Pitti Immagine is an Italian company devoted to promoting the fashion industry worldwide. From the top down, its motivated staff fully believes in the concept of the modern trade fair as an event that is in a constant stage of renewal and development – indeed Pitti Immagine has recently expanded its scope to include other industries such as food and fragrance. According to Pitti Immagine the trade fair must create clear and stimulating relationships involving the exhibitors, their collections and the buyers and public, by offering information, and knowledge.
From the 1950s to now
HISTORYBack to top
Pitti Immagine organizes international fairs and promotional events in all areas of fashion. The goal is to select and present high quality products, the most innovative styles and highlight their cultural and social relevance and their research content.
The company’s origins date back to the early 1950s and the first fashion shows staged in the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti, Florence. The next step was the creation of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana (1954), which has grown into the holding company of a highly diversified group – that includes Pitti Immagine – that works to support the Italian fashion system. The runway shows in the Sala Bianca marked the beginning of the international success of Made in Italy and the first chapter in the history of Pitti Immagine. Through the fairs and events it stages Pitti Immagine has added a new dimension to “destination Florence”, in addition to its artistic and cultural heritage, the city is a fulcrum for today’s style and savoir vivre. And the lifestyle concept prompted Pitti Immagine to expand its scope to other fields: wine and food, fragrances and personal wellness.
The Pitti Immagine events are centered in the Fortezza da Basso, a Renaissance era military complex that comprises structures built from the eighteenth century to
The Stazione Leopolda, the city’s first railroad station is now the venue Pitti Immagine uses to stage events and exhibitions dedicated to the various languages of contemporary living, art and culture.
Over the years Pitti Immagine has built up an important historical archive. Part has already been digitized and it can be accessed – on request – by scholars, members of the trades and students. It is an invaluable resource on the development of Italian fashion from the ‘fifties to the present.
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The ’FortiesIn the 1940s there was no Italian garment industry to speak of. Small tailor and dressmaker shops in the war-wracked cities and towns made clothes to order. In Florence a lively craft and cultural fabric became fertile ground for the birth of Italy’s first buying offices, the outposts of overseas department stores. One of this was Giovanni Battista Giorgini. Photo Archivio Giorgini
The ‘FiftiesA dynamic promotional organization and a clever use of the city’s historical locations raised Italian fashion to a higher level and, with its imaginative materials, fit and elegant lines, it began to rival the French hegemony. Photo Archivio Giorgini
1951On 12 February, in Villa Torrigiani, the home of Giovanni Battista Giorgini, the Fontana sisters, Jole Veneziani, Fabiani, Pucci, Noberasco, Carosa and Schuberth presented their models to female American buyers and journalists. The show was an extraordinary success. Photo Archivio Giorgini
1954The Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana (CFMI) was established in 1954, from that time on, this organization would promote all the fashion events. There were 500 buyers and 200 journalists at the 1955 shows, making “Pitti” the biggest fashion trade fair in Europe. Photo Archivio Giorgini
1963By now, showing in the Sala Bianca was a sign of total prestige: the ranks were joined by Galitzine, Ken Scott, Mila Schon, Krizia and Valentino. 1963 also marked the first presentation of men’s fashions. The Center opened new offices and began to move outside Florence.
1965After having supported the birth of Italian High Fashion and contributed to the establishment of CFMI, Giorgini resigned from the organization in 1965.
1967In 1967, Franco Tancredi became the new president of CFMI and signed the agreement with the Camera Nazionale della Moda: the High Fashion shows were definitively moved to the ateliers in Rome, while the Boutique and Knitwear collections stayed in Florence.
The 'SeventiesThe brilliant idea of Tancredi was create ties between CFMI and the booming fashion industry, and then choose large-scale European, American and Japanese retailers as the key interfaces. Giorgio Armani, Walter Albini and Missoni made their Palazzo Pitti debuts, just as Milan began to shine as the new star for women’s prêt-à-porter and design in general.
1972The first edition of Pitti Uomo, featuring men’s clothing and accessories was held in September 1972. Created essentially for promoting the best of the Italian fashion industry on big foreign markets, the fair quickly achieved international stature also in terms of the proposals.
1975A sector in constant growth found its first fair: Pitti Bimbo burst onto the scene in 1975, intercepting the changes in the consumer habits of families and presenting high quality clothing for children. The fair also included the first ever mini-fashion shows!
1977The first edition of Pitti Filati was held in 1977: featuring yarns and research on trends it immediately became a reference point for the slightly anarchic world of knitwear manufacturers and designers of all around the world.
19781978 brought Pitti Casa, a show dedicated exclusively to linens for elegant homes. The focus on the “home” paved the way for the organizers of what would become Milan’s Salone del Mobile.
1980The roaring ‘Eighties began with the closure of the Sala Bianca, but new fairs came to life in the pavilions of the Fortezza da Basso that quickly became a trademark for trade events featuring Made in Italy. CFMI urgently needed a more efficient organization to counter the growing competition between the cities of fashion.
1983In 1983 CFMi transferred its operational activities to Centro Moda, which became the business driving force of the entire group. It was a time of experimentation and ongoing – often unpredictable – confrontations with the fashion market
1987Another turning point: Italy’s leading fashion manufacturers become personally involved in the management of the fairs. In 1987, Marco Rivetti, patron of the GFT Group and the man behind the success of the new industry/designer duo, is appointed president and managing director of Centro Moda.
1988Centro Moda acquired a new name and new identity, becoming Pitti Immagine. Rivetti’s keywords were: services, internationalization, opening up to contemporary phenomena, events and communication.
1989Vittorio Rimbotti became the new president of CFMI, whilst Raffaello Napoleone took over the reins at Pitti Immagine, the first step in a renewal process that would encompass the whole company management structure.
2000This decade saw a constant growth in turnover, exhibitors and buyers – as well as increased investment in services, layouts and promotion. Pitti Immagine’s events developed around an increasingly broader concept that viewed fashion as the heart and catalyst of new cosmopolitan lifestyles.
20012001 also marked the creation of Stazione Leopolda srl, the company managing the former railroad station that has become one of the most experimental contemporary venues in Florence, hosting important cultural events, exhibitions, fairs and publicity projects, including many staged by Pitti Immagine.
2002Pitti Immagine has a new president, its third: Gaetano Marzotto, an exponent of one of the most important families in the European textiles-clothing industry.
2002In 2002, the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery made an incisive innovative contribution. The foundation had existed since 1999, but now it turned to research projects and considerations on the creative circuits that fashion establishes with the languages of art, architecture and communications, and made itself into an “idea catalyst”.
2004The equation, fashion equals lifestyle, led to the birth of new and successful events such as Fragranze, the annual fair devoted to international artistic perfumery, personal/body-care products and embellishments for the home.
2005In 2005 Pitti Immagine added Touch!, NeoZone and Cloudnine, a network of shows for women’s fashions, to its trade fair/exhibition portfolio. The setting for these events, held during fashion week, is the Via Tortona district in Milan.The first edition of Modaprima, the international fair featuring women’s, men’s and children’s fashions for large-scale retailers, was held in Milan in 2006.
2009Alberto Pecci became president of CFMI in 2009. He has the challenging task of leading the group in times of far-reaching changes in the fashion world, and the need for change has become even more urgent because of the serious economic-financial crisis that marked the end of the decade.
2011Fiera Digitale is established, the new company controlled by Pitti Immagine, that launches the e.Pitti project, the digital platform hosting on-line fairs and virtual showrooms for fashion brands. The fair experience broadens and expands with a project that is unique in the world of fashion events.
June 2011Pitti Immagine inaugurates its new digital presence with pittimmagine.com and pittidiscovery.com. The first is a complete representation of the Pitti world, constantly updated with a varied editorial program. A similar entity but a digital universe in itself, pittidiscovery.com tells us about recent developments in the cultural and communication strategy of the Pitti Discovery Foundation - featuring fashion, art and design - with a focus on new talent in Italian and international fashion and on emerging countries.
November 2011Modaprima – the event for ready-to-wear clothing and accessories for men and women – arrives in Florence. Stazione Leopolda hosts some of the best Italian firms specialising in production for medium- and large-scale retail.
2012Stefano Ricci, an entrepreneur and designer from Florence, is appointed as the new President of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana (the Florence Centre for Italian Fashion), replacing Alberto Pecci.
February 2013Super takes the baton from Touch! NeoZone and Cloudnine, expanding the trade fairs offered by Pitti Immagine. A new exhibition project dedicated to womenswear in collaboration with Fiera Milano - at Milan fashion week - Super brings the accessories and ready-to-wear collections from a selection of international brands to the stage. A sophisticated, retail-made offer with a focus on new talent in fashion.
November 2014Pitti Immagine launches the PITTISMART app: with an optimised range of services and features designed to facilitate the work of the people involved in the events, PittiSmart makes the Pitti universe increasingly engaging.
2015In 2015, Andrea Cavicchi, entrepreneur, president of the Prato Industrial Association and vice president of Confindustria Tuscany, becomes the new president of the CFMI for 2015-2017.
January 2016Pitti Immagine extends its scope and invests even more concretely in promoting fashion talents, by launching the TUTORSHIP project: a division of the company whose job is to accompany fashion designers on their journey of growth with brand development and career management activities.
The Pitti Immagine ValuesBack to top
Pitti Immagine is research: an ability to see and understand new leaders, new stimuli and new potentials. It is bringing apparently distant worlds and people together – culture, fashion, art, architecture, finance and business. For us research means curiosity, a multidisciplinary approach and the courage to be different.
Pitti Immagine is independence: an equilibrium among the partners, shareholders and the interests they represent in the decisions that characterize our mission and strategy. It is a promise and a commitment to moving forward day after day. It is the means for concentrating on what we do best and employing all of our energy to do it even better. For us independence means freedom of thought and action.
Pitti Immagine is internationalism: an ability to compete on a global market, understanding traditions and innovating their language. It is awareness of the complexities of fashion and art on an international level without borders or local prejudices. It is an ability to interpret different cultures and bring them together. For us internationalism means a world without borders.
The Group Centro di Firenze per la Moda ItalianaBack to top
The Gruppo CFMI comprises the group-leader of the same name and fully or indirectly owned companies in which the Centro controls the majority of voting shares. These companies are Pitti Immagine, Stazione Leopolda, Fondazione Pitti Discovery and Fiera Digitale.
The group also holds significant stakes in companies and organizations whose work is coherent with its own mission, and specifically Ente Moda Italia, Efima, Polimoda, and Edifir. The diagram below presents a clear view of the group’s architecture.