Pitti Uomo’s revamped ‘Make’ section charms visitors with Wunderkammer experience
For a trade show to be successful, the key ingredients are novelty content, comfort and originality. This is the lesson that can be drawn from the latest Pitti Uomo, whose 94th edition is ending on Friday. The benchmark menswear show, now increasingly a lifestyle event, offered convincing evidence of this, as some of its redesigned sections proved to be a resounding success.
Pitti Uomo’s new ‘I Go Out’ section dedicated to outerwear, immersed in vegetation and in a nature-inspired setting, drew a crowd. Equally popular was the ‘Make’ section, since 2016 the showcase for contemporary luxury artisans, hosted within an entirely redesigned pavilion with a new, highly original décor.
To best promote luxury craftsmanship, the show organisers devised something like a Wunderkammer full of contemporary curios. ‘Make’ is located at one end of the trade show, in the Rondino pavilion, which was made-over by designers Angelo Figus and Alessandro Moradei, its façade covered in glittering metal spheres easily glimpsed from afar.
Once inside the pavilion, visitors find themselves in a cosy, sophisticated and slightly surrealist ambience. On the floor, a white carpeting with printed, bestiary-style animal designs traces the route visitors should follow from one stand to the next. The stands themselves, fenced in by red carpeting, are separated by thin, very low white walls, giving visitors an overall view of the pavilion as soon as they enter.
In the middle of the pavilion, a huge set of cleverly lit bookshelves showcases the exhibitors’ products. The latter are an eclectic, international selection: among them, from France, leather goods by Le Feuillet, hats by milliner Chapal and men’s shirts by Bourrienne; from Belgium, ties by Comme Les Loups; from the UK, attractive, minimalistic handbags by Nosakhari and footwear by Casablanca 1942, designed by Gabriela Ligenza, who runs the label with her husband Jean-Jacques Lassabe.
The latter was clearly enthusiastic. “Previously, there wasn’t as much visibility. Now, you have room to breathe. People enjoy browsing. They take pictures, because the venue is attractive, ideal for buyers. This kind of décor is also a smart way of repositioning our artisanal products, with their rather traditional look, within a contemporary setting. It's more effective,” said Lassabe.
“These new projects were spawned by the need to keep pace with the market, which is changing at an increasingly faster rate. We decided to work on the layout of some of the [show’s] sections so that the décor would become an integral part of the products’ presentation. The result is very experiential and it is much appreciated. It’s what people are looking for nowadays, and we will continue to move in this direction,” said the CEO of Pitti Immagine, Raffaello Napoleone, talking to FashionNetwork.com.
“It's also a way of giving retailers tips on how they could display the products,” said Pitti Immagine President Claudio Marenzi. “What’s amazing is that this caught the attention of exhibitors in other sections too. Previously, they didn’t want us to make any changes, but now they too are demanding a new setting! It’s both an opportunity and a stimulus, forcing us to come up with new ideas,” said Raffaello Napoleone.
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