Pitti Uomo January 11 2018
At the turn of every season, menswear buyers and brands gather at the Pitti Uomo fair in Florence for the first stop of the buying season. Here they view or display the upcoming collections and discover new emerging brands. Mismo has been a part of the happening since 2008 and guarantee that not even the famed Florentine Medici family could have imagined a more stylish and colourful display of outfits, than the ones found at Pitti.
The fair opened its doors to the world in 1951 as a women's fashion show, organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgina, a wealthy Tuscan businessman, who hosted the show in his private Villa Torrigani. Already the year after in 1952 the Sala Bianca of the Palazzo Pitti was chosen as the new venue for the fair and without knowing it, automatically giving the fair it's name.
Throughout the 1950s the show grew and was the largest one of its kind in Europe, with menswear being introduced for the first time in 1963. In the late 1960s however, the show started to receive competition from the other European cities such as Rome and Paris, where influential brands would begin showcasing their collections instead. This development would lead to a decisive change in the history of Pitti. Initially, the fair had intended only to showcase the prime of Italian fashion brands, but a great deal of the influential ones had already left for Rome.
In 1972 the first Pitti Uomo fashion fair as we know it today took place. The board of directors from Pitti saw great potential in focusing their efforts on menswear singularly and saw how the fashion world was becoming globalised in terms of emerging brands. Pitti wanted to become the fair with an excellent curation of menswear brands from all over the world. That strategy was instantaneously successful and is the very same used today. The Pitti fair is by invitation only.
Pitti gained a lot of international attention when the first street style bloggers started visiting the fair alongside the photographers documenting them. But the transformation of Pitti began years before in 1989, where Marco Valetti, the former CEO of Pitti, introduced the idea of organising a festival of menswear. Today the fashion savvy crowd walking the fair is an integral part of the experience at Pitti, where the interplay between fashion professionals and enthusiasts is valued, making it a somewhat of a menswear convention.
This meant that a lot of the traditional Italian fashion houses returned to Pitti in the 90s, as well as new designers, using the new found public attention to built grand careers. The 1990s saw another significant change of focus, which connected with the original idea of founder Giovanni Battista Giorgini. To focus on using the beautiful scenery and architecture of the city of Florence. In some way based on an idea, that the environment the buyers are passing through, is just as valuable as the products presented.
After two succesfull decades of Pitti Uomo, the latest extension to the fair was added in 2010. The new online universe E-Pitti embraced the digital development and brought the fair online. The success of E-Pitti in some ways marked the beginning of a new era, where the importance of fashion fairs changed. Back in the days, it was the prime and sole spot for trade, whereas today, placing an order can be done quickly online. Somehow this has not affected nor influenced the popularity of Pitti, and it's easy to understand why. The fair has undoubtedly benefitted from the early focus on curating the finest brands and grown steadily into a fashion festival. The most influential stores and their buyers from all over the world return season after season, many of them paying Mismo a visit for a chat and update on new inventions. Pitti is a homage to the real menswear enthusiasts.
This season will see over 20.000 attendee buyers at Pitti Uomo, browsing through endless collections from cutting edge Japanese designers over Danish contemporary quality luggage to established, heritage driven English and Italian brands that has been around forever. All hoping for the attention and orders of just the right buyers. Bienvenuti!