#SuzyPitti: Technological Culture – Italy’s Minister Creates A New Fusion
Fireworks went off by the river Arno to celebrate 30 years of Pitti Immagine Uomo, the trade show where everyone flocks to Florence to discover the latest menswear trends.
Ferragamo showed its first collection for 2020 in the shadow of the city’s famous and historic statues, while Gucci celebrated its 21st century donation with a water installation in the Boboli Gardens. It was easy, therefore, to see the 30th anniversary of Pitti Immagine Uomo as a celebration of a glorious past.
But making a speech inside the Palazzo Vecchio one of Florence’s most treasured and famous historical buildings, Italy’s Minister of Culture, Alberto Bonisoli, looked ahead – not back.
“Techno culture” was his name for a “multi-polar” Italy where past, present and future came together. Praising the work achieved in his country’s fashion, he spoke of a cultural revolution that had to be passed on to a younger generation.
All over the city, famous fashion houses were facing up to reality. Ferragamo’s presentation was stunning for its setting – allowed by the city because the company had supported the re-installation of the Fountain of Neptune.
The clothes themselves were not flamboyant but remained elegant and sophisticated, yet encompassing new materials, for example, there was the thinnest of leather for one of designer Paul Andrew’s wisp of a jacket. He also played artistically with sweet colours facing off sharp cutting.
“I especially liked the colour,” said CEO Micaela le Divelec Lemmi whose subtle revolution at Ferragamo includes an artistic study of sustainability in the house’s museum. There were none of Marilyn Monroe’s shoes – but striking examples of sustainable thinking.
Gucci, which presented its latest show in May at the Palazzo Nouveau museum in Rome, offered in Florence a two-pronged movement. As well as the focus on the renewed water supply, there was, in the Gucci Garden area, a new exhibition underlining the strong codes of the house over half a century. The subjects covered included ‘Alchemy in Nature,’ ‘Cosmic Colours,’ decorative plumes of feathers – and the different takes on accessories from Tom Ford to current designer Alessandro Michele.
With worldwide challenges, especially from China and its new Silk Road, Italy seems to be embracing the future, rather than fighting it. The enormous trade fair offered space to young and energetic Chinese designers, who were given a generous showcase – even if it is in an underground area which served as a war bunker.
So much of Italian fashion has been built on family businesses, although passing on from one generation to the next seems increasingly difficult in a highly competitive world. So it was good to see, after the fading and failing of the Roberto Cavalli brand, that his son is building a business of his own.
Working under the label RRR, Robert Cavalli used British Punk from his fashion training years in London, his love of nature and wild animals, and a worldwide audience to create what can only be described as a modernist version of his father’s vision.
That proves that for all the seismic changes in Italy, as it embraces high-tech alongside high-art, family can still play a useful part in fashion.