Picchiani & Barlacchi selected to represent Florentine artisan excellence during fashion week in Philadelphia.
Two Florentine artisans and a fashion designer from Polimoda will be the stars of fashion week in Philadelphia. From 7th to 10th October, Macy’s – the large American retail store – will host Giovanna Montauti and Luca Parri, owners/producers of jewellery by the historical company Picchiani & Barlacchi, together with Benedetta Maracchi, a young producer of the Marakita brand for fabric bags using Made in Florence designs and materials. This strictly Florentine mission will also see the participation of Michael Mack from Michael Grey Footwear: a young American who studied at the Polimoda of Florence, who after returning to the United States began to create and produce footwear.
The initiative was presented today at the Palazzo Vecchio by the Councillor for international cooperation and relations, Nicoletta Mantovani, the vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence, Claudio Bianchi and the executive director of PromoFirenze, Mario Curia. “This event was created following the revival of the partnership with Philadelphia, signed last October,” explained Councillor Mantovani. “At the time, together with mayor Micheal Nutter, we identified various courses of action for the relaunching and consolidation of the agreement between our cities, including of course economic relations. Now, the first part has been consolidated: thanks to the collaboration between the two municipalities, the city of Philadelphia and the Chamber of Commerce together with Promofirenze, we were able to identify various Florentine artisans, who together with the Polimoda fashion designer, will be guests at Fashion Week in the American city, proposing their very own products at Macy’s stores.”
“Being able to exhibit our home-grown artisan expertise represents a very important opportunity,” highlighted Bianchi. “Florence has a great capacity to recount the specific details of its territory and the professional skills found therein. In today’s world, being able to tell a story is a fundamental step towards winning the challenge of globalisation. This is therefore a great opportunity for both our producers and our city to be in the international spotlight. It is for this reason that we as the Chamber of Commerce and Promofirenze have collaborated to ensure that the project is transformed into reality. This project represents another step along the way to internationalisation, not only for Florence as a city of art, but also for its skills and trades,” reiterated Curia. “We are sure that this initiative will be a success and that these days at Macy’s will be just the beginning of a long-term collaboration for the export of traditional and artisan Florentine products to the USA.”
The exhibiting artisans were selected based on a commercial target indicated by Macy’s, and also in consideration of the “Casa delle Eccellenze” project, coordinated by Promofirenze in agreement with category associations and with Expo, where a commission composed of category association members identified a number of companies throughout the territory, based on two fundamental parameters: artisan workmanship and Florentine origin.
“The Ground Court of Macy’s has been set aside for our artisans,” added Council Member Mantovani, “where they will be able to display and sell their products, no doubt for a short time only, but nonetheless for a period sufficient to make their mark. Furthermore, their products will be worn by models during the fashion week fashion parade, an event open to young American stylists from Philadelphia’s design schools.” Mantovani highlighted the fact that the presence of an ex-student of Polimoda, an American citizen discovered by the Florentine fashion school, may be a source of additional encouragement for American fashion students to visit Italy and perhaps choose to specialise in Florence. A photography exhibition will also be set up inside the Ground Court of Macy’s, dedicated to Florentine artisan workmanship and Florence.
In the picture, Councillor Mantovani and Bianchi from the Chamber of Commerce with the artisans that will be going to Philadelphia.