The 71st edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo (, the international menswear fair, closed its doors on January 13 with encouraging results. The Florentine trade show attracted a total of 26,316 buyers and had a slight increase in foreign visitors (there were 9,690 foreigners at this one while the January 2006 edition drew 9,613). In general, this was a positive sign given the overall difficult market situation.

Among foreign visitors there was a strong increase in buyers from Russia (+30%) and Eastern Europe, China (+11%), Hong Kong (+17.6%) and India (+58%). In addition, Japan (+4.7%) with its over 1,100 buyers has become the strongest foreign market for Pitti. The number of buyers from traditional markets such as Germany, the US, Great Britain, France and Spain indicatively remained stable.

The number of Italian buyers – there were 16,626 of them in attendance, 7% less than in 2006 – has slightly decreased because of the ongoing sales season and the overall restructuring happening in Italy. Between 2005 and 2006, the number of Italian buyers at the show has dropped by 10%.

The event featured two new pavilions, Welcome to my House and Touch!, inside the historical walls of the Fortezza da Basso.

The former moved from its previously offsite location at the Stazione Leopolda. In the process, it lost some of its streetwear edge but gained a more sporty-chic attitude. Its exhibitors included Illegitimate, which showed bags and knitted tops with bicycle and motorbike prints, Dangerous Work, which showed tops with innovative print motifs that mix together Arab decorations and street tags, and Crescent Down Works, a line of “made in Seattle” down jackets that mixes camouflage and colored parts.

Touch presented an innovative mix of brands including street-chic Fred Perry by Swear; a series of seven shirts by Einsvonsieben; 24/7, high-research menswear line with embroideries and unique decorations; and Hope for Men, an eccentric line of geometric-shaped sneakers with iridescent velvet uppers designed by Emma Hope, who is known for her fairy-tale style women’s shoes.

The general fashion trend at the show moved toward cleaner styles and fresh takes on tailor-made menswear elements. Exté mixed dark and almost unwashed jeans with evening jackets. Sartoria Tramarossa, a new jeans project, offered seven jeans – one for each day of the week – mostly made with Japanese denim and carefully detailed. Cycle reinvented some tailor-made wardrobe pieces but also mixed them with rustic hand and jeans made with rough Rwanda cotton.

Lapo Elkann, the former marketing manager of Fiat, launched his new eyewear line I-I, Italian Independent, at the show. Highly exclusive, each pair of glasses must be ordered in advance and costs 1,007 Euro.

Another launch was Dockers’ introduction of its new fit D-0, a new and more body-enhancing variation of the chino. It will be sold throughout Europe.

Pitti also featured several special events. In addition to the opening of a new Gas flagship store and an accompanying fashion show, Florence hosted “The London Cut,” an exhibition of outstanding Savile Row bespoke tailoring throughout the centuries. A very exclusive dinner party celebrating the exhibition was held inside the historic and gorgeous Palazzo Corsini. Each guest – women included – was asked to wear a dinner jacket or a personal interpretation of these elegant styles.

Despite some controversy raised by Italian menswear manufacturers about spotlighting British menswear makers at the show, Pitti Uomo said wanted to celebrate the exclusive craftsmanship that characterizes British – and Italian – tailoring as opposed to the widespread mass-produced, low-end products made in the East. Vive la difference!

— Maria Cristina Pavarini, Senior Features Editor