By  on November 12, 2009

MILAN — Out with the old and in with the new, storied men’s fair Pitti Immagine Uomo is getting a facelift as part of efforts to revamp its profile on the trade show calendar.

“The fashion world is changing, driven by new buying habits….Pitti Uomo is paving the way and giving a strong response to the market’s transformation by revolutionizing the layout of the fair,” Pitti chief executive officer Raffaello Napoleone said here Wednesday ahead of the 77th edition of the fair, which runs Jan. 12 to 15 in Florence.

To that end, Pitti has hired Spanish architect and industrial designer Patricia Urquiola, who will start with the lower ground floor of the main pavilion, turning it into “a kind of urban fashion district,” according to the company. Her new layout also will include pop-up stores for a selection of accessories and lifestyle products.

Pitti will host a series of exclusive launches in and around the Fortezza da Basso, and allow visitors to discuss their likes and dislikes via video interviews, which will be filmed by fashion bloggers and shown throughout the fair.

After throwing the spotlight in recent seasons on a series of international designer labels such as Undercover, Thom Browne, Walter Van Beirendonck, Kris Van Assche and Martin Margiela, Pitti will stage the first runway show for Italian sartorial brand Cornelilani at the former railway station and exhibition space Stazione Leopolda. The event, which is also the first time the men’s wear show has featured a tailoring label as its special guest, aims to exemplify the virtue of Made in Italy contemporary wear, “constructed on creativity and quality,” and underline Pitti’s status as “an indispensable point of reference for men’s wear,” Napoleone said.

Architect and industrial designer Ron Arad will collaborate with denim label Notify on an installation dubbed “Notify, The Modern Vision of Sartorial Spirit.”

Pitti also will host events for designers Umit Benan and Max Kibardin, who won last season’s inaugural Who’s on Next talent search, sponsored by Uomo Vogue and Roman couture association Alta Roma. Benan will present his fall-winter men’s collection for the first time on an international stage, while footwear designer Kibardin, whose aesthetic has been likened to Manolo Blahnik’s, will showcase shoes and accessories in an installation.

“The concept of the new collection will be Tyrol glam punk, and will propose a mix of experimentation and artisanal Made in Italy craft, defined in two distinct looks: casual shock chic and exasperated elegance,” Kibardin explained.

Other initiatives include a centenary exhibition for sportswear brand Everlast designed by Italian architect Elio Di Franco; an evening dedicated to Italian denim brand Roy Rogers; a tribute to the British Menswear Guild dubbed “50 Years of Great British Menswear,” and a special presentation by Dockers San Francisco. Additionally, Lars Nilsson will launch a signature men’s wear line — Mr. Nils — with Tuscan manufacturer Mabro at the Museo Marino Marini at the show.

Brands making their Pitti debuts or returning to the fair include Barbour, Dutch denim label Denham, Fornarina’s new “fitness-chic” line Fornarina Sport Glam, Reebok, Refrigiwear, Sebago, Sorel and Zu Elements. In total, 739 companies and 849 brands from around the world will exhibit at the fairgrounds in January.

Meanwhile, Giles Deacon will headline the fifth edition of women’s pre-collection counterpart Pitti W_Woman, which runs concurrently. The British designer also will make his online debut on Thecorner.com, which will set up a virtual ministore dedicated to Deacon’s spring collection.

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