Monday, January 28, 2008
This year in Florence, Italy, the renowned trade fair for men’s knitwear trends, Pitti Uomo, welcomes its new little sister, Pitti Woman, to the party. The revered Italian fashion event ran from January 9-12 and is produced by Pitti Immagine Group. This year, in a pre-collection showcasing, womenswear was represented with approximately 40 collections for the 2008-2009 fall/winter season.
Pitti Immagine, the parent group of Pitti Uomo and Pitti Woman, is celebrated for uniting fashion, business and creativity through fashion fairs and event productions. This year, Pitti Immagine feted Australian Wool Innovation and marked the 200th year anniversary of the arrival of Merino wool to Europe from Australia.
One of Pitti Immagine’s amazing strengths is showcasing the relationship between consumption, aesthetic and cultural design. The strong bond between communications and marketing is the core of the Pitti Immagine Group’s impetus. Not only is the group incredibly savvy and excited about marketing fashion as a lifestyle rather than a consumptive experience, they are also remarkably philanthropic.
Through the program Protégé, the Australian Wool Innovation matched emerging designers with established fashion royalty, including the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Donatella Versace in a collaborative program. Together the old guard and the new created a collection using Merino wool.
We had the chance to chat with Andreina Longhi, Director at Attila PR who represents AWI for this program.
RunwaytoRetail.com: The protégé program is a great idea. Where did the impetus come from?
Andreina Longhi: I am a regular reader of Mrs. Suzy Menkes articles in the International Herald Tribune and very often my ideas come from there. In this particular case, last year I read an article about designers with the scaring title ‘Who’s next in fashion? No one.’ , and another one on Rei Kawakubo explaining how she was looking after new talents, her protégés. They were both really inspiring: I did a cocktail of the two, and voilà, my project was ready!
RTR: How do your recruit and match up your mentors and mentees?
AL: First of all, we have contacted several master designers, proposing them to be part of this project. Some of them accepted at once, others were not interested. To the first ones, we asked if they had an assistant or a member of their team that could be worth an investment. Francisco Costa from Calvin Klein proposed Julian. Johannis was suggested by the Smith entourage, but never worked with them. For the other masters, I did a choice of good upcoming designers and the masters chose the ones who were closer to their style.
RTR: The program seems to have experienced phenomenal success- what do you attribute that to?
AL: We are all aware that the fashion community is getting older: we have birthday celebrations every day, for 20 to 45 years in the business. You will agree with me that discovering and launching young talents is an important issue for the future of fashion and for an Association like AWI this is the best investment. It means new ideas, new energies and also new businesses.
RTR: What is one must-have piece for the 2008-2009 fall winter season?
AL: An outfit of Sandra Backlund in Merino wool!
Photo Credit: top, Kristian Aadnevick, bottom, Sandra Backlund
Posted by RunwaytoRetail at 3:05 PM