Pitti passes by so quickly. There is so much build up beforehand, and then… poof, it’s over. I’ve spent the last two months planning what to see, who to meet, etc., etc. Then the week comes and it all turns into a hazy whirlpool of cheek kisses, dinners, and nighttime events in lavish locations. Then, a few days later, I leave and feel like I didn’t really have time to actually speak to all the people I wanted to speak to, I didn’t see all the exhibitors I would have liked to see, and I didn’t have time to just stroll about and see the city-sized museum that is Florence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I just spent almost a week in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, discussing and looking at beautiful clothes, shoes and accessories. I guess it’s just impossible to squeeze everything you’d want to do into four days.
I was lucky enough to be traveling with Jussi Häkkinen, a new partner at E-F-V, and his lovely fiancée, Anu Ratulinen. This season my fiancée, Erica, couldn’t come because of work. She usually helps out with the photography when we’re there. Fortunately, Andreas (@Anden) was able to come this year and take pictures. And even though I missed having Erica with me, I really enjoyed hanging out with Andreas this week.
Anu had taken care of booking an apartment for us. I was expecting your average Air BNB experience, meaning a decent flat with a shower. What I had completely missed was that she had managed to book us a room in one of Florence’ oldest and most well known palazzos. Not only did the 7-meter ceiling have beautiful frescos, but the apartment was also overlooking Arno and Ponte Vecchio. We found out later that this palazzo was Hannibal Lecter’s Florence residence in the movie Hannibal.
After arriving pretty late the first night, I had to dump my luggage in the room quickly to join a dinner for “influencers” (I really can’t identify with that term), hosted by tie makers Loïc et Gil. The restaurant was very nice, and even though I arrived a few hours later than everyone else, they had only gotten halfway through the 10-or-so-course meal. The company was good and naturally we ended up at cafe Gilli in central Florence. Gilli’s is a beautiful old cafe, with some nice pastries and decent drinks. All of this is impossible to appreciate during Pitti though, since the place is brim full of Pitti visitors, and the staff is particularly rude. Tired after traveling and the big meal at the restaurant, I headed off to our apartment to get at least a few hours of rest before Day 1 of the fair.
I woke up eerily early the day after. Couldn’t shower, since all the hot water was used up. A quick cold wash in the sink had to do the trick for day one. We got dressed, had a quick cup of coffee and headed off to meet some friends outside the fair.
Andreas and I had decided to meet up inside the fair before lunch. There were so many people to meet and greet outside of the main pavilion that we actually didn’t get inside before lunch. After some haggling, Andreas, myself, and a Swedish photographer friend named Milad managed to get our lunch passes, even though I had emailed ahead to make sure there would be no problems this time. “Oh well, it’s Italy” (a phrase I repeated to myself a couple of times this week). We arrived at the lunch buffet, met some Swedish friends, had some wine, and headed out again.
Once inside the fair halls, we walked around just looking into booths for a while. Of course we had a few must-sees (the usual suspects), but nothing scheduled. This was pretty much my philosophy for the week – trying to have as little as possible scheduled, to be able to actually experience the atmosphere and the visual impressions without repeatedly checking the clock. This made the entire week much more enjoyable, and actually fruitful.
We met Jake and Alex, formerly of the Armoury, in Orazio Luciano’s booth. They told us they are now launching their own store in London. Exciting news indeed for all Londoners.
Day 1 went by way too quick. Since we had planned to go to Plaza Uomo & Simon Crompton’s Independent Shops Symposium at Palazzo Budini Gattei, we didn’t really have time for dinner. Unfortunately, the location of the party, beautiful as it is, didn’t work perfectly with the symposium that was being held at a stage at the far end of a big hall. Standing close to the stage, you could hear what Patrik of Skoaktiebolaget, Mark of the Armoury and the other guest speakers were saying, but at the back of the room everything dissolved into mumbling. Partly because a lot of the guests didn’t really care about the shushings from the people who wanted to hear what was discussed onstage. Since we hadn’t had time for dinner, the drinks hit harder than they usually would have. Once it was time to get something to eat, Benedikt (@braddock) lead the way, and a nice little company of people (12 or so) headed off to a really nice place, centrally located, where I was seated next to my good friends, Norman Vilalta and Charley Marcuse (@mr.claymore). The meal was great, the company was even greater, and all of a sudden we found ourselves at Gilli’s again.