashion through different themes, such as pets or writing. These spaces were curated by Sergio Colantuoni, who is also in charge of the trade fair's overall layout.
A further example of changes taking place at Pitti Uomo this June is the "Athlovers" project, launched last season when it invited five avant-garde brands to interpret the athleisure trend. The project will return this June, expanded to include other labels and integrated in the underground luxury fashion section "Unconventional", where it will have its own dedicated space. In the same spirit, having made their debut a few seasons ago, pop-up stores will also continue to be part of the event, offering collections from small accessories labels and allowing the exhibition space to alternate between large stands and smaller spaces.
For the first time, however, Pitti Uomo will not have a special program for young and emerging designers. After ten editions, it will no longer host the "Who is On Next? Homme" competition for young talents, which it used to organize in partnership with AltaRoma and Vogue. "We're taking a year off to reflect on a new format which could transform into more of a support program than a simple competition", explains the event's manager, Raffaello Napoleone.
The "Pitti Italics" section, dedicated to emerging brands made in Italy, is also nowhere to be seen this season. "There's no need to have that section at every edition", stated the managing director of Pitti Uomo, without giving further details.
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