UNTIL JUNE: In the wake of surging COVID-19 cases in Italy and elsewhere due to the impact of the highly infectious Omicron variant, the much anticipated event by Ann Demeulemeester at the upcoming edition of Pitti Uomo has been postponed.
The leading men’s trade fair running Jan. 11 to 13 is going ahead with the IRL format, but the evolution of the health situation “prevents the holding of individual events in the right form, with all the necessary characteristics,” said Lapo Cianchi, head of communication and special events at the fair’s organizer Pitti Immagine, in a statement.
Ann Demeulemeester was named this edition’s special guest and was supposed to host an event at the former railway plant Stazione Leopolda on Jan. 12, intended as a celebration of the Belgian brand’s 40-year history with support from its new owner, Italian retailer Claudio Antonioli, which bought the Antwerp-based company in 2020.
The celebrations are being moved to the June edition of the men’s fair.
While the Belgian house and its owner remained mum on the format’s details, it is understood the event was set to be a retrospective with models sporting looks from seasons past retracing the career of the acclaimed designer and the brand’s journey after she exited the creative helm in 2013.
“In the course of the last few weeks, we have tried to adapt the project to the modified environmental conditions while guaranteeing the maximum safety for all the people involved in the production, but the project gradually became depleted and it was no longer possible to maintain its original spirit,” Cianchi said.
The news comes one day after Brunello Cucinelli decided to bow out of Pitti Uomo, opting to showcase its fall collection on the trade show’s digital platform Pitti Connect and via individual appointments at the brand’s showrooms in Milan, New York and Shanghai, with the help of a medical station that will test clients and collaborators on-site.
Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of organizer Pitti Immagine, underscored earlier this week that “even more stringent protocols” have been put in place for added protection ahead of Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo.
“Over the past few weeks we had taken into account that all this could have affected the participation to the trade show,” but he said that, overall, the numbers are holding up, in terms of buyers and press.
“Pitti Immagine has made a choice, since the beginning of the pandemic, to stay close to the companies and buyers in the interest of the entire fashion system. And since then, we have been true to that choice, adapting to the evolution of the general situation, putting our company and its business under pressure,” continued Napoleone. “In the end, we are inspired by the choices of our government, which has decided to reconcile at all costs the indispensable protection of the collective health with the indispensable protection of the economic activities, necessary conditions for one another.”