Italian Elegance Begins Here

Fashion represents Italy’s country, economy and creative spirit. This week in Florence is just an example of how wonderful is can be. My city, (yes, Florence feels like home now) is the most stylish city in the world right now. More than usual, because this fascinating and culturally rich city is hosting Pitti Immagine Uomo 88 and just ended the Luisa via Roma, Firenze4Ever event.

At the Fortezza da Basso, the space for the grand Tradeshow, 1178 brands are showcasing their collections with the theme Pitti Colour! Pitti Immagine Uomo is the key, international trade event showcasing men’s fashions and contemporary lifestyle trends, which is held twice a year in Florence. Pitti Uomo reinforces its role as a global platform for major names and international fashion groups that choose Florence as the place to launch new projects and new developments. This is particularly crucial to the little-known brands that rely on Pitti Uomo as the base to establishing their identities and generating business.

Pitti Uomo has been the evolution of contemporary style for years, but this edition has made a global impact, the ‘Pitti man’ is instantly recognizable. At Pitti Uomo, groups of men are seen being comfortably fashionable and dandy. The attitude of men and fashion has really changed. Men are seen in suits, of different materials and prints; stripes, check, all sharply dressed, wearing a suit to showcase their body. Italian fashion journalist Angelo Flaccavento says ‘They might be peacocks, but they are still men in the way they behave, move, pose.”

It is all really the Italian way of dressing. Buttoned-up, tailored, soft-shouldered suiting and bracelets. Yes, there is nothing wrong with men wearing bracelets. It’s the modern dandy. Although they are suited, men are trying to express themselves. They want their picture taken, as they know the power of online street style images; if a picture is taken, it can turn into a publication or a blog, it can turn into money ad jobs. Street style is more penetrating. Shot on the street in natural light, the photos are rougher and easier to emulate, at the same time always trying to seduce women.

Hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and event locations, even my office are hosting events for press, buyers and exclusive members of the fashion industry. Where most events are invitation only entries, one can definitely get a feel of this biannual, an elite event with the view of stylish men walking around the city and stores buzzing more than usual.

Aperitivo Metropolitan Open Air “The Sound of the Season” Event for Pitti Uomo at the Giardino della Gheradesca

The first day of Pitti Uomo was the last day for Luisa via Roma’s event, Firenze4Ever. Firenze4Ever is a three day event hosted by Luisa via Roma for the best and most influential international fashion bloggers, inviting them to Florence to get dressed in the Style Lab at the store and be shot for their blogs in various locations around the city. In this way promoting Luisa via Roma, therefore Italian fashion worldwide. Andrea Panconesi, the CEO of Luisa Via Roma, is one of the pioneers responsible for making Florence a fashion destination. Panconesi always emphasizes the special role Florence plays in all of his initiatives; “Out first summit was hosted in Palazzo Vecchio, so together with the mayor of the city, we would like the whole region of Toscana to be involved in our event.”

The Foundation of Fashion in Florence

Before Milan ever entered the fashion area, Florence dictated national dress codes and tastes and continues to mark itself as international style capital.

Walking around town draws attention to how one is dressed: it’s an ode to the quality of craftsmanship and the eye of wearing different styled jewellery. With the fashion industry becoming ever more democratized through scores of street-style blogging, live streaming of runway shows and accessible designers of social media, the know how of dressing and styling has really evolved.

Count Giovanni Battista Giorgini staged a series of catwalk presentations of Made in Italy Haute Couture in 1950s, first in his historical mansion, later in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti. The immediate critical and commercial success of these shows, helped raise the creativity of houses such as Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Emilio Pucci, launch their businesses in Florence. Italian artisans, therefore flourished by producing attire and fabrics so refined and opulent that Italy established itself as producer of luxury garments to an international clientele.

This year, Florence also hosted the first Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, curated by International VOGUE editor Suzy Menkes. Speakers from top fashion businesses such as Karl Largerfeld, Tory Burch, Roberto Cavalli, Alber Elbaz, Marigay McKee, president of Saks Fifth Avenue, Antoine Arnault, CEO of Berluti and David Lauren, executive vice president of the Ralph Lauren Corporation.

“The Condé Nast International Luxury Conference will go to a different country each year. But Florence is such a great example of past, present and future. Never forget that these noble Renaissance buildings we look at were once the avant-garde of architecture. I want our delegates to sit in the Palazzo Vecchio, where we are honoured to hold this conference and reflect on the enduring elements of true luxury, as opposed to the fleeting world of fast fashion.”

This was the strongest fashion event to occur between the spring and autumn shows, which strengthened Florence’s role in the fashion industry. Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine, had this vision of how Florence could build a powerful marketing sales business while other capitals were focused entirely on shows. Then Pitti introduced show opportunities, providing space and time for upcoming designers, not just from Italy, but internationally as well.

Florence is also the birthplace of several luxury powerhouses including Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci. Aquazzura’s founder and creative director, Egardo Osorio, recently opened his first stand-alone store in the Palazzo Corsini. “Here you feel the energy like in no other fashion capital. Florence is charming, cozy, beautiful, inspiring-it has so many great places to go to and so many unique things to see that you won’t find anywhere else!”

With events such as those hosted in Florence, the city grows in authentic and spontaneous nature in the fashion industry.

Defining Italian Style:

Elegance, Femininity, Mystery, Silhouette, Details. Where fashion and style have no limits and beauty any boundaries, about knowing to bring them together to create a flawless look. Knowing your figure to wear the best cuts to enhance shape and silhouette.

Understated Elegance.

The term “less is more” is what Italian women generally go by. Muted colours and not too obvious jewellery.

Classic Staples.

Although controversial, in the winter it’s all about the fur. Sport elegance way of dressing in the winter also; smart casual trousers, suede or leather boots, thick and heavy cashmere sweaters with cozy wraps. A crisp white shirt, jeans and tan accessories for the summer.

La Bella Figura.

To obtain this, one must go beyond image, visual beauty and presentation. It is defined by behavious; knowing how to properly and graciously interact with one another in any social or public situation. Exhibiting good manners, tact and gentility is an essential component of “obtaining a beautiful figure.”

Anything could happen. Be ready to wear an outfit for the day to the night.

Florence is a capital city of fashion and contemporary lifestyle. Everything is coherent with quality, beauty and the culture of Made in Italy. With events such as Pitti Uomo which helps liberate men’s style and represents dandyism, cities such as Florence in the eyes of the fashion elite around the world creating a growing fashion and cultural city.

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