Arriving in Florence 24 hours before the start of the fair was a definite first for me. And I was lured to lunch on the Monday by Parmigiani Fleurier, the luxury watch company, which presented four ultra-limited edition pieces, sold exclusively by LuisaViaRoma and designed in collaboration with Felice Limosani. The artist created an installation for the shop window with an enormous pendulum and a “butterfly house” placed right opposite. His idea: “Time flies and so do butterflies”. Meditate, people, meditate.
Fashion Diary Pitti W 14
Day 1Back to top
Parmigiani Fleurier and Felice Limosani - LuisaViaRoma
I cannot show you any photos of the show on the river Arno by French company Ilotopie as mine are all blurry. It was a great evening, organised to kick off the celebrations for 60 Years of Firenze Hometown of Fashion. I was thoroughly enchanted: the new lights on the Ponte Vecchio bridge offered by UniCredit provoked a tremendous "Ohhh", but what I loved most was seeing the banks of the river packed with people who, perhaps, had nothing to do with fashion. Super!
"Il mondo chiede bellezza e c'è fame di Italia nel mondo"
“The world needs beauty and has a great appetite for Italy”. So went the words of Italian Premier Matteo Renzi during the opening press conference for the 86th Pitti Uomo. Love him or loathe him, what he said is quite true.
Cashmere tricot dipinto a mano
A hand painted T-shirt in pure cashmere. Invented by Aragona More Ply Cashmere and with a fantastic feel on your skin. More expensive than your average T-shirt, of course, but well worth the money, I think.
She is 43, but she looks ten years younger. Her name is Soo Jung Cha, who founded the Suzanne Susceptible range in Milan in 2011 and won Who's on Next, the Vogue Italia and AltaRoma award for up-and-coming talent, in 2012. I adored the capsule collection she presented at Pitti W, also for the story behind it. "I drew inspiration from my first holiday as an adult in my country, Korea. I was at a place by a river ad I found myself for the first time before these groups of men playing cards and drinking wine. I was struck, shocked even, by those images. They made me grow up a lot. Here, I have recreated the symbols of the cards in the innocence of female silhouettes, using the typical fabric of men’s shirts". Well done Soo Jung Cha (whose name I am writing in full as I’m not sure which part is her first name and which is her surname ^_^)
The co-editor in chief, Antonella Bussi, always tells me off when I arrive at the office wearing socks, which she claims kill femininity. Who know, with these ones by Alto Milano, I may be able to change her mind? I want the metallic cornflower blue ones at all costs, as they’d go marvellously with my fave pair of tan-coloured sandals.
day 2Back to top
A project I already know about and whose cause I continue to support.
A bag made of plastic, yes, but extremely lightweight plastic, woven and with a rubber bottom. It is made by Infra, the brand launched by Ingrid Wesch, Francesca Dal Farra and Sibylle Righetti.
She’s half Japanese and half Canadian, but is presenting her eponymous collection in Paris. Her name is Zoe Lee and she loves to work with different materials. Come to me, oh two-tone shoes with fringe, you’d look stunning with my 1950s skirts.
If you ever happen to wear a creation by Benedetta Cateni and someone tells you that “it’s a poo”, just reply that it is, in fact, a Monster’s Poo. Benedetta graduated two days ago from Polimoda, applied to the Pitti W selection panel just for fun, and here she is, showing her highly intruiging prototypes. She took inspiration from the monsters (and their excrement, lol!) by the artist Juan Carlos Paz Bakea and from the check patterns used by the women of the Herero tribe, which, by tradition, could take the clothes of the defeated tribe when they won a battle. So funny!
Anna K Fashion Circus
The brand comes from the Ukraine and is a fun mix of tongue-in-cheek. Besides the sweatshirts and tees inspired by film titles (Working Girl, for instance) or by typical fashionista phrases (Front Row Only), the striped shirt with a short front and long back, creating a bizarre tailcoat effect, is absolutely delicious.
They are by no means sexy, but I think we will be seeing a lot of Bernie Mev’s shoes around, judging from the long line of buyers waiting to place an order. The brand is Australian and has developed a series of ultra-light footwear, which can be slipped on and off in a jiffy thanks to its high-tech woven upper and the inner sole that recalls the memory effect of certain mattresses. Then there’s the price, retailing at less than 100 euros. Definitely on my wish list, though I do fear the granny effect they will have on my ankles.
Maxi stoles, measuring 140x140 or 140x200. Cinzia Galeotti presents her first collection, which she intends to retail at between 120 and 150 euros. Her exclusive prints, all inspired by the world of birds, are delicate and evocative.
I was daydreaming when I turned the corner and found myself in front of the Baptistery in Piazza San Giovanni all "Puccified". How trippy!!! (an expression that shows my age, but hits the nail on the head)
Day 3Back to top
N2 – Bijoux Créatifs
My eccentric streak has slightly waned over the years, but not in jewellery. I like to team a bizarre piece with a simple outfit and these ones by N2 are perfect for just that. They come from Paris and are super kawaii with cute themes like Chinese Shadows, Alice in Wonderland, Tropicana and Ballerina.
A fun single-product line, Steve J. is an Italian brand that produces one bag model with either leather shoulder strap or chain and animated with vintage photo images (by photographer Steve J. in fact) and stylised patterns (pipes, cats). By no means a new idea, but the result works a treat.
Voyage by Mimonet
A Nigerian brand, working mainly with silk. While there’s room for improvement in the manufacturing, there is one thing African fashion people have that should really set the trend: a smile. Sweet and sincere.
A project made in Apulia. The designer is Giacomo Giovinazzo, owner of I Cinque Fiori boutique, in the province of Bari. Specialised in knitwear with strong colours, he debuted in 2013, but is already carried in top stores throughout Italy. I really liked the “compact” consistency of the garments.
From Canada, but living in Italy since 1998, she has always had a penchant for men’s shirts, and thus decided to create a women’s brand entirely based on shirt fabrics. Her garments look like skirt and shirt suits, but are actually all-in-ones. Unusual use of patterned fabrics worn wrong side out to show the embroidery threads. N.B. The outfit on the dummy is topped off by a mega choker by Caterina Mariani.
Colourful, bold, cheerful jewellery. Caterina began in 2007 by making all of her models by hand in her small workshop in Florence. Now, they are made by two, still completely by hand. Retail prices range from 150 euros up.
I’ve had a thing about clogs since I was a little girl. These ones are delicious, and feminine, thanks to their slender silhouette and fresh colours. From Sweden, they retail at between 97 and 220 euros, and I have discovered, chatting to the charming Elena who handles the brand’s Italian market, that they are faves of Sarah Jessica Parker and Kylie Minogue.
From the Netherlands with love. A lingerie brand (with a small swimwear section) conceived as a section in a boutique. Produced in Turkey and China using Italian fabrics, it debuted in Paris in 2013. The price of a set comes to about 70 euro retail. Though I couldn’t wear one due to my excessive curves, it would look delicious peeping out from under a white blouse in summer.
Day 4Back to top
Ethno-chic as only God commands. Designed by the former owner of Antik Batik, by creating a complete collection where typical patterns and shapes are revamped with ultra-light fabrics and little adjustments to the figure, culminating in a wonderful bohemian effect. The ultra décor clutches are divine.
Alcozer e J.
A Florentine jewellery workshop with an extravagant flavour and careful workmanship. While certain pieces are not quite my cup of tea, the product is definitely valid, particularly for its price quality ratio. And I love the animal themed pieces.
La Notte dei Modivori
The Odeon cinema is one of my favourite places in Florence. Every time I’m in the city, I try to go and see at least one film there, so I simply couldn’t miss The Night of the Fashionivores. Apart from the fabulous location, it was highly educational to learn about the dynamics of fashion in the days of the Sala Bianca. I had never seen that footage and found it most interesting because it helps to go beyond the set ideas of bygone fashion shows. Cult moments included an interview with the Sala Bianca security man, who explains how he would monitor the public so that no photographs were taken nor sketches made of the models (if only he knew what awaited him with the advent of the smartphone) and recalls sending away a man who was hiding a photographic lens in the middle of his buttonhole. Another epoch-making moment: the duet between Walter Chiari and Emilio Schuberth.
Antica Merceria Quercioli e Lucherini
They are not exhibiting at Pitti, but I am including them as one of my heroes of this 86th edition. It is a haberdashery opened in 1895, situated right behind Piazza della Repubblica, which saved my bacon. Having frozen to death at Brunello Cucinelli’s spectacular dinner at Giardino Torrigiani, I went looking for a vest to wear strategically under my dress for the upcoming Ermanno Scervino dinner at Forte Belvedere (what a sight, Florence at sunset!!!). I explained my situation and how I didn’t want to spend an ungodly sum since I already have some very nice vests at home. I expected a reply like: “Well then, you’d better go to the market”, but instead they treated me like I was a Hapsburg princess about to purchase a diamond. Result: I got back to the hotel with a super product which I’d like to tell you about. It’s called Oscalito and it’s a Turin-based knitwear factory open since 1936 that makes these vests in top quality styles. Oh, and I almost forgot, Quercioli and Lucherini even gave me a discount, without being asked: “Given the emergency situation”. Stuck-up shop assistants of Montenapoleone, you could learn something new here...