Trade Show Recap: Pitti Bimbo

Pitti Immagine Bimbo presents ‘Pitti Live Movie’, a Florentine festival of cinema-themed fun and fresh kids’ designs.

Last week, Earnshaw’s attended the 86th edition of Pitti Immagine Bimbo, the international children’s fashion fair held at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy from Jan. 18 to 20. The fair broadens its scope each season with features covering new market segments, special participations and emerging talents.

Cinema-themed decor at the Apartment entrance.

This year, Pitti Immagine themed its winter fairs after film festivals, calling the series “Pitti Live Movie.” Upon entering, I was one of more than 10,000 attendees greeted by massive “movie posters” displayed in the forecourt to illustrate each of the show’s categories. The cinema theme was strong throughout the show’s presentation with whimsy elements such as an oversized popcorn sculpture, a ticket booth-inspired information display and a playlist of tunes from iconic family films like The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Children pose in front of the Pitti Live Movie poster display.

One of the many exciting new additions at Pitti was #ActiveLab. At the Cavaniglia Studio, a dedicated area in Cavaniglia Pavilion, #ActiveLab showcased a layout of playful yet edgy international brands experimenting across sportswear, street and activewear. The collections included lots of athleisure elements, such as colorblocking, accent stripes, mesh and pops of bright hues across brands like Akido, Bang Bang Copenhagen, Barn of Monkeys, Gardner and the Gang, How to Kiss a Frog Stockholm, Jborn Kids, Kukukid and Wheat.

Buyers mingle at the entrance of Pitti’s new #ActiveLab section.

More traditional sections continued to perform well, from the stylish brands with a luxury approach in the Apartment area to the Ecoethic area where labels make ecological sustainability their distinctive feature. The energy in the Sport Generation section confirmed the persistence and longevity of the athleisure trend, while sustained traffic was also evident around Super Street, catering to today’s relaxed yet attitude-driven fashions. Other crowd-pleasers included the experimentation of KidzFizz, the pop lifestyle design of Fancy Room and the selection of licensing opportunities in Nice Licensing.

Executives of the streetwear brand Gaudi in the Super Street section.

Nice Licensing section showcases several popular licenses for 2018.

Overall, the show started off with a bang—literally. Sparkler pyrotechnics adorned the finale of Monnalisa’s 50th anniversary catwalk, appropriately named “The Golden Age.” The interior of the usually foreboding Foretezza da Basso was illuminated for the first time in the show’s history for this exclusive event on the upper level of the Main Pavilion. The catwalk was set to a film-inspired soundtrack, with models showcasing a series of sophisticated yet whimsy styles including fur embellishments, feminine florals, cozy knits, galactic graphics and mommy-and-me ensembles as major trends. And of course,  it’s not a celebration—or simply Fall/Winter 18/19—without loads of sequins!

Fortezza da Basso illuminates for the 50th anniversary celebration of Monnalisa.

Model wears statement skirt at Monnalisa 50th anniversary fashion show.

Earlier in the day, Pitti Bimbo presented another runway show at the Sala della Ronda including a collective of Spanish brands, titled Children’s Fashion from Spain. Barcarola, Boboli, Desigual, Foque, Mayoral, Tartaleta and Tuc Tuc, were among the featured brands. Trends spanned red hues, dyed faux furs, cabin-chic knits and celestial influences, all in a high-energy back-to-school presentation.

Girls model sophisticated back-to-school fashions by Spanish brand Mayoral.

Day two was just as action-packed. Between running around to speak with several of the 578 collections (75 more exhibitors than the previous edition), I enjoyed a seat at two catwalk shows. First was Cinema Aparment, a runway presentation at the Sala della Ronda that showcased a selection of contemporary luxury brands from the Apartment section like Amelie et Sophie, La Stependeria, Lamantine Paris & Milan, Nikolia, Pero, Piccola Ludo, The Small Gatsby and Velveteen.

Final walk at the Cinema Apartment runway show.

Three hours later, the KidzFizz Color Carpet show focused the spotlight on brands like Alitsa, Andorine, Iglo + Indi, Le Mu, Maa + Manuela De Juan, Mr Uky, Unlabel Kids and Zombie Dash.

Final walk at the KidzFizz Color Carpet show.

The last day of the show, I headed back to grab a few more business cards and meet with some new brands looking to build their presence in the U.S. market. Then, to celebrate a successful show, I indulged in an oh-so-delicioius late lunch of vegetarian pizza and vino. Yum.

Celebratory post-show meal next to Il Duomo di Firenze.

For a more complete report of the show’s top trends and up-and-coming brands, stay tuned for our European report, to be published in the March 2018 issue.


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