Pitti Immagine and Pitti Uomo are a collection of fashion forward industry events that are held twice a year in Florence, Italy. These events are highly anticipated and well-attended event.

It is probably the largest and most important of its type, and is where a lot of high end menswear is sold by manufacturers to retailers. There are companion events for ladies fashion, children’s wear, food and perfume but the men’s event is the largest.   Pitti Immagine organizes international fairs and promotional events in all areas of fashion. The goal is to select and present high quality products, the most innovative styles and highlight their cultural and social relevance and their research content.

This year’s focus, Walkabout Pitti, echoes its vibrant energy and explores the modern concept of walking for pure pleasure instead of necessity, as well as the idea of walking as a means of being healthy and self-aware reflected in contemporary fashion.  The People of Pitti will embody the theme, engaging the entire city with special itineraries, which are to be followed exclusively on foot.


Pitti Immagine Uomo 87 will feature collections for fall/winter 2015-6 that explore the links between art, fashion, sport and design.  Distinguished by its balance of both global and Italian brands, Pitti Uomo showcases a mix of established and rising brands.  This year’ s show received a record number of applications, with exhibitors coming to Florence from over 30 different countries.

The New York brand Hood By Air, founded in 2006 and known for its cutting edge designs, will be the Pitti Special Guest and will produce a special event for Pitti Uomo on Wednesday, January 14.  The Menswear Guest Designer will be Marni.  The Milan-based company recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and will present an exclusive show on Thursday, January 15, featuring the company’ s 2015-2016 fall-winter menswear collection.

The company’s origins date back to the early 1950s and the first fashion shows staged in the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti, Florence. The next step was the creation of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana (1954), which has grown into the holding company of a highly diversified group – that includes Pitti Immagine – that works to support the Italian fashion system.

The runway shows in the Sala Bianca marked the beginning of the international success of Made in Italy and the first chapter in the history of Pitti Immagine. Through the fairs and events it stages Pitti Immagine has added a new dimension to “destination Florence”, in addition to its artistic and cultural heritage, the city is a fulcrum for today’s style and savoir vivre. And the lifestyle concept prompted Pitti Imagine to expand its scope to other fields: wine and food, fragrances and personal wellness.

The Pitti Immagine events are centered in the Fortezza da Basso, a Renaissance era military complex that comprises structures built from the eighteenth century to the present; and facilities outside the fortress walls: the former customs house – Dogana on Via Valfonda, the nineteenth century Villa Vittoria and the late twentieth century Palazzo degli Affari.

The Stazione Leopolda, the city’s first railroad station is now the venue Pitti Immagine uses to stage events and exhibitions dedicated to the various languages of contemporary living, art and culture.

Over the years Pitti Immagine has built up an important historical archive. Part has already been digitized and it can be accessed – on request – by scholars, members of the trades and students. It is an invaluable resource on the development of Italian fashion from the ‘fifties to the present.

It is also famous for the dress of some of its attendees, who dress in a particular pastiche of contemporary Italian style. Contrary to popular belief, what you see in street style photos, Pitti Uomo is not just an excuse for men to sit on a half wall enjoying gelato. The swarm of well-dressed gents who descend on Florence are really there to attend the trade show Pitti Uomo, a biannual gathering that draws retailers, editors, and menswear enthusiasts from around the globe. In the simplest terms a trade show is where brands show off their latest collections to eager store buyers, and while conceptually, Pitti is no different than other show or Project, the exhibitors and sheer scale of the four-day event are what separate it from the pack.

Exposure to new labels is worth the trip alone, from obscure Japanese brands doing sartorial staples like no one else to cool Italian sportswear companies working their way to our shores, and it’s the only place you’ll get a glimpse of Brunello Cucinelli’s complete world of goods (short of a trip to Solomeo). Outside of the trade show floor, Pitti Uomo also plays host to a number of special projects each season, whether it’s a guest-curated micro shows or epic brand installations, as well as one all-out runway show from a hand-picked rising star in the fashion world. This unique, worldly mix is what makes Pitti Uomo so special and, in practical terms for GQ readers, where so many of next season’s trends are first found among the rows and rows of show booths..

Some of Pitti’s exhibits include:     (1) Pitti Immagine Uomo – men’s fashion collections. In Florence and held at the Fortezza de Basso, twice a year. Pitti Uomo is arguably the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections and for launching new projects in men’s fashion. The first edition of Pitti Uomo featuring men’s fashion and accessories was held in Florence September 1972. The exhibition provided a platform for raising the profile of Italian designers and now has quickly achieved international stature as a leading fashion fair. Pitti Uomo is credited with making being a “fashion plate” acceptable to a wider audience; (2) Pitti Immagine W – pre-women’s fashion collections.  In Florence, at the Fortezza da Basso, twice a year; (3) Pitti Immagine Bimbo – fashion collections from 0-14 years. Among the most long-lived of Pitti Immagine fairs, with more than 70 editions. In Florence, at the Fortezza da Basso twice a year; (4) Pitti Immagine Filati – knitting yarn collections. In Florence, at the Fortezza da Basso, two editions per year; and (5) super – women’s fashion collections. Held in Milan twice a year.

Taste: products and culture and food research. The most recent exhibition of Pitti Immagine. At the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, one edition per year. Open only to professionals; there are certain times it is also open to the public.

Moda Prima: fashion collections for men, women and children for the large retail chains. Held in Milan, twice a year.

Fragranze: collections of artistic perfumes and essential oils for the body and for the home. At the Stazione Leopolda in Florence once a year. Private sector operators, and at certain times is also open to the public.

Kathy kiefer

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