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April 20 2014

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The Latest From Pitti: Less Is More

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The economic news from Italy, Pitti Immagine’s ambassadors admitted at a diplomatic lunch mission today, is not good. But they contend they have every reason to be sanguine. The biannual Pitti trade fairs—menswear Pitti Uomo, womenswear Pitti W, children’s Pitti Bimbi, and the textile fair Pitti Filati—draw a more international crowd season after season; for the 83rd fair, to be held January 8-11 of next year, a full 40 percent of the vendors are international.

The big news so far has been the invited guests: Kenzo, which will present the Fall ’13 menswear collection, and Maison Kitsuné, which will stage its first ever show for women’s pre-collection. At lunch, Kenzo designer Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (left) professed their gratitude for the Pitti invitation, even if accepting it means their hectic international schedules, overseeing Kenzo and Opening Ceremony, became that much more hectic. (Leon estimated that he is now on a plane once every five days, with key stops in Florence, Tokyo, Paris, and L.A.) But in their way, Leon and Lim are shaking up the Pitti orthodoxies: They are, Pitti CEO Raffaello Napoleone said with a gasp, showing during the afternoon instead of the usual evening spot.

Kenzo and Kitsuné both hit a sweet spot a hair below the usual designer price point, which is likely no coincidence. “Smart casual is doing well,” Pitti Chairman Gaetano Marzotto announced in his opening remarks, calling out a bright spot in the market. (And adding, to a mostly tie-less crowd, “Like you are dressed now—you in particular.”) But the main-stage designers won’t be the only ones showing at Pitti. Among the other debuts will be Adidas SLVR, G-Star (which will show its latest collection created in collaboration with industrial designer Marc Newson), the returning Pitti veteran Andrea Pompilio, and the adored Japanese line White Mountaineering.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway.com