Florence brands celebrate Pitti fashion fair
Gucci, Ferragamo, Cavalli to fete Centro per la Moda Italiana08 January, 16:39
The initiative announced on Tuesday at the opening of the 85th Pitti Uomo will take place during the next edition of the trade fare on June 17-20 to sponsor Italian fashion where it was first launched internationally in the 1950s.
'Firenze Hometown Fashion', as the event has been labelled, strives to give visibility to a leading sector in crisis-stricken Italy as data released on the eve of Pitti Uomo showed that, while internal demand contracted last year, exports grew 3.7%, an increase worth 5.2 billion euros.
The sector's revenues totalled 8.6 billion euros in 2013, according to data by the Italian federation of fashion businesses Sistema Moda Italia.
The announcement came as Italy's top menswear trade fair was overshadowed by the new menswear fashion season which also opened in London this week.
''Pitti next year will be the initiative on which the ministry will invest more resources'', Carlo Calenda, deputy minister for economic development, said Tuesday on the opening day of the trade fair which wraps up on January 10.
The plan was championed by the president of Centro Moda Stefano Ricci, founder of the eponymous Florence-based luxury tailor, and will see for the first time the five top Florence-born brands participate in Pitti Uomo together in coordinated events at symbolic sites in the city.
Calenda said the government will invest in Pitti as ''a symbol of Italian-made'' fashion at a time when the trade fair is running the risk of being outshined by initiatives abroad.
''The menswear market is becoming the most important in the world so major foreign groups are buying our best brands and big international fairs are putting pressure on Florence and Milan'', said Gaetano Marzotto, the president of Pitti Immagine, 85% of which is controlled by Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana.
French luxury-goods group LVMH strengthened its grip on Italian fashion last July when it bought 80% of family-owned cashmere company Loro Piana, the latest in a string of Italian brands to be acquired by foreign companies.
It also controls, among others, Fendi and Pucci.
Italian iconic tailor Brioni was bought by French multinational holding company Kering, previously known as PPR, in 2011.
Pitti dates back to the early 1950s when the first shows held in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti in Florence marked the beginning of the international success of Italian fashion - debuting icons including Valentino in 1962.
Marzotto noted that improving the creativity and quality of fashion products is not enough as the country needs ''a sweeping national strategy'' to launch Italian industry including ''logistics, airports, hotels''.
Cutting red tape and the cost of labour were priorities cited by Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, the newly elected head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) who opened the doors of Palazzo Vecchio's Salone dei Cinquecento during the last winter edition of Pitti Uomo in January 2013 for a fashion show by Florentine designer Ermanno Scervino, who produces his label locally, to give added visibility to the trade fair and Florence-based fashion.
Initiatives promoted as part of Firenze Hometown Fashion in June will include an evening dedicated to music at the Nuovo Teatro dell'Opera, an event focusing on the Italian fashion identity, fashion shows for up-and-coming designers and Neapolitan tailors.
Also scheduled is the inauguration of new lighting on Ponte Vecchio sponsored by Stefano Ricci whose luxury brand recorded a turnover of 126 million euros in 2013, up 42% from the previous year.