CEO, Pitti Immagine
Pitti Immagine is a company that hosts "Pitti Immagine Uomo," the world's largest platform for men's ready-to-wear clothing, "Pitti Immagine W" for women's fashion, and "Pitti Immagine Bimbo" for kid's fashion. This year, special guest CARVEN will be invited to the "Pitti Immagine Uomo 82(2013 S/S)" held in June. Pitti Immagine has started "e-Pitti", the online trade fair last year.
At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2012-13 A/W held this March, many key buyers from around the world made their way to Japan. Not limited to buyers, important figures in the fashion industry also attended the shows, installations, and the event arena. Among them was the CEO of Pitti Immagine, Mr. Raffaello Napoleone from Italy. When “TOKYO FASHION WEEK in ITALY” exhibited in the “Pitti Immagine Uomo” January 2012, he was impressed with the creational and the presentational power of the brands from Tokyo, and made him want to see the “present” Tokyo with his own eyes right away. Despite his tight schedule, he attended as many fashion shows and installations of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2012-13 A/W as he could, while also visiting the city and shops of Tokyo.
We asked Mr. Napoleone to share his thoughts about the fashion, city, and the culture of Tokyo.
This is the second season as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO. What do you think about the fashion week in Tokyo?
The fashion week in Tokyo has improved from the past and the word has even reached us in Italy. That is why I find myself here in Japan.
I believe you attended a few shows and installations. How was it?
I saw the shows by yoshio kubo and CHRISTIAN DADA, as well as the installation by AMBELL. It was very interesting because the way the collections presented at the shows by yoshio kubo and CHRISTIAN DADA were well thought out, and was something that I have never seen in the European shows. I was absorbed in the production of the installation by AMBELL, including the lighting, and could sense a strong influence from England in the collection.
yoshio kubo 2012-13 A/W Collection
CHRISTIAN DADA 2012-13 A/W Collection
AMBELL 2012-13 A/W Collection
Major brands in Tokyo, including some from the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO, participated in the “TOKYO FASHION WEEK in ITALY” this January. Could you share your thoughts about that?
As the organizer, I felt it was a success. We had many, many inquiries. Over 1,700 journalists came to the event, but more than that it was a good chance to see the creation of young Japanese designers. “TOKYO FASHION WEEK in ITALY” livened up Pitti Immagine Uomo this year, and became an important driving force to the event. I just hope that it would not be a one-time thing, as it is important to continue participating. I really look forward to that in the future.
How many times have you visited Japan before?
This would make it my tenth time or so. But the last time was about six years ago, when I visited Yohji Yamamoto’s exhibition. About 70 brands from Japan exhibits at Pitti Immagine Uomo and I believe Japan is a very important country, which is why I always send my staff to Japan at least once a year.
PITTI IMMAGINE UOMO
Do you feel anything has changed in Tokyo from six years ago?
Where do I begin! It’s not just the shops, but many international luxury brands have invested into building massive buildings, completely changing the feel of the city. In particular, Daikanyama never felt like an important part of the city before, but has developed and changed to become as big as Omotesando. Tokyo is also full of young designers who are releasing brands one after another, which leaves the impression of new trends and overflowing new energy.
Could you talk about “new energy”?
Although Japan is said to be in a recession from eight years ago, I feel it is an extremely strong country. Perhaps it is due to the disaster just over a year ago, but I really get the impression that the citizens are coming together to work towards reviving the nation. In particular, the energy problem does not apply only to Japan, but is a global crisis. As it is a worldwide unconditional theme to conserve energy, we are forced to find ways to use our energy more efficiently, including the electricity and water consumed in making clothes. In terms of food, we should be eating just a little of what is healthy rather than eating a lot of food in general, a concept that will become mainstay in the future.
Tell us about the city and shops you visited here in Japan.
I went to Harajuku, Omotesando, Daikanyama, and Ginza. I really liked MEN’S TOKYO in the Hankyu in Yurakucho. I also got to visit JITAC (Japan Imported Textiles Agency Council) in Ginza. After this we will go to roomsLINK, and tomorrow we are planning to go to the Shibuya Fashion Festival. As is with Fashion’s Night Out hosted by “Vogue,” it is important for events to combine fashion and the city, and coordinating with Fashion Week is just marvelous.
It was a fascinating shop. The gelato was truly delicious, and his brand, “Mr.GENTLEMAN”, was superb. It’s essential to mix great food with great fashion. Pitti Immagine not only organizes men’s, ladies’, and kid’s fashion, but also “TASTE” the tradeshow for food and I understand the importance of food. There was also a wonderful director when I visited “Eataly” in Daikanyama. The “Eataly” in New York has 25,000 visitors a day. Another one is scheduled to open in Rome next year, making it an extremely interesting Italian cuisine project.
Aren’t there shops in Italy that fuse food and fashion?
There are shops like that, but only a few set up as boutiques that serve coffee. But the concept of fusing food with fashion is becoming more popular in Italy, and the top floor of “la Rinascente“, a department store in Milano, has become a food & restaurant floor. You’ll find restaurants and bars amongst brand shops in Italy, but I believe Japan has a stronger mix of these shops and the concept is more intriguing. Food is a great communication tool, and it shouldn’t just be about the quality and a fashionable menu, but the balance with the company image is also important.