„The important people are there“ Interview with Lapo Cianci

We met Lapo Cianchi, Director of Communication and Special Events at Pitti Immagine, in Berlin during his press tour of Germany ahead of the next edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence 13th-16th June 2023. The interview took place at the KPM Hotel in Hotel and it included a warm up over a match of table tennis in the hotel’s stylish playroom.

The last time we met was before Covid. Do you still feel the after effects?

Of course, as everyone in this industry. But we are one a good way. We don’t have the number of exhibitors that we used to have before the pandemic hit us but I would say that the glass is half full again. Today we have 825 brands in total that you will able to see next month.

What are some highlights of the upcoming editon?

This year the Pitti Uomo Guest Designer is Eli Russel Linnetz from California. On June 15th he will present the Spring-Summer 2024 collection of his label ERL. He will also sign the installations of the external pavilions of the Fortezza. Our special project is Fendi. He have worked on this for a very long time and we are really proud of this guest. Fendi presents their Spring / Summer 2024 men’s collection on June 15th at the recently inaugurated Fendi Factory in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. But these are just two of many very interesting guests, collections and collaborations.

So there is no tendency toward Pitti Uomo becoming more of an Italian show again because of Covid and the lockdown as it was at the start?

At the very beginning in 1972 Pitti Uomo it was an Italian show. Very quickly Pitti Uomo attracted foreign brands. Now 41 percent of the exhibitors are from abroad and this has been the case in the past 10-15 years. Immediately after the lockdown we missed the companies from Japan. They are crucial for Pitti because they match tradition and avantgarde similar to the Italians. We really missed their freshness. Now they are back which is very important for us. We are very happy that German exhibitors are back too. They seem to have realised that other exhibitions that they tried after Covid didn’t work for them. Germany and France are still the driving markets for our exports. Season after season we are recovering a bit more. The important buyers are there and that is the most important thing for the exhibitors.

What makes Pitti Uomo such a great experience?

Entering the Fortezza da Basso is like entering a real small city devoted to fashion, clothes, garments, accessories and all kinds of other products belonging to this sphere. Behind the things you can find people, people, people. Eating, talking, arguing, eating. It is like a big rendezvous, a flash of a high spirit. Maybe because it is the first official international event of the season. It is the launch of the season so there is the will to meet and see what the others do. You can get an almost complete overview of menswear and men’s lifestyle. For all of this Florence helps. You find almost everything in walking distance. When you are in downtown Florence the interactions goes on but on a different level. It is half business, half leisure.

What is the best way to get the most of your Pitti visit?

Try to spend at least 72 hours in Florence. Try to find a nice quiet place to stay so can taste a bit of the old Florence in the small streets. You can still find it in a few places. There are lots of hotels and b & b places in the center by the way. If you book in advance you will find something that suits you. If you have an Italian friend or a friend from Florence, you can ask him where to eat, where to go out in the evening. When you approach Pitti Uomo it is more difficult. There are so many things to see. You need a plan so you don’t get overwhelmed. We can help buyers and journalists with printed information and our online services. You can plan your complete visit with our App, for example you use it to book your visit to the exhibitors. But leave some time for spontaneity, for new things you discover and ideas that emerge when you meet people. I recommend that you make a schedule for 80 percent of your time and leave 20 percent open. Plan your visit, look at the map of the exhibition like it is the map for an old-fashioned treasure hunt. But leave time to get lost.

What are your personal recommendations for the Pitti in June 2023? Let’s start with a good place to eat. Please be the Italian friend you mentioned who helps us.

There are so many restaurants but if I have to name just one I recommend the trattoria „Trattoria I Due G“ in Via Bernardo Cennini. It is a real family restaurant, not many courses but very good Tuscan and Florentine food. It is close to the Fortezza da Basso and the Stazione Santa Maria Novella.

Which museums?

If you don’t have that much time skip the Uffizi and the Galleria dell’ Accademia. They are wonderful but in high season the might be too crowded. Go to the San Marco museum at Piazza San Marco and spend some time there. It is famous for its collection of paintings by Fra Angelico but there many other painters to see. You should also visit one of the many old churches, for example the Chiesa die Santa Maria del Carmine. I am not a believer but I like to sit in there because I love the meaning of the churches. I just appreciate the huge achievement for our culture that they meant, the community that managed to create these magnificent buildings.

And at Fortezza da Basso?

I recommend the part with the young designers because they are good and they deserve our attention. We have this enclave focused on sustainability and the designers there have a holistic approach. We put a lot of effort to put fashion into a context that we try to arrange and display. Pitti Uomo is physical storytelling.