FLORENCE — A kaleidoscope of colors mirroring the Brazil rainforest and the azure Italian coast were seen at the eighth edition of Pitti W, as brands eye full-year revenue growth fueled by the Asian market.
Pitti W, the women’s wear trade show that showcases capsule and pre-collections, hosted 88 international brands, up from 80 from last season, at a pavilion on Via Valfonda, in a four-day run that ended June 17. The array of resort-style roomy dresses with a geometric or fluorescent edge, ballerina flats and handbags, were influenced by leisurely Mediterranean style.
“It marks a good start to the season,” said Tancrède de Lalun, general merchandise manager for men’s and women’s at Printemps, adding that cotton-oriented dresses, shoes and bags reigned supreme at the fair.
Francesca Versace introduced her first accessories and bags collection, called Sedici45. It ranged from weekend travel bags to crystal-studded evening clutches inspired by the designer’s travels to the Far East, as well as spots close to home, like her family’s native Calabria and the Amalfi Coast. Named after a Calabrian beach town, the Tropea travel bag was showcased in scarlet red and is made of embroidered leather, matched with a high-tech core featuring an LED flashlight. Versace said her line will be found in stores by the end of 2011 and revealed that she aims to create a “360-degree” brand encompassing several categories, from accessories to interior design.
Brazil, a BRIC nation pinpointed by luxury experts as a market experiencing strong growth and expansion potential, was Pitti W’s guest nation and was represented by 10 emerging designers. Muggia co-founder Ana Muggiati, who along with her twin sister Juliana started the brand in 2003, said tariffs on Brazilian imports to Europe make it difficult to expand in key European countries like Italy.
“We find it much easier to work in Asia, and believe it or not, in countries like Japan,” Muggiati said.
Despite trade hurdles, Muggiati said the brand’s Brazil sales rose 40 percent in the first half of 2011 compared to same period a year earlier. While Muggiati presented white linen and cotton T-shirts, and sheath dresses for spring, nearby Brazilian peer Oestudio showed pantsuits in denim, khaki print and mosaic check in blue and citric green. Fluid contours emanated from Milan-based Carta e Costura, with crepe and cotton designs accompanied by artificial accents like fluorescent Plexiglas belts in acid green and bright orange. The company said European sales have been flat, while their brand is growing in Southeast Asian cities like Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Florence-based handbag maker Gherardini unfurled a spring 2012 line inspired by Brazilian travels. The brand also resurrected its Lisa bag, which was first conceived in the early Seventies, restyled with embellishments, embossed zippers and dressed in calfskin and crocodile. Gherardini’s marketing director, Lorenzo Braccialini, said the company sees sales rising 10 percent in 2011, driven by growth in Asia.