In April, Pitti Immagine announced that it was postponing the June edition of its Pitti Uomo men’s trade show to the start of September.
However, on Thursday, its board of directors revealed that it will not hold an event until 2021. Pitti Uomo traditionally takes place in January and June in the Italian city of Florence, just prior to Milan Men’s Fashion Week.
This decision was determined by two main factors, Pitti said in a statement. It referred to “insufficient number of confirmations of attendance” as well as the “ongoing state of difficulty” regarding the companies who might normally participate.
This lack of sufficient confirmations, said Claudio Marenzi, president of Pitti Immagine, was an inevitable result of uncertainty regarding quarantine and travel restrictions imposed by various countries.
He added that a “prolonged absence of any certainties regarding non-repayable government and European economic support for taking part in the fairs” was another factor that had affected the decisions of exhibitors.
Now Pitti will concentrate its energies around digital versions of its fairs via the Pitti Connect digital platform which will open to exhibitors and buyers from early July, around the time of Milan and Paris digital fashion weeks, which are replacing their physical incarnations, and run throughout the summer.
“We are confident in our ability to offer companies the service which is capable of meeting their business, promotion and communication requirements, especially in this part of the season,” said Pitti Immagine CEO Raffaello Napoleone. He noted that the Italian Trade Agency was providing “decisive help” on this matter.
Napoleone underlined the fact that the decision had not been impacted by any concerns around sanitation. He stressed heavy investment in “sanitizing and making safe the exhibition spaces” alongside “facilitation agreements” with Florence’s hotel structures.”
With this in mind, he said he was not excluding the possibility of “getting the city started again with autonomous projects or events that are coherent with our policy.”
But what does this mean for September women’s fashion weeks? Despite high profile brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent and Off-White skipping physical shows in their traditional September slots, we’ve been assuming that the physical weeks themselves will still go ahead.
Given the reasons behind Pitti’s further postponement until January, more signs are pointing toward the cancellation of Milan Fashion Week in September.
Designers are working toward the Milan and Paris digital fashion weeks in July. These start July 6 to 8 with Paris couture, with Paris men’s set from July 9 to 13 and Milan men’s set for July 14 to 17.
According to Taylor Tomasi Hill, creative director of new smart shopping app, The Yes, “with a little creative restructuring, a lot of shows and presentations could be replaced by virtual experiences.” However, she still acknowledges that “there are a handful of shows in each city that set the tone for the season,” and hopes that “in an ideal world, those will come back in some form or fashion.”