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Pitti Uomo

The Pitti Uomo 78 and Pitti W_Woman programmes include many exciting presentations and two special guests: Jil Sander and Haider Ackermann...

Over sixty years have passed since the first catwalk shows organised at Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. Throughout the decades, fashion changed and so have designers and brands, while the Pitti event turned into a vitally important platform offering visibility to international men and women’s wear designers and brands. “There is something very unique at the Pitti and that’s a special balance between established companies and new designers that generates a dialogue between new and old fashion houses and brands and introduces buyers to constant and coherent innovations,” Lapo Cianchi, Pitti’s Director of Communication and Special Events, explains. “I think the Pitti tradeshow is probably among the few ones offering the chance to meet established fashion houses and manufacturing companies with strong identities and well-defined places in the market, and, at the same time, giving the opportunity to younger people to present their work and meet the international fashion media, buyers and trendsetters.”

At the next Pitti tradeshow there will be two special guests, Jil Sander and Haider Ackermann. Raf Simons, current creative director at Jil Sander, is actually a familiar Pitti presence: in 2003 he was the co-curator with Francesco Bonami of the exhibition “The Fourth Sex” and, two years later, he presented a catwalk show and installation to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his career. At this season’s Pitti, Simons will launch his Spring/Summer 2011 menswear collection for Jil Sander. “What fascinated us about this opportunity is the chance to show how Simons has managed to adapt his style and assimilate it into the Jil Sander brand, and the possibility to explore the new collection in a different context compared to the conventional catwalk shows in Milan.”

Haider Ackermann, Pitti W_Woman guest designer, will instead present for the first time menswear designs during a special event at Palazzo Corsini. “Our main aim has always been to encourage important players from the international fashion scene to engage in a dynamic dialogue with their audiences, presenting collections and projects that go beyond the mere fashion signifier, inspiring in this way different people and prompting them to think along innovative lines, by associating art, style and fashion,” Cianchi claims. “One of the main sources of inspiration for Ackermann’s collections is menswear and, as our special guest, the designer has been given free rein and this freedom allowed him to create designs in which his masculine inspirations prevailed, generating in this way a special collection that will be complemented by a few women’s wear pieces purposefully created for the Pitti event.”

Among the most interesting events taking place during the tradeshow there is also the second edition of the “Who Is On Next? Uomo” competition organised by Pitti Immagine Uomo, Alta Roma and L’Uomo Vogue. Eight finalists - AI_, Camo, Dead Meat, FQR, Maurizio Miri, Ozona, Pierre-Luis Mascia and Yuji Miura - were chosen and the winners for the ready-to-wear and accessory categories will be announced on 15th June. “It has become harder selecting only eight finalists out of all the designers who apply,” Cianchi says, “but the competition has turned into an exciting event since it encourages all the people who apply to work harder. Besides, ‘Who Is On Next?’ is also open to international designers manufacturing their products in Italy and this has allowed us to take into consideration a wider range of applicants.”

A strong international focus has been the key to the latest Pitti editions and, in future, the tradeshow may be looking again across the Ocean. Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler and Thom Browne, have been among the main guests invited from America, but future editions of the event may introduce further young and talented designers, “The Rodarte sisters, Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra are all very strong designers, so we may be thinking along those lines for what regards womenswear,” Cianchi reveals, “in the meantime, for this edition we will have an American artist, rather than a designer, Andrea Zittel, presenting at Palazzo Pitti her exhibition ‘Between Art and Life’ that will feature around 80 of her works.”

Pitti Uomo 78 and Pitti W_Woman, from 15th to 18th June 2010, Florence, Italy. Come back tomorrow for Dazed Digital's full interview with designer Haider Ackermann