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Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Jun 9, 2019
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4 minutes
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Pitti Uomo celebrates 30 years in style

Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Jun 9, 2019

“Pitti Uomo is to men’s fashion what Cannes and the Venice Film Festival are to cinema.” This bold statement from the menswear trade show’s dynamic head Raffaello Napoleone is not far from the truth as the event has grown in both scope and visibility over the past three decades. The event will host its 96th edition from June 11 to 14 in Florence, Italy, with a packed programme that will feature both special events and big names in fashion. It will be a very special celebration for the trade show’s 30th birthday. 

The 96th edition of Pitti Uomo should be one of its most impressive yet - Pitti Immagine

Armani, Givenchy, Ferragamo, Prada, Karl Lagerfeld, Carine Roitfeld, Marco de Vincenzo, MSGM, and Dirk Bikkembergs are just some of the names in luxury fashion who will take part in the upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo. The American artist Sterling Ruby will also have special installations at the event.

The event will feature an exhibition by the Fondation Pitti Immagine Discovery with Olivier Saillard titled Romantic Histories of Men’s Fashion. The exhibition will run until September 29 at the Palais Pitti and will display designs from brands that have participated in the trade show from 1989 to 2019. Close to 150 looks will be displayed at the Museum of Fashion and Costume in Florence and it will be the first contemporary men’s fashion exhibition in the world.

This season's Pitti Uomo is dedicated to collections for spring/summer 2020 and will take place at the Fortezza Da Basso with a total of 1,220 participating brands compared to 1,240 last June. At its centre, the event will feature unique décor by Sergio Colantuoni that spans 1,000 square metres. Among the participating brands, 459 are from outside Italy (international) representing 45% of the total. Making a comeback to the show are 230 brands, including Drumohr, which was absent for several years, and Dirk Bikkembergs, which will return with a new project. Other brands will be participating for the first time such as Armani, which will bring its most commercial line A/X Armani Exchange to the event to showcase its youthful, urban style. The four-day event will also feature performances from painters and basketball players. 

Italian department store Coin Excelsior will also feature as part of the show for the first time ever with its own dedicated space. “We are expecting around 1,900 journalists and 19,000 buyers coming from Germany, Japan, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and France, our reference markets,” said Raffaello Napoleone. For the most prestigious guests, the organisers have planned a unique show on Monday night, on the eve of the opening, in Florence. Fireworks will be seen on the Arno and a glittering gold spectacle will take place on the Ponte Vecchio for the occasion. 

To date, the trade show’s special events have been hosted outside of the Forteresse de Basso where it has taken place for 30 years. This edition, the venue itself will host show-performance press conferences. Prada will hold one on June 11, the opening day.

Another performance scheduled for the event’s first day has been announced by the Karl Lagerfeld brand, which has invited British street artist Endless to Florence to celebrate the famous late designer. Endless will paint a portrait of him as part of a 5 metre by 9 metre installation at the heart of the exhibition. The day will end with Salvatore Ferragamo, which has obtained special authorisation to showcase its menswear line by creative director Paul Andrew at the Piazza della Signoria in the centre of Florence, a big first.

« The Pitti Special Click » is the theme for the trade show this season - Pitti Immagine

The second day of the event, June 12, is no less exciting with three runway shows planned. Marco De Vincenzo will launch its menswear line at a show in the morning. In the afternoon, Italian-Chinese brand Pronounce, founded in 2016 by Yushan Li and Jun Zhou, will showcase its designs as part of the Guest Nation China initiative. This season, the guest focus in on China with 10 young brands from the country showcasing designs. In the evening, Givenchy will be the guest of honour for the event’s 96th edition. The brand’s creative director Clare Waight Keller will use the occasion to stage her first ever men’s show.

The next morning, on June 13, Massimo Giorgetti will celebrate his brand MSGM’s 10th anniversary with a menswear show in a new location, the huge Nelson Mandela Forum sports complex. Pitti Uomo visitors will also have the chance to see the first ever clothing collection by the artist Sterling Ruby, known for his vibrant ceramics, sculptures, and paintings as well as his subversive collages and videos. Ruby has chosen the trade show to launch his new menswear label S.R. Studio LA. CA. at a special event scheduled for the end of the afternoon.

The American artist, who wears his own-made work uniforms in his studio, is not unknown in the world of fashion. For the past 10 years, he has collaborated regularly with Raf Simons, who was inspired by his work to create couture dresses at Dior and his first advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein.

The day will end with a large-scale runway event by Carine Roitfeld to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Florentine luxury boutique LuisaViaRoma. The show will take place at the Piazzale Michelangelo, which overlooks the Arno, and will be followed by a Lenny Kravitz concert. The runway show will feature 90 looks for autumn/winter 2019/20 chosen by the former editor-in-chief of Vogue France, comprising both established luxury giants and up-and-coming labels such as Prada, Burberry, Off-White, Simone Rocha, and Richard Quinn

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