The 71st edition of menswear show Pitti Uomo opened in Florence this week with exhibitors expressing confidence for autumn 07 buying, despite a handful of big-name brands abandoning the event. The most notable absence was that of Hugo Boss. The Sala della Ronda building, which was exclusively occupied by the German giant last time, is hosting 29 brands in a new area called Touch. Kevin Stone, group sales and marketing director of brand house BMB, was showing outerwear brand Invertere at Touch. He said the departure of Hugo Boss would have minimal impact. 'It has given us the opportunity of bringing a new brand to Pitti.' Other exhibitors were similarly confident. Michael Whitby-Grubb, Aquascutum's UK wholesale sales manager, said: 'The flights from the UK were packed with buyers as well as suppliers.'