As expected UK buyers were a scarce breed among the Italian peacocks on parade for the opening morning of Pitti Uomo in Florence today.
Pitti Uomo exhibitors were cautious about spring 09 trade, although most were putting on a brave face. On the Canali stand, UK and Ireland sales director Julian Manning said: "I'm not expecting to see a great number of buyers from the UK. The important buyers will come as they always do but most are cutting their trips to shorter periods, staying for just the day instead of two before travelling to Milan for the catwalks."
Giles Greenwood, owner of Greenwood the distributor for Paul & Shark, said: "The store groups are sending fewer people and indies are staggering visits between Pitti Uomo and Bread & Butter Barcelona. In the summer most go to Bread & Butter. We expect to see a 50% drop in UK visitors to Pitti Uomo this season."
Searching the hall for new trends, Tony O'Connor, head of menswear design at Marks & Spencer said: "I want to see more confidence coming back into menswear and more reasons to buy. Nobody is taking risks at exactly the time when buyers need to feel inspired."
For a full report on Pitti Uomo see Drapers magazine's June 28 issue or take part in the Trend Talk - a live, interactive chat hosted by Drapersonline.com next Tuesday, starting at 6.30pm.