Pitti Uomo Readies Packed Summer Edition as Menswear Blooms

MILAN — With 825 exhibiting companies, 41 percent of which hail from abroad, and a full return of buyers from all continents, including Asia, anticipation is high for the upcoming Pitti Uomo menswear trade show.

“We’re overcoming complex years and our barometer is always the number of applicant companies, which have grown steadily compared to January,” said Pitti Immagine chief executive officer Raffaello Napolone on Thursday as he unveiled the schedule of the four-day showcase, which will run from June 13 to 16.

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According to figures provided by Confindustria Moda, exports of men’s fashion jumped 24.7 percent in 2022 versus the year prior to 8.9 billion euros, with the U.S., skyrocketing 68.6 percent, and China, increasing 8.6 percent, among the top-performing countries helping to take export volumes and values above pre-pandemic levels.

“The fashion sector has responded better to uncertainty than other industries over the past four years,” said Antonio De Matteis, the new president of Pitti Immagine, at his first press conference since his appointment last February, succeeding Claudio Marenzi. De Matteis is also CEO of menswear label Kiton.

Pitti Uomo is the only really international menswear fair in the world,” he said, expressing his enthusiasm for the upcoming 104th edition and market response to it. “Many other trade shows are evolving and changing but Pitti remains the beacon together with Milan Fashion Week.”

As part of its ongoing effort to support Made in Italy, ICE, the country’s trade agency, is inviting around 350 buyers to the fair, including from Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia. The institution’s president, Matteo Zoppas, touted the importance of fashion as a strong economy driver for the country and highlighted how the sector’s exports in the first two months of 2023 increased 12.7 percent compared to the same period last year, to 11 billion euros.

Confirming the sections that have become Pitti Uomo’s compass on the evolution of men’s wardrobes, including Fantastic Classic, Futuro Maschile and Superstyling, among others, the summer edition will feature a range of cutting-edge projects.

These include a new iteration of the Scandinavian Manifesto section dedicated to cool Scandi brands, the second edition of the J Quality Factory Brand Project focused on Japanese craftsmanship, as well as a tie-up between Chinese premium textile maker Consinee and Labelhood, a China-based retailer and incubator for fashion brands. The tie-up will bring two designers, Ponder.Er and Nullus, to the fair to present capsule collections made from eco-textiles by Consinee.

The S|Style sustainability-geared section, now in its seventh edition, has linked with Kering’s Materials Innovation Lab, or MIL, to offer 10 brands a chance to be mentored by the luxury group’s unit in adopting innovative and low-impact materials and processes in their collections. Brands include Cavia, Dalpaos, Dhruv Kapoor, Isnurh, Jeanne Friot and Steven Passaro, among others.

Scouting Stateside, Pitti Uomo invited five workwear brands based out of Detroit and mentored by the College for Creative Studies, or CCS, to the fair. B.May Bags, Boswell, Detroit Denim, Deviate and K.Walker Collective will present their collections as part of the Detroitissimi section, including a CCS collaboration with Carhartt.

Events and fashion shows outside the Fortezza da Basso fairgrounds are also planned while there will be a trifecta of guest brands and designers.

ERL's Eli Russell Linnetz
ERL’s Eli Russell Linnetz.

As reported, Fendi is taking guests outside Florence to Capannuccia, near Bagno a Ripoli, inside its newest plant inaugurated last October, where it will hold its men’s spring 2024 show during the late afternoon of June 15.

California cool guy Eli Russell Linnetz is Pitti Uomo’s guest designer this season with a late-night show scheduled for 10 p.m. following Fendi’s. He is also contributing to the trade show’s set-up installing a replica of the Statue of Liberty partly submerged in the sand in the central courtyard, inspired by the famous scene from Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1968 “Planet of the Apes” movie. He is also responsible for the sign reading “Make Believe” standing at the fairground’s entrance.

Up-and-coming designer Chu Suwannapha will mount an installation and present its spring collection at the fair’s Sala delle Nazioni. The Cape Town-based creative of Thai origins, known for his mix-and-match of Asian and African silhouettes and prints — think batik fabrics pleated like origami — is this season’s designer project.

Looks from Chulaap, Pitti Uomo's designer project for June 2023.
Looks from Chulaap, Pitti Uomo’s designer project for June 2023.

More runway events will be happening around town, with LuisaViaRoma staging a display called “Runway Icons” on June 14 on Florence’s Piazzale Michelangelo. Developed in partnership with British Vogue and its editor in chief Edward Enninful, the open-air catwalk show will trace the evolution of style through the decades, featuring looks from 50 international brands, as reported.

Luisa Beccaria, meanwhile, is linking with charity association Corri La Vita Onlus to support women affected by breast cancer, displaying a collection on June 13 inside the Frescobaldi Garden.

Department store Rinascente will take the opportunity to celebrate the reopening of its flagship in the city with windows taken over by Slowear for the occasion and a party and dinner. The store’s revamp was completed in 2020. Valentino is also marking the opening of its new flagship in Piazza della Signoria with a cocktail event.

At the fairgrounds, Giuseppe Zanotti — a Milan Fashion Week regular — will mark the 15th anniversary of its men’s collection by debuting an eveningwear capsule including tuxedo loafers, while footwear specialist Doucal’s and swim- and beachwear brand Arena are both poised to fete their 50th anniversaries in Florence. The latter is introducing its initial lifestyle collection in collaboration with The Woolmark Company.

Liverano & Liverano, a local tailor with an international clientele, will showcase its first ready-to-wear collection at Pitti Uomo.

The physical trade show will be flanked by the Pitti Connect digital platform.

Pitti Uomo will be followed by Pitti Bimbo, from June 21 to 23, and Pitti Filati, from June 28 to 30, dedicated to childrenswear and yarn makers, respectively.

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