Pitti Weighs In on the Overcrowded Menswear Calendar-------
“We’ve offered so many olive branches,” Dylan Jones, the editor in chief of British GQ, and chairman of the London Collections: Men, told WWD last week. “[The Italian organizers] seem to be intransigent and don’t appear to be particularly interested in working with London, so we’re just going to go ahead.” His statement was in response to an ongoing scheduling conflict that the newly established London menswear shows, which will run from January 6 through 8, have with Florence’s long-standing menswear fair, Pitti Immagine Uomo, whose eighty-fifth installment is set for January 7 through 10. In an interview with Style.com today, however, Pitti CEO Raffaello Napoleone and director of special events and projects Lapo Cianchi argue that they’ve been more than cooperative. “We have had very good conversations with [British Fashion Council chairman] Caroline Rush,” offered Napoleone. “And we are totally open to finding a balance and solution to this situation.”
The concern on both parties’ ends is that, due to the current two-day overlap, editors and buyers will have to choose one fair over the other, and will miss key events in either city. Burberry, for instance, will present its Fall ’14 menswear lineup at 2 p.m. in London on January 7. Meanwhile, Diesel Black Gold—Pitti 85′s guest brand—is meant to hold its Fall ’14 show in Florence later that evening. Pitti’s (rather opulent) answer this time around is to charter a plane and fly about fifty editors to Florence immediately following the Burberry show.
The problem ends up involving all four major menswear cities: If Pitti were pushed back to accommodate London, Milan and Paris would have to alter their calendars as well. According to Napoleone, the Pitti team proposed a fix, to which Milan and Paris are reportedly not opposed: London would always run from January 6 through 8, Pitti would begin on the 8th, Milan on the 12th, and so on. “We’d have to show on the weekend, which is not exactly what we feel would be best for our clients or exhibitors,” expressed Napoleone, noting that while there would still be a one-day overlap, it was at least an improvement. “But as the French say, faute de mieux—if there are no other solutions, you have to accept it. The last time I was in London with Dylan and Caroline, I left them this very fair proposal, and we didn’t receive any answer.” As for why Pitti didn’t just concede to start on January 8 this season, Napoleone said, “The seventh was decided with Milan and Paris two years ago, before the new London fashion week had started.”
Napoleone insists that he has “no idea” what inspired Jones’ comment. “Dylan Jones is a supporter of Pitti. He always attends,” said Cianchi. “The real olive branch in this story is that every city is open to renouncing something. We are completely open,” Napoleone added.