Shows and Markets: Interview with Raffaello Napoleone
The Pitti Immagine shows, the role of accessories, markets of reference, and the role of digital technology: we speak of this and more in our interview with Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine.
1_ A few months ago Pitti Immagine underwent an internal reorganisation with the aim of optimising its processes: will it be possible to see the first fruits of this transformation starting from the next shows?
The internal reorganisation of Pitti Immagine is fruit of a positive dynamic of the company, which reconfirms all its current priorities: innovative and high quality services, scouting and selection of new brands and designers, sophisticated contents, and internationalisation.
2_ Accessories (footwear and leather goods) have become increasingly important both at the Pitti Uomo trade show and above all at Pitti Bimbo. What do you believe was the catalyst in setting this trend off and do you think it will continue in the future?
The role of accessories, both at Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo, is on the rise, because this is a general market trend, which our events have managed to stay ahead of, reflect, and interpret. I believe it will be a trend that will continue to flourish also in the future, because accessories are playing an increasingly important role in the overall look.
3_ Cinema will be the theme of the January editions of Pitti Immagine: you are experts in tying fashion into other forms of art. How will you interpret it this season?
For each new edition, we choose a different theme that serves as the guideline to our Shows, and at this edition, cinema was chosen to present all the Pitti Immagine Winter Shows as a sort of Film Festival, with different sections and styles. I believe that cinema is a theme that allows us to interpret our events with originality and creativity, while using a double thread to creatively tie together fashion with cinema in a way that is also absolutely contemporary, because today the world of social networks, Instagram, and YouTube has changed our way of communicating.
4_ Which international emerging markets will be the focus of Pitti Immagine at both the Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo shows?
More than emerging markets it is more correct to speak of markets that become or return to a primary place of importance at our Shows, and these include Great Britain (Brexit aside), Russia, which is recovering, and China, which with the lowering of its tariffs, has experienced a strong upswing in consumer trends. There is also the entire Middle Eastern area that is very strategic for childrenswear. Markets like Spain, despites its highs and lows, remain in any case important, along with Germany and Japan, which have always been points of reference for our Shows. As far as the Italian market is concerned, there are some persisting difficulties, but the signals of economic recovery bode well for the future.
5_How is the high-end and luxury retail scenario changing at Pitti Immagine’s shows?
Today, even high-end retail must interact with the digital world. In this context, there are brands that were quick to seize upon this technology, and this is now to their advantage, while others took longer to move forward with it. However, what is true for everyone is that the online channel is a world that cannot be ignored, when it comes to the brand’s marketing and sales. E-commerce represents a new sales channel that supports traditional distribution, in a continuous and ever-growing exchange. In fact, it is not by chance, if from one end, traditional distribution is used to support online sales, while from the other end, e-commerce websites are moving towards physical stores.
6_ Fairs like Super, instead, have seen the role of accessories scaled down when compared to the past. What is the reason?
Super’s aim is to be characterised as a show dedicated to research and scouting, and in this phase, apparel has gained an edge over accessories, while in terms of the show’s current offering, 50% is made up by apparel, with the remaining 50% accounted for by accessories. This does not mean, however, that it must also be this way in the future.
7_ How does Super plan on positioning itself and differentiating its offer from the concurrent fair of White?
Super follows its own pathway, which is characterised by research, an international offering, and the scouting for new talents. A high selection and quality products, along with emerging designers and scenarios, allows for a fashion proposal that is always cutting-edge, while depicting and predicting the trends of the future. These are the distinct traits of Super.