By  on November 18, 2010

MILAN — A year of recovery was how Pitti president Gaetano Marzotto termed 2010 here Wednesday, as he set the scene for the 79th edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo, which kicks off Jan. 11 in Florence.

“We’ve seen positive signs the textile industry has recovered, and now it appears the apparel sector is, too,” said Marzotto, although he stressed the fashion industry has yet to fully bounce back from the economic downturn. According to research by the Italian fashion and textile consortium SMI Sistema Moda Italia, based on a survey of 160 textile companies, Italy’s textile and fashion sector saw a continuous uptick in sales throughout the first nine months of the year. The third quarter saw a 6.8 percent increase in revenues.

Marzotto highlighted currency woes and the need for a weaker euro if the Italian fashion industry is to retain competitive prices in export markets including the U.S. and Asia. Following a drop in international exports last year. The country’s exports grew 4 percent in the first seven months of the year to around 14 billion euros, or about $19 billion. It registered a 10.5 percent increase in exports to the U.S. and a 27 percent rise in shipments to Hong Kong in the period of January to July compared to the same period in 2009, according to SMI data.

The upcoming Pitti Uomo’s theme is “PittiCity,” which aims to emphasize its varied offerings. Hoping to tempt buyers in the main pavilion will be open-plan stands reminiscent of department stores, and a renewed ground-floor layout, which completes the pavilion’s transformation that was started in 2009 by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola. Pop-up stores will have a lifestyle appeal and feature design items and, for the first time, beauty products.

Sportswear will extend its presence at the fair. Marina Yachting and C.P. Company have both leased larger exhibition areas, and brands including Façonnable and Jeckerson are notable reentries. New label Albert Arts will also make its world debut in the sports pavilion. Related events set to bolster the category’s reach include the 125th celebration of Italian sneaker brand Pantofola d’Oro in conjunction with the magazine L’Uomo Vogue, and Umbro’s unveiling of its new capsule collection.

Other fair highlights include fall previews from U.S. designer Adam Kimmel; Scottish brand Folk Clothing, and American shirt brand Arrow, part of Phillips-Van Heusen. Italian sartorial label Lubiam will present its centennial capsule collection and host a celebratory installation at Villa Vittoria. Liberty of London men’s wear — produced and distributed by its Italian partner, Slowear Group — is set to make its debut fair appearance at the city’s British library, and Hugo Boss will return to the fair with its Boss Selection line. Fabio Quaranta and Andrea Incontri, upcoming Italian designers and winners of this year’s “Who Is On Next?” Pitti Uomo competition, will also showcase their latest offerings.

Special guests this season include Trussardi, guest of honor Alberta Ferretti and Gareth Pugh for Pitti W. Beatrice Trussardi, president and chief executive officer of the Trussardi Group, said Stazione Leopolda will play host to its runway show on Jan. 12 to honor the brand’s centennial. The capsule collection will be available to preorder the same day from e-tailer TheCorner.com.

Pugh will use the San Michele tower to preview a film shot in Florence, according to Lapo Cianchi, director of communication and special events of Pitti Immagine, while Alberta Ferretti will show a special women’s wear collection in the Florentine Santo Stefano church.

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