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Menswear trends according to Pitti Uomo

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“With Pitti Uomo begins a month-long cycle that tends to leave even the most dedicated follower of fashion feeling as glutted as a foie gras goose on corporate design agendas.”

Pitti Uomo? Who?

It’s neither the name of an Italian count gone rogue nor a notoriously expensive entree at a ridiculously exclusive Michelin establishment, although both have credence in that vein.

Pitti Uomo is the leading menswear trade show held each season in Florence, Italy. It’s where the trends for next season are debated over glasses of Prosecco and the world’s top buyers parade for The Sartorialist.

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“At Pitti Uomo, you can count on the Italians to wear tight pants and smoke (outdoors only now that a new ban is in effect) as if Marlboros were the staff of life. You can rely on Japanese buyers to overexert themselves performing courtesy bows. You can guess that the English will come dressed in the kind of clothes that evoke lager-lout blowouts on Ibiza. And you are guaranteed to find at least one Austrian wearing a Heidi T-shirt, ironically. And, of course, you will see plenty of Americans doing all of the above, more or less at once.

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There is a sober side to Pitti Uomo of course, since it is here that one encounters all the major players responsible for the continuing glory of the “made in Italy” label, even though it increasingly comes to mean “assembled in Romania with buttonholes added somewhere near Milan.” There are Ermenegildo Zegna and Pal Zileri and Luciano Barbera and Maurizio Corneliani and Giorgio Canali, representatives of what is brightly termed the “upper-casual market” here. There are dozens of companies making sports clothes under labels that no one but retailers bother to differentiate.

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Increasingly, though, it is Pitti Uomo that attracts the new names and no-names whose business plans may never bring them to international fame but whose ideas will almost certainly turn up on Italian and American runways, in specialty boutiques and at the virally replicating multibrand stores. It is at Pitti Uomo that one can chart the future of bluejeans. And anyone who thinks that the end is near for treated, roughed-up and overpriced denim had better take a couple of aspirin and lie down.

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In need of an inside scoop, got in touch recently with Pitti Uomo’s elegant CEO, Raffaello Napoleone to quiz him on the secret life of this menswear institution.

FIRST EVER PITTI UOMO Florence, Hotel Villa Medici in February 1972

THE FIRST EXHIBITORS Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Flli Rossetti, D’Avenza, Ingram and an additional 44 menswear designers.

THE STRANGEST EVER PITTI UOMO January 1990 when half a metre of snow fell on Florence and then in June 2005 when temperatures hit 42° – equal to those of the desert.

STRANGEST VISITORS Cicciolina (Ilona Staller) a former porn actress and ex wife of Jeff Koons and – member of Italian Parliament.

HOW MANY PANINO’S ARE EATEN DURING PITTI? The average is 20,000 paninos per day!

HOW MANY GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE ARE CONSUMED? More than 1000 glasses per day.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SET UP THE STANDS INSIDE THE FORTEZZA DA BASSO? We start setting up the stands a month in advance.


More than 80 parties during the 4 days

WHEN DID YOU START PLANNING THIS EDITION OF PITTI UOMO We start organising each edition six months in advance HOW MANY COUNTRIES DO YOU VISIT SEARCHING FOR NEW EXHIBITORS? We visit all international trade shows worldwide, with particular attention in the USA, Great Britain, Japan, France, Germany, Benelux, Spain, Brasil, China, India, Scandinavian countries, Australia and Austria.

HOW MANY DESIGNERS APPLY TO EXHIBIT AT PITTI EVERY YEAR & HOW MANY SPACES ARE THERE? We have a waiting list of about 180 application forms for Fall/Winter and 150 for Spring/Summer HOW MANY LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN DURING PITTI UOMO? Over 30 languages

HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES IT TAKE TO ORGANIZE PITTI UOMO? Throughout the year Pitti employs 50 people. During the show itself, more than 200 people.

And that’s about it on Pitti Uomo!

References and thanks to:

“What the modern aristocrat wears“, NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE

–  Kerry Olsen,

To find out more about Pitti Uomo events click here


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