“I welcome this special opportunity to express Wales Bonner’s vision of cultural luxury at the historically important institution of Pitti Uomo,” the brand’s founder and creative director said.
She established her brand in 2014 soon after graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins and winning the L’Oréal Professionnel Talent Award. In 2015 she scooped up the Emerging Men’s Wear Designer at the British Fashion Awards and broke into womenswear in 2018. She went on to receive other accolades, including the CFDA International Men’s Designer of the Year award in 2021.
The London-based designer is often touted for layering her clothes with personal explorations of African identity, spirituality and various art forms.
“We have been familiar with the work of Grace Wales Bonner since she first debuted and were attracted first and foremost by her cultural sensibility and multidisciplinary approach that comes across in her collaborations with artists and other designers, and appearing in all her collections,” said Lapo Cianchi, Pitti Immagine’s communication and special events director, praising the designer’s blend of tailoring and sportswear elements. For Maria Grazia Chiuri’s cruise 2020 collection for Dior, Wales Bonner was tapped, among other creatives, to contribute looks to the show.
As reported, the upcoming menswear trade show is going solo, discontinuing the recent tradition of combining it with the Pitti Bimbo and Pitti Filati fairs dedicated to children’s wear and yarn-makers, respectively.
Although this marks the first announcement Pitti Uomo organizers have made to build up the hype around the 102nd edition of the trade fair, the June edition will also see Ann Demeulemeester finally host its event at the former railway plant Stazione Leopolda.
Demeulemeester was named the special guest at last January’s edition, but decided to postpone due to surging COVID-19 cases in Italy and elsewhere. The showcase is 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.
As Italy moves cautiously toward the lifting of the remaining safety measure put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there’s hope within the menswear community that the June edition of Pitti Uomo will return to its pre-pandemic standards. Last January, most exhibitors said their attendance was testament to the unity and strength of the Pitti community and the overall men’s market even as visitor numbers were less than in past years.