Every season, Pitti in Florence invites guest designers to stage shows for its menswear and womenswear fairs, and like a promising Bordeaux grape harvest, the designers’ names are immediately added to the must-buy lists of style-conscious consumers the world over. This season will be no exception: Pitti has once again chosen brands that strike just the right balance between buzzworthiness and insider cred. Junichi Abe, of Japan’s oh-so-cool brand Kolor, will be Pitti Uomo’s guest menswear designer this season, alongside Damir Doma, who will present a preview of his women’s 2014 Resort collection in a show for Pitti W in Florence from June 18 to 21.
Abe, who will be 48 this year, worked with Junya Watanabe for five years at Comme des Garçons before leaving to start PPCM with three partners as its co-founder and designer. Kolor, which includes collections for men and women, debuted in 2004, opened its flagship store in Tokyo in 2009, and now sells to top stores worldwide, including online with Mr. Porter and at H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles and L’Eclaireur in Paris. Even before its first runway show in Paris, for Fall/Winter 2012, Kolor was already something of a contemporary fashion legend. The brand develops its own fabrics in Japan and sinuously combines these in a themeless mix of soft tailoring with sharp casual pieces. The talented Mr. Abe, like Greta Garbo, is notoriously elusive.
Croatian-born Damir Doma, 31, worked for Raf Simons before launching his first menswear collection in Paris with a show for Spring/Summer 2008, adding a women’s collection in 2010. From the start, the clairvoyant Doma has paved new ground in menswear with fluid shapes that have promoted a new softness for men, while his elegant, bookish womenswear was one of the first collections in Paris to convincingly break away from the style tyranny of luxe bling and killer heels. Last year, Doma opened his first brand store in the courtyard next to Comme des Garçons on rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris and began a collection of eyewear for Germany’s Mykita. His collections are available online at The Corner and in New York at Atelier, among others.