Italian Brands Urged to Look Globally

Pitti Immagine president Gaetano Marzotto offered some advice during the press conference announcing the schedule of the upcoming Pitti Uomo.

MILAN — To battle the slowdown in sales in Europe and boost their businesses, fashion companies need to focus on emerging markets.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

That was the advice of Pitti Immagine president Gaetano Marzotto, who made the comments Thursday during a press conference presenting the schedule of the 82nd edition of Pitti Uomo, running June 19 to 22. “In the new markets, including China, India, Indonesia and all the oil-rich countries, there are about one billion people who have incomes equal to Europeans,” he said. “While in Europe people are in general more sober, in those markets customers tend to be more opulent and look for the affordable elegance of Made in Italy products.”

According to research by Italian fashion and textile consortium SMI, while the Italian fashion and textile sector registered a drop of 4.6 percent in revenues nationally, it posted 5.5 percent growth in sales abroad in the first quarter of 2012. Exports increased 9.4 percent in 2011 overall, reaching a combined 27 billion euros, or $35.6 billion at average exchange, with countries outside the European Union posting a 14.2 percent increase. Italian exports to China jumped 28.4 percent and Italy’s shipments to the U.S. and Japan grew 12.2 and 15.1 percent, respectively.

Marzotto said fashion companies should work to quickly restock stores with new, fresh product to stimulate sales and make them attractive for international tourists.

For the next edition of men’s show Pitti Uomo, where about 1,020 brands will showcase their spring 2013 collections, organizers chose a tasty theme, called “WonderFood.” “Food is a hot category right now and it has a strong link with fashion,” said Pitti Immagine vice president Agostino Poletto, who asked 40 fashion designers to dress a lineup of straw men, which will keep guard over the creative vegetable gardens set in the courtyard facing the fair’s central pavilion.

To enhance the fair experience for buyers and press and make it more dynamic, Pitti also organized “Alternative Set,” a project involving seven designers, including Alexis Mabille, Emiliano Rinaldi and Pierre-Louis Mascia, who will create temporary installations at unusual locations of the show.

New entries at Pitti Uomo this time include Seven For All Mankind; Ben Sherman’s new men’s wear project; G-Star Raw, which will unveil the “Raw Denim Dome” exhibition; Dockers’ new capsule collection; Japanese designer Yasuhiro Mihara making his debut with a footwear project; the new Dekker collection; Hancock, the line designed by Timothy Everest, and Cesare Paciotti’s new premium line. In June, a number of brands will make a comeback at Pitti, including eco-fashion firm Edun and Pirelli P Zero.

The Pitti Discovery Foundation teamed with men’s fashion label Stone Island to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the brand with a retrospective held at Florence’s Stazione Leopolda. “We are proud to celebrate our 30 years, which marked the Italian costume, in Florence, a fundamental point of reference for Western culture,” said Stone Island president and creative director Carlo Rivetti, who will throw an opening party on June 19. The event will present a book tracing the brand’s history through more than 300 images of the company’s pieces.

The same night another Italian firm, WP Lavori in Corso, will also fete its 30th anniversary with an event called “75 years of Baracuta.” During a British-inspired party, the company will showcase its first collection for Baracuta, the historic outerwear brand, which it recently acquired.

As revealed earlier this month, the special guest at Pitti Uomo this time will be fashion brand Carven, which, under the creative direction of Guillaume Henry, will stage its first runway show on June 21. The event will be preceded by the show of emerging designer Andrea Pompilio, a sophomore at Pitti, as well as by Valentino’s duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, last year’s special guests. The latter’s show is scheduled for June 19.

At Pitti W, which will present six Nigerian designers in collaboration with Lagos Fashion Week, British brand Peter Pilotto will be the special guest. Designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos will present their new collection during a special event on June 20.

The list of the events held in Florence during the trade show also includes an exhibition on Marilyn Monroe organized by Salvatore Ferragamo at its museum, and Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s first personal exhibition, called “Delphinarium. A Monographic Exhibition on Delfina Delettrez.”