by Stephen Garner
Pitti Uomo Fanatic Exhibit
An illustration from Karl Lagerfeld to be featured in the exhibit

During the upcoming Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence this summer from June 12-15, the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery will present Fanatic Feelings – Fashion Plays Football, an exhibition curated by Markus Ebner, founder of German fashion magazines Achtung Mode and Sepp Football Fashion, and contemporary art critic Francesco Bonami.

Through a broad multimedia presentation, Fanatic Feelings will highlight the pioneering impact football (American soccer) has had on the world of men’s fashion igniting the fusion of tailoring and sportswear early on. With the World Cup 2018 held in Russia and Eastern European aesthetics currently dominating contemporary fashion, Fanatic Feelings is ultra-timely.

The show will include illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld and Hiroshi Tanabe of famous soccer players and an extensive look into the rich Sepp Football Fashion archives from 2002 to 2018 as selected by Bonami featuring players such as Kaka, Edinson Cavani, Jérôme Boateng or Mesut Özil. The show will include screenings of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, the documentary by artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno.

There will also be new exclusively commissioned photography and design projects. The exhibition will also trace the lives of soccer icons and fashion enthusiasts such as George Best, Eric Cantona or Gigi Meroni, who helped launch the close ties between the sport and costume. And a special street style section will highlight fashion plates like David Beckham, Neymar and Franck Ribéry on what they wear after training or game.

A Fanatic Bar will be open for sports fans and visitors during the exhibition, featuring a sport bar style atmosphere, its walls hung with football club pennants and photos of famous footballers. The amazing bartender Charles Schumann will be making special cocktails in his inimitable signature style that has made him a true icon.

Fanatic Feelings is the third part of the three-year cooperation program between the Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery and the Museo della Moda e del Costume di Palazzo Pitti,” said Andrea Cavicchi, president of the CFMI and of the Fondazione Pitti Discovery. “We share the idea of a fashion museum that reaches throughout the city with Eike Schmidt, director of the Gallerie degli Uffizi, and this is why – in concert with the curators and thanks to the City of Florence – we chose a most fascinating venue other than Palazzo Pitti. Through the foundation’s projects we want to go beyond investing in the Museo della Moda’s traditional home and contribute to developing it into an international brand.”

Fanatic Feelings will focus on the immediacy and the emotional element that fashion and football share,” added Bonami, curator of the exhibition.“While the fashion runway compresses in a few linear moments the vision of a whole season, the football field stretches a different sense of time over an entire season.”

“Pitti Discovery has often investigated relationships that bind fashion and contemporary costume phenomena to sports – and soccer in particular that we have been thinking about for some time,” said Lapo Cianchi, Secretary General of the Foundation. “Now with the World Cup to be played in Russia – with the opening coinciding with Pitti Uomo, we have the right opportunity for developing a project that will be intellectually stimulating, popular and glamorous.”

The exhibition, which is free to the public, will run from June 12 through July 22 at the Complesso di Santa Maria Novella in Florence.