This year, we were lucky enough to attend a trade show I had been dreaming of for years, Pitti Bimbo. This is not a trade show by any American sense – there are no fluorescent lights or rows of tables with bleary eyed vendors. Pitti Bimbo, in all its Italian fashion flamboyance is a show in the truest sense. Set in the Fortessa Basso in Florence, an ancient fortress amidst a beautiful park, you are at once transported, relaxed and ready to take in the fashion.
It is a creative playground within the fortress. The year’s theme was ‘Lucky Numbers’ (and I was jealous of the team that got to execute that theme with such imagination and finesse) – what fun! Trees and buildings were draped with streamers coded with numbers a la Matrix. There was a field of large scale primary colored digits and a recording that spoke numbers in a breathy voice. Children’s block-inspired seating dotted the outside of the buildings.
On Friday, the organizers hosted a party at the close of the show, with stations wrapped around numbers, giving out food and drink shaped in the stand’s designated number, and inspiring fair-goers to snap a photo with their favorite ‘lucky’ number.
The fashion was divided amongst many buildings and sections. As you entered, the KidFizz section introduced you to indie, mostly European and American designers, like YPorque, No Added Sugar, Merri Merri and The Bonnie Mob, as well as shoe designers like Maa and Old Soles. There was tons that we took notes on, picked up line sheets and ooh-ed and aah-ed through the racks. After that came the “Apartment” section, where each brand had its own room where they could bring their label to life. The SuperStreet section that followed was in a garage/warehouse type building, painted with bright graffiti on the entrance, and many high style brands like Pinco Pallino and TwinSet were set in interesting rooms along the park like outdoor setting. At the end was the main pavilion filled with gorgeous classic brands like Miss Grant whose booth entrance was beautifully outlined in flowers) and designer brands (Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Sonya Rykiel and more), where downstairs housed a cool furniture display that featured Kartell’s new kids line (we loved!), and an ‘editorial’ feature Bikes! that was inventive and fun.
Outside that was out-building Sport Generation (where the likes of Molo and many super cool sneaker and shoe brands resided) as well as a cute display celebrating Miffy, the most in-vogue rabbit we know.
Pitti is known for its fashion shows, and they are fabulous. We got to see just one as we were tied up earlier in the day, but watched AlishaV and her crew walk the catwalk under disco lights in her eponymous sporty luxe show.
We spent two full days at Pitti and came away impressed with the level of detail and love that is put into this grand children’s fashion event. And, the fact that it’s set in one of the greatest, most beautiful cities in the world (where delicious food, shopping and sites abound) is the cherry on top, insisting that work blend delightfully seamlessly with play.