The Italians Fight Back

The Italian trade group Pitti Immagine is none too pleased with the British Fashion Council. Just days after Miuccia Prada’s interview in La Repubblica, in which she warns of a decline in Italian prestige due to an exodus of talent, Pitti issued a press release lambasting the BFC. What was the infraction? The BFC decided to hold the next London men’s collections from January 7 to 9, 2013, two days of which will overlap with the dates already announced (January 8-11, Florence) for the 83rd edition of that daddy of men’s fairs, Pitti Uomo.

The press release states: “Pitti believes this decision offers a distorted view of the competitive context of the top men’s fashion fairs.” Meaning, Italians do it better. For as long as anyone can remember, Pitti Uomo has been the most important of the men’s trade shows, and always with the participation of a high-profile, special-guest men’s designer (i.e. Carven, Thom Browne, RIck Owens, Raf Simons). In effect, as the very first fashion event each spring and fall, Pitti Uomo has kicked off the entire season—men’s and women’s—since forever, and has done so very well, thankyouverymuch.

Pitti CEO Raffaello Napoleone goes on to say, “In what is such a delicate moment for half of the world’s economies, while fashion fair organizers are all working hard to draw up an international calendar that will increase the efficiency and coherence of the work carried out by buyers and journalists and, at the same time, minimize costs, it seems that the board of the BFC is taking none of this into account. I am truly surprised about this as the subject was discussed with the management of the BFC last June and it appeared that the right conditions were in place for a different outcome that would reduce the potential risk of inconveniencing the exhibitors (including a number of excellent British brands), buyers and journalists who usually attend Pitti Uomo.”

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