Pitti praises EU accord, unveils Dolce & Gabbana plans
Pitti Uomo, fashion’s most important trade fair for menswear, has praised the historic EU agreement to create a 750-billion-euro coronavirus recover fund, and revealed more details of its ambitious plans to welcome Dolce & Gabbana in September.
"What happened in Brussels is very important for the European economy and for the Italian economy. It should mean they will be able to help Italian trade shows with public funds. So, next January, we will receive strong public help," explained Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of the giant salon based in Florence.
"We have many small companies in Italy that have suffered greatly in the lockdown of the market. So I say thanks to the Italian ministry of foreign affairs for helping to make this happen," added Napoleone, speaking in French at a Zoom briefing outlining future plans for the trade show and its new interactive digital platform Pitti Connect.
Napoleone did not suggest what level of financial support could come from the EU to Pitti, which has an annual budget of 40 million euros. Due to the pandemic, Pitti Uomo 98, which was scheduled for June, has been cancelled.
However, Pitti will welcome a special series of events from September 2 to 4, when the Florence will host Dolce & Gabbana for three days targeted at its Alta Moda clients.
Among the glamorous moments will be a Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria luxury menswear presentation inside the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s medieval city hall. Followed the next day by a live runway show of women’s Alta Moda, or haute couture. This will take place in Villa Bardini, a superb 17th-century abode with a classical Tuscan garden, including artificial grottoes, an orangery, marble statues and fountains, and a famously romantic roof terrace with magnificent views of Florence.
"Several years back Dolce & Gabbana launched their haute couture project and bespoke tailoring for men, and later high-end jewelry. They have taken these shows on the road in Italy, from Capri to Agrigento and Venice to La Scala. Highlighting the beauty of Italy. And, in our view, Florence can play an important role in that. We are delighted to see them in our city," stressed Napoleone.
The design duo will also stage a high jewelry presentation, with a meal inside the cloisters of the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria della Novella and a chance for their well-heeled clients to participate in the wine harvest at the noted Florentine vineyard of Cantieri Antinori.
"It will all give an injection of optimism," said Napoleone who complimented the Milan-based designers for yet another key element – working with local artisans.
"Domenico and Stefano spent 10 days here in the last six weeks meeting our greatest artisans and asking them to propose icons of their production so they can be part of the mise en scene for different events. They decided to respect the city of Florence and the reality that our artisans are the true motor of our success," explained Napoleone, showing images of glassware, giant terracotta planters and local ateliers.
Turning to the next edition of the salon, he stressed Pitti plans to return in January 2021, albeit with reduced numbers. And recognizing that it will be different event, especially given the financial crisis of department stores in America, historically the largest buyers at Pitti. The salon typically attracts over 1,200 brands to each edition, however Napoleone said they were targeting a "more realistic" goal of between 700 and 800 brands for January.
"We basically lost half our annual turnover this year, and we have made a big effort to create Pitti Connect but we have good reserves in the organization," he stressed.
Launched on July 16, Pitti Connect is an ambitious new platform with extensive information on all the brands who participate in the salon. It is an attempt to create significant new levels of networking, providing tools for buyers, journalists and exhibitors to interact.
It has three "levels of permission." Level one is for everybody; Level 2 is reserved for registered buyers and editors. And Level 3 is a secure area where exhibitors provide authorization. It includes a real online marketplace, where brands can upload their catalogue, colors, sizes and price list; offering pre-order possibilities for retailers, and video call links in real time to discuss proposals.
Pitti Connect has also linked up with a diverse crew of content providers from Highsnobiety to fashion historian Olivier Saillard. And launched a major sustainability project with over a dozen young brands led by ANDAM winner Y/Project, and including happening Paris-based American designer Spencer Phipps.
"Fashion is such a polluting industry, so the only thing we can do is be responsible and clean up after ourselves," said Phipps in a video shown at the Pitti Zoom.
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