Children’s Fashion & Fun at Pitti Bimbo 90

As Irish literary legend Oscar Wilde once said “The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”  Considering its super fun and child oriented calendar of special events, international projects and creative productions, the upcoming Pitti Immagine Bimbo is sure to bring a smile to the young as well as the young at heart. Held mainly at Florence’s Fortezza da Basso from January 16 to 18, and open only to buyers and the press, Pitti Bimbo 90 will bring 543 collections for fall-winter 2020/21, displayed throughout the 10 sections of the exhibition area.

The international semi-annual salon for kids’ clothing, accessories and lifestyle is celebrating its 90th edition as a global platform for new fashion trends and research projects presented by designer labels and experimental brands.  Participants include several remarkable fashion brands, from DKNY and Emporio Armani Junior to Yves Salomon Enfant and Twinset.

On the literary and cultural front, “Playground,” an exhibition of work by British artist James Mollison, who photographed children all over the world outside school having fun, will open on January 16 (11:30 am) at the Cavaniglia Pavilion.  Kid’s Wear magazine is celebrating 25 years since its founder, the German photographer and film director Achim Lippoth, published the first issue.  A special Anniversary Photo Call at the magazine stand on the top floor of the Central Pavilion will mark the event (cocktail party, invitation only, Jan. 17, 3:30 pm).  The same location will also be the stage for an exhibition that explores the five senses organized to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Hooligans, the American magazine for kids dedicated to fashion, art, design and culture (Jan. 16, 3:30 pm).

The magic of books and the love for reading will be the subject of two initiatives. The Kid’s Lab will host the fourth edition of The Extraordinary Library, featuring 100 picture books from all over the world selected by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Many of the books on the shelves are inspired by the concept of flag, the theme of Pitti Immagine’s winter fairs, captured for the ad campaign by the photographer Franco Pagetti.  The Italian clothing brand C’era una volta, well-known for its delicate and timeless style for newborns to 10-year-olds, will bring to the fair a selection of 10 international illustrated albums, featuring short stories about fashion. The project is curated in conjunction with Bologna’s historical Giannino Stoppani Bookstore.

Runway shows are also in the spotlight. Young models will be on the catwalk to represent “65 Benetton Street” by United Colors of Benetton at the Teatrino Lorenese (Jan. 16, 3 pm). Designed by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, the artistic director for Benetton group whose clients included stars like Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol and Elton John, the collection is modern, colorful and ethically responsible. The Sala della Ronda will host “We are the Future,” a children’s fashion show from Spain (Jan. 16, 12 noon).  At the same location “Town Garden” will showcase proposals by luxury brands from the Apartment section (Jan. 17, 10:30 am).  In the afternoon, the innovative KidzFIZZ collective fashion show will be presented on the top floor of the Central Pavilion (2:30 pm).  Keep an eye out for the premiere of the Srbd-Ducati capsule collection, result of the collaboration between the kidswear label Sarabanda and Ducati, the iconic Italian motorcycle-manufacturing company.

Pirouette’s One to Watch Scent Award (top floor of the Central Pavilion) will be announced on January 17 at 12 noon.  The One to Watch Awards are conceived by the kidswear cult blog Pirouette to support the emerging talents on the children’s fashion and design scene. Fashion Comics is a project conceived by the creative and influencer Alessandro Enriquez.  The computer-animated characters made popular by Line Friends, a Japanese messaging app, will be the protagonists of a capsule collection on display on the top floor of the Central Pavilion. The brands involved include Monnalisa, Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini, and Diadora (invitation only, Jan. 17, 2 pm).

Outside the Fortezza, the stunning setting of Palazzo Pucci will host “Breakfast at the Palazzo,” the presentation of the Fall/Winter 2020-2021 Emilio Pucci Junior collection in the usual captivating prints, comprising the new colorful and revisited version of Heliconia and Monreale (Jan. 17, 9 – 11 am).  At the Stazione Leopolda, the catwalk show by Italian brand Monnalisa is sure to attract a crowd (January 16, 7 pm).

Aimed at promoting fashion sustainability and environmental protection is the special project by the French house Petit Bateau and Treedom, the online platform for adopting a tree to reduce CO2 emissions. The outcome of the collaboration is an exclusive kit for newborns in organic cotton that will make its debut at the La Ménagère bistrot on Jan. 16 (via de’ Ginori 8/r from 6 – 9 pm), and will be marketed with the opportunity for parents to plant a tree with a child’s name.

Pitti Bimbo will be followed by Pitti Filati 86, the key international trade event for the textile and knitwear industry from January 22 – 24. For the complete program of Pitti’s winter edition, visit the website. (celeste giampietro collins)