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Gareth Pugh at Pitti Uomo

The Italian trade show presents its two star players for the Florence-based catwalk shows; Trussardi and Gareth Pugh

Pitti Uomo has, if it's possible after last year's Jil Sander bliss and Haider Ackermann menswear debut, decided to up their game. For the January 2011 edition of the Italian trade show, the organisers have invited power house Trussardi and avant garde Brit Gareth Pugh. The announcement was made a few weeks ago, but yesterday the Pitti Uomo officially launched the project in London. Other noteworthy participants in the exhibition are Aitor Thorup's reinterpretation of Umbro's archive and the launch of Carhartt's collaboration with Adam Kimmel.

But the two main events are Trussardi's centenary anniversary collection and Gareth Pugh's first sartorial foray into Italian territory. Trussardi, a family-run company now headed up by Beatrice, the fourth generation Trussardi, will show Milan Vukviromic latest collection for the brand, and its new logo. The brand also have a Michelin starred restaurant and an Arts Foundation, helping new and emerging creative talents. Also Pitti Uomo has a vehicle for promoting young designers, 'New Performers'. Next year it features Ready-to-Wear designer Fabio Quaranta and accessory maker Andrea Incontri. At the press event, Dazed spoke to Gareth Pugh about his Florentine debut...

Dazed Digital: What's  the nature of the project, are we talking digital here or are you going back to the catwalk formula?
Gareth Pugh:
I think it's best described as my version of a pre-collection. The way we're going to show is to be very different to how we showed in Paris last season as well and it's very much inspired by the venue. We saw lot of venues in Florence and it's such a shame I think for me to go to somewhere like Florence and do this thing in a white, very bare, space that felt like it could be in London or Paris. The space we have is very Florentine and what we're going to do will reflect that.

DD: So it could include both something digital as well as a more hands on show?
Gareth Pugh:
It's going to be more of an event thing, it's not going to be like you turn up to the space and you see a show and then you leave. Also the church is a very difficult venue because everything is like 60 foot up in the air.

DD: Yes, you're showing in a church - can you describe it a bit for us?
Gareth Pugh:
The venue is amazing - it's like a 17th century, Medieval-style church that they only turned it into a church maybe 150 years ago. It's dedicated to all the saints of the industry in Florence. So the leather industry commissioned a sculpture, and there's a silk saint, too. There was a pecking order with the statues because some of them are marble and some of them are in plaster and some of them are in bronze and obviously bronze is their most expensive so there was a status thing going on there. And on the second floor there's a huge cavernous space with beautiful views of Florence.

DD: How  do you think that showing in Italy will differ from what you're used to?
Gareth Pugh:
It's going to be a very different audience I think. In Paris we have my show and then we go elsewhere to have dinner and then a party and this is bringing it altogether and it's going to be quite a special thing.

DD: We can't say much about what you're showing but what are your current sources of inspiration, anything that you're into right now that might abstractly influence what you're doing?
Gareth Pugh:
Well, I'm showing in a church... it's basically my version of what Italy is very famous for; art and its beauty. It's going to be my version of that, a kind of Gareth Pugh world, that's what we're trying to create.