2019 Pitti Immagine Career Merit Award to Luigi Settembrini
Today everyone knows just how much Pitti Immagine owes Luigi Settembrini. Even many of the people working for Pitti Immagine today owe him a great debt of gratitude, as does the city of Florence, which now closely resembles what he originally outlined in his project “Firenze, città immagine. Strategia per una nuova immagine italiana” [Florence, city of fashion. Strategy for a new Italian image], presented in June of ’92. That of Luigi Settembrini was a decade full of ideas that contributed to reinstating Florence as one of the fashion capitals, while creating a cultural program that was finally worthy of Italian fashion in its international role.
Invited by Marco Rivetti to become part of the Pitti Immagine team during the second half of the Eighties, together, they gave new meaning to the activity of organizing fashion fairs, by closely tying them into culture, art, information, and contemporary lifestyles. Luigi was a pioneer in conceiving and putting into practice that which is taken for granted today through dozens of important and original projects, including exhibitions like La Sala Bianca: nascita della Moda Italiana, staged by Luca Ronconi and Gae Aulenti, and the The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968 fashion section at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in ’94; along with performances like G.A Story at the Stazione Leopolda directed by Bob Wilson, in collaboration with Giorgio Armani. There was then the Biennale di Firenze in ‘96, the first leading biennial event dedicated to the crossover between art and fashion, together with Germano Celant, Franca Sozzani and Ingrid Sischy.
Pitti Immagine is only a part of the eclectic professional biography of Luigi Settembrini, who first got his start as a journalist and then as an advertiser in Milan, to then go on to become a consultant and manager for leading companies in Italy and abroad. Most recently, his career has seen him fulfill the roles of cultural promoter, curator of exhibitions and director of international biennial events. His latest book Stanze e Segreti (memorie di un seduttore incerto) [Rooms and Secrets (Memories of an Uncertain Seducer)] is scheduled for release over the next few months. You could even go so far as to say that the experience of Luigi Settembrini here at Pitti Immagine, in Florence, played a central role in his life and in his work. His years of collaboration are years that have also changed the lives of all of us who worked with him, ran behind him, discussed, learned, and even argued with him, while having a great time doing so. The “Career Merit Award” that we are granting him here today is also our way of thanking him for everything.
Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, 11 June 2019
Pitti Immagine Uomo 96