NEW YORK — The fashion industry desperately needs to create excitement in order to survive in an increasingly complex world. And that doesn’t necessarily translate into show-now-buy now.
That’s the opinion of Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of Pitti Immagine, who hosted a luncheon here Monday to promote the latest edition of the group’s men’s wear trade show in Florence. Pitti Uomo will be held June 14 to 17 at the Fortezza da Basso.
“Fashion moves very fast,” he said, “but the principle is simple. Why would someone fly to Florence if you don’t offer them something they can’t see anywhere else. We need to offer them something unique, with its own identity.”
Napoleone said Pitti Uomo needs to be perceived as “a creator of ideas and emotions. We don’t want to be thought of as a trade show operator. If we just think in terms of square meters, we’re dead.”
This season, Pitti Uomo will celebrate its 90th edition — or “45 years of history,” Napoleone said — with a series of special events and installations.
The fair has tapped designer Gosha Rubchinskiy as its men’s guest designer. In addition to his spring collection, he will also present a photography project at the show.
Pitti is also featuring Japanese brand Visvim, which will show both men’s and women’s wear in a “performance” format, along with Calling: Raf Simons, a showing of the designer’s spring line as well as a “special project” that he will create especially for the fair. Napoleone said the manner of the installation is being kept under wraps.
Other special events include Karl Lagerfeld’s Visions of Fashion, which will cover the designer’s entire photographic career and will include never-before-seen images, as well as Fausto Puglisi’s first men’s capsule collection and a show from newcomer Lucio Vanotti.
Cartier will also present a look at its men’s collection at Pitti Uomo, where it will take over a 15th-century palazzo for its presentation and will also unveil its Drive de Cartier watch.
All of these events will be for the spring season on the traditional men’s wear calendar, bucking the new trend toward showing merchandise that will be sold to the public immediately.
Napoleone believes show-now-buy-now is just a “marketing ploy” and will eventually run its course. “We have to remain aspirational and go much higher with new programs, ideas and emotions.
“No one needs more shoes, bags or clothes, so I prefer creating desire,” he said. “Waiting is always one of the key points of fashion.”
At the upcoming Pitti Uomo show, 1,219 brands will be showcased to an expected 30,000 attendees. At last summer’s edition, 41 percent of buyers came from abroad with Japan, Germany, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. Pitti will continue to partner with Liberty Fairs this year for the Made in the U.S. section, which will feature 65 American brands.