Pitti Uomo is undoubtedly one of the most famous and largest fairs of menswear, where one can see the crème de la crème of men’s fashion. As one of my female colleagues put it, “I feel like a man on the beach,” which might be the funniest thing I ever heard about Pitti. In all seriousness, the fair boasts quite the numbers—there are 1,050 participants and more than 7,000 buyers, from all over the world, searching for new talent and appreciating the efforts of the industry’s behemoths.
The scope of the whole event is unbelievably huge, but each of its special projects is treated with great attention. Hence, Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s first N°21 menswear show was held in a historical building of the National Library. Technically, it is a “second debut” for Dell’Acqua at Pitti: Back in 1998, he presented his first eponymous women’s collection there, designed under his own name. Following the DNA of his womenswear collections, N°21 for men is all about the details: smart layering, glittery motifs, and an accurate choice of colors.
There were numerous special events at Pitti this time: Armani protégé Stella Jean’s menswear show, Barbara Casasola’s “menswear for women capsule collection,” and the much anticipated and widely promoted Diesel Black Gold show. Alone stands Pitti’s Guest Nation project, which is dedicated to the talents from different countries across the globe: Previous editions welcomed the best designers from Japan, Turkey, and Denmark, and this season was marked by the participation of designers from Ukraine. Seven popular Ukrainian designers—Anna K, Omelya Atelier, Ksenia Schnaider, Yasya Minochkina, Anna October, Paskal, and Sasha Kanevski (the only one among them with a men’s collection)—all were part of the Guest Nation: Ukraine project, which is curated by Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days.
One of the best reviews (by Eugene Rabkin) among the hundreds of items from international press about the Ukrainian showcase came from Diane Pernet’s Web site: “These young designers—all in their twenties and one only 18 (Anna K)—presented diverse collections that were quirky and interesting, and without the hint of national costume, as some previous guest nations have done. It was refreshing to see the Ukrainians stay away from catering to the Western stereotypes.” Moreover, all seven designer were invited to the world famous Florentine store Luisaviaroma, where they were greeted by owner Andrea Panconesi and his team of buyers. As a show of support, Panconesi gave the designers some words of advice, and even shared a few of the secrets behind Luisaviaroma’s global success.
The thing to add? Apart from the media frenzy, some orders from buyers were placed. Taking into consideration the fact that the season has just begun, the result couldn’t be better.
The designers of Guest Nation: Ukraine.
Photos: Courtesy of Daria Shapovalova