The 67th edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo, the international menswear apparel trade show held in Florence in January 12-15, closed with positive results. The general atmosphere was optimistic and lively and the number of visitors significantly increased.

The number of insiders visiting the Florentine show increased 7% compared with the January 2004 edition. A growth was registered both among foreign visitors (+9%) and Italian ones (+6%). Among foreign countries, two new markets, China and Russia, had a significant presence. There were 59% more visitors from China and 35% more visitors from Russia compared to January 2004.

Denim über alles
Denim dominated the scene for the appearance of a/w 2005-06 collections. Almost every young apparel brand is offering jeanswear, but also more traditional menswear collections are including denim – aged, broken or patched as HENRY COTTON’S did. Among younger brands, RIFLE, now in the midst of an international relaunch, presented Garyb Super Rifle Popular Blue, a new denim pants collection inspired by Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian historical hero of the 1850s who may have worn jeans – and provided inspiration for future apparel - when he met a still unknown Levi Strauss in New York.

Almost every jeanswear brand offered denim blazers both clean and unwashed or aged, or cut and rebuilt in new ways (LEE, WRANGLER, LEVI’S, ETIENNE OZEKI, GAS AND G-STAR). JEANSENG, a new street-inspired jeanswear collection, offered a series of comfortable pants with back pockets strongly decorated with reggae, hip-hop and other funky face design embroidered decoration.

Contrasts seem to be trendy for jeanswear next winter: SEAL KAY adds turquoise decorations inside and outside its pants; BY, named after WRANGLER’s most significant colors (blue and bellow) is the newest jeanswear collection by the US brand. It likes to play with visible yellow edgings - inside and outside garments. Also 55DSL plays with contrasts by joking with security-wear, funky edgings and color mixes.

Luxury denim was also presented during one of Pitti’s night events. ERMANNO SCERVINO celebrated the international debut of his menswear collection by offering a strongly refined and decorated jeanswear and casual chic menswear line.

Girbaud’s "Florence" denim
Denim will continue to be one of Pitti’s protagonists for the June 2005 edition. In fact, for this last edition, MARITHÉ & FRANCOIS GIRBAUD prepared a special denim carpet that was tread upon by visitors in the central outside walking area of the fair. The carpet measures 3.4 meters x 20 meters. It will now be exposed to Florence air, sun and washed in the local Arno river for the next six months. At the June 2005 edition, it will be presented as an experimental example of the new "Florence Washed" treatment inside the exhibition that will celebrate Marithé & Francois Girbaud’s 40th anniversary. This exhibition will probably to be held at the Stazione Leopolda.

Activewear gets casual
Active-inspired apparel also focused on jeans. PIRELLI PZERO, for instance, presented a jean that was especially treated in order to be cold and water-resistant. Their appearance is the same of a pair of normal jeans but comfortable enough for skiing. The brand also offered sweatshirts that are padded with goose down and shearling. This way these garments are as lightweight and packable as sweats, but as protective and warm as outer jackets. THE NORTH FACE also focused on protection. It launched a thermo-sealed jacket with an inside protective airbag. Color is cool
Color played a significant role within the fair’s overall optimistic mood. 40 WEFT presented various brightly colored chino pants, as did Dockers, which focused on yellow, hearth and red. BOMB BOOGIE launched a wide series of pink, light blue and lively colored leather bomber jackets. MASON’S launched casual pants treated with special colors that can be fixed at lower temperatures than usual. And DDP marked a new step by offering a more elaborate and trendier series of garments – both for men and women.

Despite the general mood, Yohji Yamamoto, special guest of Pitti for this edition, didn’t show any particular enthusiasm for bright hues. With the aim to promote his second collection Y’s, he focused mostly on black, white and grays and on alternative silhouettes and asymmetries. In his search for new dressing codes he explained what he is now after: "This is what I’m trying to do. Finding a new way to dress working people who don’t want to wear business suits. We have to leave old schemes and find dressing styles that can be informal and elegant at the same time."

Yamamoto, who is always trying to experiment new creative paths, showed in Florence his first retrospective exhibition, "Correspondences." It presented 80 of his most beautiful creations inside a contemporary art museum. He added that innovation is also his approach to seductiveness: "Seduction is the air that circulates between body and garments." This idea clearly stands out at the exhibition, which remains in Florence through March 6. After that, it will move to the Musée de la Mode et du Textile du Louvre in Paris, where it will run from April 12 to August 28.

– Maria Cristina Pavarini