(ANSA) - Florence, January 7 - Menswear trade fair Pitti Uomo opened in Florence Tuesday with data showing the male consumer of Italian fashion was still going strong worldwide, helping the sector's revenues in crisis-stricken Italy grow 1% in 2013 to 8.6 billion euros.
A tough, rock'n'roll-style man opened international fashion season in Florence and London this week as data from the Italian federation of fashion businesses Sistema Moda Italia highlighted that while imports in Italy contracted 4.9% last year, exports went up 3.7% - an increase worth 5.2 billion euros.
The over 1,000 companies presenting their autumn-winter 2014 collections at Florence's Fortezza da Basso through Thursday will be vying in particular for markets outside the EU which registered a 6.5% hike in 2013, led by South Korea with a 34.4% increase, China with 26% and Hong Kong with 14.6%.
EU markets remained stable - up 0.3% - with France still the top buyer of Italian menswear. Sistema Moda Italia also forecast a 2.1% increase in turnover in the first semester of this year from the first half of 2013.
And the bold swagger with which Italian menswear is expected to stride ahead next year will be embodied by a number of collections on display in Florence with styles embracing the rock music theme of this edition of Pitti - very much in tune with the vibe launched by Hedi Slimane since the photographer-turned-designer succeeded Stefano Pilati in March 2012 at the helm of Saint Laurent The unconventional, strong boldness of rock'n'roll street styles this week will challenge Pitti's more traditional classic dandy styles.
A sporty, experimental vibe will permeate top menswear collections including Renzo Rosso's Diesel Black Gold, the guest of honour of this edition of Pitti Uomo, which will debut the first menswear collection designed by Andrea Melbostad on Wednesday at Florence's Stazione Leopolda.
Rosso's Only The Brave Group owns, among others, top labels Marni, Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf.
The Diesel Black Gold collection, Rosso told ANSA, will focus on innovation, "with sartorial clothes which have been reinvented thanks to a special technique to custom work fabrics with silver".
Other top contenders for the Pitti limelight this week include Florentine tailor Stefano Ricci, which recorded a turnover of 126 million euros in 2013, up 42% from the previous year, with a collection paying homage to Rene Gruau, an Italian-born groundbreaking illustrator who worked for patrons including Balmain, Givenchy and Schiapparelli.
Bold styles will give fashion edge to sportswear at PZero Pirelli with a collection inspired by sports and travel.
Shoes have been designed to equal the performance of Pirelli's Sottozero tires and outerwear will include a 'car coat' provided with a hood which can become an airbag for the fearless man who hits the road next winter.