During the Second World War, Giovanni Battista Giorgini (Forte dei Marmi-1898) became one of the first Italian buyers in terms of Italian homemade products. He started to export linen, laces, glass, ceramics and straw to the USA.

Giovanni Battista Giorgini

When the war ended, he launched the idea of a collective runway of tailors’ shops in Florence, in order to internationalize Italian fashion.

He organized the event immediately after the debut of the fashion collections in Paris, so the American buyers could prolong their European trip.

Because of the opposition of the more traditional tailors’ shops and the scarce confidence of the USA, still having an image of the Italian style as “fiasco, mandolino e spaghetti”, he organized the  “First Italian High Fashion Show” in his villa in 1951, with the participation of 5 journalists and 13 fashion houses, 9 of which considered high fashion.

The day after the presentation of the collections he decided to organize a ball, inviting all the Florentine aristocracy.

The success was huge: the critics was enthusiastic because Italian products were much more economic that the French ones.

Therefore Giorgini organized a second runway in July 1952. But this time the things were different: the show took place in the Sala Bianca of Palazzo Pitti.

Just to give an idea of the level of the event it worths mentioning names such as Emilio Pucci, Mirsa, Marucelli Sport, Luisa Spagnoli, Ferragamo, Magli, Gucci, Roberta di Camerino and many others.

The Birth of Italian Fashionsfilata-sala-biancadesigns-giovanni-battista-giorgini-italian-fashion-pioner-sala-bianca

This is the context in which Pitti Immagine was born, in the most intensive moment of the cultural, social and economic turmoil of Italy during the 1950s.

The Centre of Florence for Italian Fashion was created in 1954 and today is part of a group of Italian firms that work for the promotion of the Italian fashion system.

Pitti Immagine has also an important historical archive, partially computerized, that is available for consultation (authorization necessary) for students, scholars, researchers or authorized personnel in order to maintain alive an important heritage that can be used to rebuild Italian Fashion History from the 1950s until today.

This is the year of the 90th anniversary of Pitti Immagine, that will take place in Florence, at  Fortezza da Basso, from the 14th to the 17th  June.

The theme of the 2016 edition is the Lucky numbers and 1.040 exhibitors will attend the event, 44% of which coming from abroad.

The event will focus on the support of the small and medium fashion firms, that are the pillar of the sector. As Raffaello Napoleone (CEO of Pitti Immagine) explains: “ The 80% of the exhibitors has a sales volume of less than 10 millions Euros, and the 60% is below 5 millions”.

That’s why Pitti decided to offer new and additional services to the exhibitors to help them promote their creations, in addition to the already existing platform e-Pitti that puts online the collections presented during the event.

We are speaking about a new project that has been developed to help firms in collecting orders online instead of writing them down by hand (because they still exist). Pitti is working at the creation of an app for iPad, called “ready to order”, which can be easily intergrated into the company system.

With the same purpose there is also the possibility of a workshop with Google to develop e-commerce.

One of the most important aspects of this 90th edition is linked to the promotion of Made in Italy all over the world; some projects that would make Giorgini very happy.

Gallerie degli Uffizi and Fondazione Pitti Discovery signed a three-year agreement to collaborate for the organization of exhibitions and to transform the Galleria del Costume of Palazzo Pitti  into a real Fashion Museum, as London and New York have. The agreement, as Eike Schmidt (Director of Uffizi-Pittti-Boboli) says, follows the directions of the Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini.

The first exhibition expected for the 14 June is KARL LAGERFELD – Visions of Fashion, in Palazzo Pitti. Curated by Eric Pfrunder and Gerhard Steidl, it travels through again Lagerfeld’s  photographic career (more than 200 images), also presenting many unpublished works.

The exhibition will last until the 23 October.


Last but not least, the 13 June will present their collections: Raf Simons; the emerging designers Gosha Rubchinskiy (Russia) and Hiroki Nakamura (Japan) at Manifattura Tabacchi (the first) and Limonaia di Boboli (the second); Fausto Puglisi (Pitti Italics Special Event) and Lucio Vanotti; Cartier at Palazzo Gondi (4 days to present the new watch and menswear).

It is also said that a fashion show by bike around Florence will be organized.

If you want to be ready to participate to the events of June, take a look at the official website of Pitti Immagine here.