Month: May 2016
Fortezza da Basso, Palazzo Pitti 14-17 June 2016, Florence
Lifestyle and fashion make for obvious bedfellows, more elegantly worded by the late Gianni Versace, one of my favorite Italian designers, who said “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live”. Walking in Florence, since choosing to relocate here in February, I couldn’t have a better introduction to Italian culture and the sartorial trends which have influenced men’s fashion throughout the world; than the twice-yearly, Pitti Uomo trade event which presents “…clothing and accessory collections and launching new project’s in men’s fashion.”
The exhibition, under the auspices of its corporate parent, Pitti Immagine, has provided a “Global showcase and a unifier for the national industry” since 1972, including many of today’s international fashion industry scions: Armani, Ricci, Valentino and Versace who have set the bar high for forthcoming designers. In 2016, hosting as many exhibitors and rigorously selected designers as there are statues in our museums, the Fortezza da Basso presents Hiroki Nakamura working his street apparel and cult footwear, Fausto Puglisi staging his luxurious designs using tradition fabrics, Raf Simons showing his contemporary S/S 2017 collection toGosha Rubchinskiy – this year’s guest menswear designer – showcasing his social commentary collection through media visuals, and Lucio Vanotti, the 2012 ‘Who is on Next?’ finalist known for his elegant unisex style. Concurrently, at the Palazzo Pitti, Visions of Fashion, a photographic exhibition by the iconic Karl Lagerfeld, opens to the public from 15th June inaugurating a three-year programme dedicated to the culture of contemporary fashion. This historic location more famously knows as the former residence of the Medici family, whose wealth and influence originally derived from the textile trade, offers a fitting location indeed to “promote the fashion industry as the aesthetic expression and global evolution of taste.”
NOW AND THEN: Gucci may be shaking up the fashion system with coed shows, but its chief executive Marco Bizzarri and creative director Alessandro Michele are dead set against see-now-buy-now.
The two men muse on multiple industry shifts in a 13,000-word article penned by Jonathan Wingfield — and illustrated with 50 pages of photos by Juergen Teller — in the next issue of System Magazine.
“Has anyone actually asked the customer if they want to have something available directly after the show? You hear that three bags are going to be released tomorrow in five shops, so you produce 15 bags. How many customers are you going to satisfy with that? Fifteen!” Bizzarri tells the biannual title. “Moving forward, if you want to stay away from fast fashion, I think personally we need to go in a completely opposite direction with what is being talked about.”
The executive and Michele are united about the importance of fashion shows — to a point.
“From a branding standpoint, the show represents only a fraction of our business, and the impact you actually have on the consumer is super, super tiny. I mean, what about the pre-collection?” Bizzarri says. “That is just as important as the show. So let us use the show to tell a story, and then if we need to do something to be closer to the consumer, let’s make sure that the shops today are no longer these mausoleums where you are afraid to enter.”
Adds Michele: “I love fashion shows: they’re the moment when you can give soul to the clothes. Otherwise, it is just a skirt. Fashion is about the dream and without the dream fashion doesn’t exist anymore. So I believe more and more in the fashion show, and I think that fashion needs to be more fashionable than ever before.”
The issue makes its debut Tuesday at Dover Street Market and Colette before rolling out to newsstands on May 9.