“We have made about ten thousand people work in total safety this week - says Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine - and this is the first great result that I want to highlight. The Pitti trade shows were the first among the major international fashion events to reopen. We have been a forerunner and a model. Stazione Leopolda for Pitti Filati, then Fortezza da Basso for Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo, were the physical spaces and at the same time the symbolic places of a restart of fashion. Generally I do not indulge in sentimentality, but if there was a special figure for the days of the fair that end today, it is the combination of desire, need, pleasure to return to confront each other in person, to exchange ideas and comments, even to share the difficulties experienced in the recent past and which are still with us, together with the reaffirmation of an intact love for work through the presentation of the new collections. The data on buyers' participation should be read in this context, where quality, motivation and concentration were the elements most emphasized by the exhibitors themselves”.
While Pitti Filati - from 28 to 30 June - recorded the presence of over 1,700 buyers and professionals (France, Germany and USA among the greatest performances), Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo in the Fortezza (from 30 June to 2 July) reached 6,000 visitors (of which more than 4,000 are buyers), with an overall foreign buyer percentage of just under 30%.
With some surprises. In addition to European countries (Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Greece and Portugal in the lead), buyers arrived from the United States (driven by large department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus), from Canada and Turkey, and also the European representatives of the main department stores and retail groups in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, countries from which it is not yet possible to travel. A limited but extraordinarily significant attendance. The presence of media was also significant: over 700 journalists attended the fairs, of which about 300 from abroad.
“As the fairs gradually got going” says Agostino Poletto, general manager of Pitti Immagine, “the surprise and satisfaction became apparent, not just in terms of the qualitative level of the proposals and exchanges, but also the actual numbers which exceeded expectations. The atmosphere was a mixture of relief, enthusiasm and a desire to react. The exhibitors found clients who were eager and willing to learn more about the products, the buyers had all the time they needed to explore and discover new brands. For the first time we are carrying out an immediate assessment of the whole Pitti week, even though each individual fair had its own specific features. Filati, with all the obvious differences, including the space (at the Leopolda for the first time) and new layouts, seemed to start again from where it had left off; Bimbo presented itself in the guise of a special project, concentrating the proposals in an exclusive layout following the merchandising model of a specialty store; Uomo pinned everything on a strong presence of contemporary classic, sportswear and young designers committed to sustainability and responsibility with a personal and holistic approach”.
“The emotional temperature of the reopening” concludes Napoleone “was combined with a program organized to celebrate the 100th edition of Pitti Uomo which was seen by everyone as a finishing line as well as a new point of departure. We were happy and proud of the attention reserved for us by the Mayor of Florence and the Italian Government on this occasion, including the presence of ministers Giorgetti and Di Maio. The latter embarked on a fact-finding tour of the fair which was particularly welcomed by the exhibitors who were able to talk to him directly. But I am equally happy with the events that contributed to animating the 100th edition: the Sustainable Style project, the exhibition section and catwalk show; the intense and poetic performance of the young South African designer Thebe Magugu; the collaboration with the prestigious LVMH Prize; the live shoots carried out at the Fortezza; the program of meetings and conversations with the support of Unicredit and much more. In short, we have not renounced our strategy, not even this time”.