Portugal to be guest of honour at Pitti Uomo 95
After South Korea, Africa, the Ukraine, Turkey, Denmark, Australia, Finland and Georgia, it is now the turn of Portugal to enjoy star status in Florence, as the Iberian country was selected to be guest nation at the next Pitti Uomo menswear show, scheduled from January 8-11, 2019. Portugal is well-known as a go-to European manufacturer of quality apparel and accessories, and in the last few years its design creativity has also blossomed.
“Portugal is becoming increasingly dynamic as a venue for fashion and creativity,” said Lapo Cianchi, in charge of special projects for show organiser Pitti Immagine. The show is staging the initiative through the Pitti Immagine Discovery Foundation, in collaboration with Portuguese international promotion agency Selectiva Moda and its ‘From Portugal’ programme, which enabled local textile companies to exhibit at 85 shows in 35 countries in 15 years.
Eight Portuguese labels were chosen to present their Autumn/Winter 2019-20 collections at the Florentine show’s central pavilion. They are an interesting cross-section of Portugal’s fashion landscape, between emerging labels, artisanal brands and established names like Hugo Costa. The latter was founded in 2010 by the eponymous designer, and usually shows at the Portugal Fashion event in Porto, though it has also presented its collections in London and, for the last few seasons, in Paris too. Hugo Costa’s distinctive trait is the architectural construction of its menswear, with designs hovering between minimalism and street culture.
Nycole, another menswear label showing at Portugal Fashion, was launched in 2015 by young designer Tânia Nicole, with a fresh style that blends classic men’s clothes with sportswear. Caiagua is an emerging label created exactly a year ago, whose speciality is functional, design-driven outerwear with cutting-edge research on details and colours.
Ecolã was instead founded in 1925 in Manteigas, a village perched at a 1,600-metre altitude at the centre of the Serra de Estrela mountain range, in the northern part of the country. It is Portugal’s oldest certified family-owned artisanal workshop, whose expertise in wool manufacturing from shearing to spinning and weaving spans three generations. Ecolã is famous for its ‘burel’ felt, made from the highly resistant fleece of local sheep and used to produce rugs, garments and accessories.
In terms of accessories, the brands chosen for Pitti Uomo 95 include further interesting examples of Portuguese know-how, from emerging eyewear brand Poente to shoes and accessories producer Labuta, with a strong craftsmanship tradition, to socks label WestMister, created in 2016 by Luís Campos and Vanessa Marques, combining local textile expertise with high-quality fabrics and unique, colourful designs.
Finally, the accessories brand Ideal & Co., specialised in leather and canvas handbags and luggage, made using environmentally friendly processes and, as all the products by the other labels involved in the project, 100% sourced in Portugal.
Besides this special focus on Portugal, Pitti Uomo will collaborate again with South Korea, featuring as it did last season a special event for the ‘Concept Korea’ project, backed by the Korean national cultural promotion agency Kocca, which will also enable Korean menswear label Beyond Closet to show for a second time in Florence. Beyond Closet, which defines itself as “classic, with a twist,” was launched in 2008 by self-taught designer Taeyong Ko.
Pitti Uomo will also continue to showcase Japanese fashion, making room for the six finalists of the Tokyo Fashion Award in its ‘Touch!’ section, featuring this season Anei, Cinoh, Jieda, Nobuyuki Matsui, Postelegant and Rainmaker. The show will also feature ‘The Japanese White Leather Project’, again within Touch!, presenting the collections of four labels specialised in the thousand-year-old white leather technique practised in Himeji, in Japan’s central Kansai region: Ed Robert Judson by Satoshi Ezaki, Kozaburo by Kozaburo Akasaka, Mary Al Terna by Ryuki Yamaka, and Midorikawa Ryo by Ryo Midorikawa.
Finally, the ‘Scandinavian Manifesto’ section, first introduced last June, will again feature at the show. It is a collaboration with Danish show Revolver, highlighting a new group of 15 Scandinavian labels, some of them established and some newcomers: Forét, Henrik Vibskov, Hope, Klättermusen, L'homme Rouge, Mfpen, Mucker, Newline Halo, Norse Projects, Rue De Tokyo, Schnayderman's, Soulland, Tonsure, Uniforms for the Dedicated, Unridden and Whyred.
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