STORY

AN EVOLUTION - SEEKING
EXPERIENCE.

An outburst of vision, Pitti Immagine is an ever-expanding, multicultural story. From the Sala Bianca it grows into an experimental station. A unique fashion show transforms into seven dimensions. An all-Italian perspective takes on an international attitude. With every new experience it pushes beyond to deliver what’s next.

CUT IN CULTURE, IN FLORENCE

Pitti Immagine is the only cutting-edge collection of trade fairs born in art. The striking yesterdayness of Stazione Leopolda, Fortezza da Basso, Dogana on Via Valfonda, Villa Vittoria and Palazzo degli Affari enhances every Pitti Immagine experience.

THE TIMELINE

Prologue
In 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

Florence sanctions Italian fashion
A 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

the first runway show
On 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

The heyday of the Sala Bianca
From 1952 to 1982, the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti was the stage for memorable fashion shows thanks to which Italian fashion become a worldwide phenomenon in terms of business and image. Palazzo Pitti became synonymous with contemporary culture and fashion.

The Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana
The 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

The ‘Sixties: fashion makes a move
The ways in which Fashion was conceived and represented changed in the light of the 1968 student uprising in Europe. Competition between cities and fashion designers transformed the map once again: the representatives of High Fashion moved towards Paris and Rome, whilst Florence attracted the new names in informal creativity.

Giorgini Leaves CFMI
After having supported the birth of Italian High Fashion and contributed to the establishment of CFMI, Giorgini resigned from the organization in 1965.

Tancredi Takes Over as President
In 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.

Pitti and the European Fashion Industry
The 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.

The First edition of Pitti Uomo!
The 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.

L'esordio di Pitti Bimbo
A 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!

Pitti Filati an Avant-Garde concept
The 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.

Pitti Casa
1978 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.

a decade of change
The 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.

CFMI creates Centro Moda
In 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 

the fairs are managed by businessmen
Another 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.

the Birth of Pitti Immagine
Centro Moda acquired a new name and new identity, becoming Pitti Immagine. Rivetti’s keywords were: services, internationalization, opening up to contemporary phenomena, events,  fashion culture and communication.

cambi di guardia
Vittorio 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.

The ‘Nineties: a new type of trade fair for Pitti
The end of the second millennium, was a period of acceleration for Pitti Immagine as well. A new type of trade fair became established in Florence that proved an immediate winner because of the selection of the proposals, the variety of the collections, as well as the innovative and integrated marketing and communication strategies adopted.

CFMI’s wide ranging strategy
CFMI diversified and then specialized, actively participating in events supporting fashion: from fairs to major cultural events (Biennale di Firenze), education (Polimoda) foreign fairs (Ente Moda Italia) and publishing (Edifir).

Venues and communication 
The Fortezza da Basso was transformed through new structures and careful restoration work: a modern trade fair/exhibition center where Renaissance walls, eighteenth century buildings and high-tech pavilions complemented each other.  The Stazione Leopolda was also opened, and hosted spectacular communication events.

Stabilization 
Italian fashion confirmed Milan as the place for the women’s garment industry and designer collections, with High Fashion in Rome and men’s fashions and the rest of the textile –clothing industry in Florence, which became the new capital of “the culture of fashion”.

The Big names of the decade
Marco Rivetti’s authoritative persona and entrepreneurial foresight made Pitti Immagine the world leader, a position that was further strengthened when Mario Boselli took office as president in 1995. The communication projects were inspired by Luigi Settembrini.

evolving lifestyle frontiers
This 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.

Ownership and operating companies 
The strategic alliance between Florence and Milan led to the establishment of Intesa Moda and the cross participations of CFMI and Sistema Moda Italia in their respective fair companies, Pitti Immagine and Efima. Under the direction of Alfredo Canessa, the new president of the Florentine holding company.

Stazione Leopolda Srl
2001 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. 

A president for the new Millennium
Pitti Immagine has a new president, its third: Gaetano Marzotto, an exponent of one of the most important families in the European textiles-clothing industry.

Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery
In 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”.

Fragranze
The 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.

Touch!, NeoZone and Cloudnine
In 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. 

TASTE. In viaggio con le diversità del gusto
Taste. In viaggio con le diversità del gusto – Traveling with Diversities in Taste - made its debut in 2006. Each year this fair goes looking for excellence in Italian wines and foods offering tasting sessions, panel discussions and a rich program of events that focus on tastes and quality foods. The fair joins hands with the Guida ai Ristoranti d’Italia de L’Espresso that was presented for the first time in 2006 by L’espresso and Pitti Immagine.

Changes and New Horizons
The new millennium has also brought new events: Pitti­_W-Woman Precollection, the trade-fair/event dedicated to precollections, a privileged channel for launching innovative projects and brands; and Vintage Selection, the fair dedicated to vintage clothing, accessories and design items that has quickly become the European reference for the entire vintage market.

The Future is Now
Alberto 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.

Pitti enters the virtual world
Fiera 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.

The new Pitti Immagine digital presence
Pitti 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.

MODAPRIMA in Florence
Modaprima – 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.

Stefano Ricci is the new President of the CFMI
Stefano 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.

SUPER fashion
Super 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.

Pitti Immagine gets SMART
Pitti 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.

Andrea Cavicchi is the new President of the CFMI
In 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.

Claudio Marenzi is the new President of Pitti Immagine
Pitti Immagine has a new president, its fourth: Claudio Marenzi, President and CEO of Herno s.p.a., former Vice President of Pitti Immagine and of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, President of Sistema Moda Italia, later part of Confindustria Moda.

CFMI appoints new President
In June 2018, Antonella Mansi, Vice President of Confindustria and a board member of Nuova Solmine s.p.a., was appointed President of the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana. 

Marenzi is confirmed President of Pitti Immagine
In February, Claudio Marenzi, President and CEO of Herno s.p.a., President of Confindustria Moda and President of Pitti Immagine since 2017, was confirmed to the Presidency for the 2020-22 three-year period.