The menswear show Pitti Uomo, June 15-18, 2010 at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence started on a resoundingly optimistic note, with a 13.5% increase in visitors from foreign countries and a 4.3% increase in attendance by domestic professionals from the year before.

Among the foreigners, Germany had the greatest number of representatives, while Spain, Great Britain, the US, Russia, China and Hong Kong, Korea, Turkey, Belgium and Austria all posted double-digit percentage increases in buyer attendance. Japan, France and The Netherlands reported single-digit percentage increases, while Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ukraine, Brazil and Middle East posted more moderate growth.

Riding the same wave of optimism was the highlight of the 78th edition of Pitti, the Jil Sander fashion show. Raf Simons’s new collection was characterized by bright color clashes of plain orange, fuchsia, turquoise and peacock blue, as well as multicolor striped tops and shirts accented with oversized prints of flowers. He also paired hot pants with shirts and blazers in what was overall an outstanding collection.

The opening day of Pitti also saw the debut of C.P. Company under the direction of its new owner Enzo Fusco. Faithful to the brand’s origin, the designer and entrepreneur presented a series of goggle jackets – both historical and newly redesigned ones - at a party inside the Ottagonale building of the fair.

Denim continued to play a significant role in the show. Among the top brands coming back to Pitti were G-Star, which is betting strongly on the Italian market and hoping to open about 40 franchise stores in the next several years to reach a goal of 750 stores. Part of its offer this season was a special G-Star Raw collection, made in Italy with inner adjustable leather belts, handcrafted details and innovative fits. It also offered a compact series of sustainable products made with organic and recycled cotton and nettle fibers.

Levi’s presented its Levi’s Vintage Clothing line of exact replica denim (including yarns and fabrics by Cone White Oak Denim) featuring vintage jeanswear items produced between 1890 and 1966 and made in the US.

Other denim brands making their debut were DNM Brand, a 100% made in Italy denim men’s collection designed by Francesco Sibilio, a jeanswear expert. Also new to the market was GCW, a spin-off denim line by the vintage connoisseur and owner of the new vintage collection The Great China Wall, Alfredo Settimio. Also debuting was Luca Berti’s Le Rock jeans line, following a partnership with Vigoss, the Chinese giant jeans manufacturer. Not new in the market but new to Pitti was Salsa Jeans, the Portuguese jeans line which is set to expand in Italy.

Key trends at the show included colorful polo shirts with double-face collars and multiple patch applications, often college-inspired, such as at Royal Air Force. White Premiata, Onitsuka Tiger, Reebok, Diadora and Voile Blanche all offered sneakers with washed nylon uppers, while Converse and W6YZ featured sneakers with pierced uppers. Also significant were several exclusive collaborations. Dickies, for example, collaborated with Converse on a sneaker with a cotton upper that resembled a workwear boot. It also partnered with Blauer on an iron-free, workwear-inspired trouser.

Guru focused strongly on new marketing initiatives tied to new technologies and multimedia activities. Following an exclusive agreement with Nokia, it created a special application allowing consumers to communicate through codes printed on special “social” T-shirts.

Napapijri unveiled its new s/s 2011 collection featuring special eco-minded collections using vegetable dyes. It also inaugurated a new store concept at Via Porta Rossa 3r that will be rolled out at all future stores. Napapijri CEO Andrea Cannelloni said the company aims to open 29 new stores in Europe in the near future and also tap Canada. “That country is a truly strategic market,” said Cannelloni. “It is an ideal bridge between the European and the US cultures.” He hinted that the brand could be setting its sights again on the US.

Update: Organizers reported officially a 6% increase in the number of visitors and a 12% increase in international attendees at Pitti. Overall, there were 32,000 visitors, 19,200 buyers and 6,900 foreign buyers.

Spain had 16% more buyers this edition, Great Britain 33% more, the USA 13% more and Russia 36% more. Germany had the most buyers with 862, Spain 633, Japan 617, the UK 461, The Netherlands 445 and France 437.

Among the prestigious international retailers in attendance were Turkey’s Beymen, France’s Le Bon Marché, the America’s Neiman Marcus, Japan’s Takashimaya, Spain’s Corleone Company and Lebanon’s Aïshti.