Behind The Blinds Magazine - Pitti Uomo - MSGM

Celebrating 30 years of Pitti Immagine -which came to life in 1989- the last edition of Pitti Uomo in Florence demonstrated its true leadership and strength within the menswear market, as well as a growing sense of relevance. 

Established brands and newcomers presented their collections in Florence and the calendar was packed with alluring shows, cultural events and special areas within the fair, which drew thousands of visitors from all around the world. As Milan Menswear Week keeps shrinking -and key brands such as Prada decide to show their work abroad- Pitti Uomo has become Italy’s most exciting and innovative menswear event, operating unexpected crossroads between fashion and other disciplines.

This year, major brands did runway shows in Florence, using some of the city’s most unique locations. The French House of Givenchy was Pitti’s special guest this season and Clare Waight Keller got the opportunity to showcase her full menswear line for the very first time. Salvatore Ferragamo also presented their new collection in Florence, embracing a deluxe and minimalist approach that felt right and relevant. MSGM celebrated its 10th anniversary with an upbeat runway show and it was great to see that Massimo Giorgetti hasn’t lost any of his acute fashion sense. The collections that were the most successful were also the most personal and American artist Sterling Ruby’s debut show was a standout statement, which felt raw, free and uncompromising. Naming his line “S.R. Studio. LA. CA.”, Ruby showed pieces for men and women that were instant collector’s items, from one of a kind garments to more commercial offerings. Fusing vibrant colors and customized textiles with bold volumes and inspiring references, Ruby proved that an outsider’s point of view can have a real impact within fashion circles and it wasn’t a surprise that both Raf Simons and Virgil Abloh attended his show.

On the fair front, a similar desire to create new crossroads and fruitful exchanges could be felt. Operating the right mix between heritage brands, sportswear lines and handcrafted accessories is something the organizers of the fair know how to do perfectly and this edition really had something for everyone. Visiting the underground space dedicated to China’s new menswear brands emphasized the ongoing growth of that segment within a market eager for novelty and distinctive points of view. Olivier Saillard’s retrospective menswear exhibition at Palazzo Pitti -entitled “Romanzo Breve di Moda Maschile”- made it clear that plurality has been a driving force in menswear since the late 1980s. The modern man no longer needs clothing as a protective armor or social signifier since fashion has become a thriving field of multiple identities and self-expression. This 96th edition of the fair was indeed the moment where this dimension of fashion could precisely come to life.

/ Words by Philippe Pourhashemi /

/ MSGM picture by Vanni Bassetti /


Brussels-based photographer Pierre Debusschere may be known for his fashion work -and prestigious clients such as Raf Simons, Delvaux, Dior, Louis Vuitton or Italian Vogue- he nevertheless has a much wider repertoire. His latest exhibition, entitled ‘UNcovered’ and staged within the walls of the MAD building in the center of Brussels, is a powerful and intimate show mixing film and photography. ‘UNcovered’ explores key notions of identity, social roles and body representation, but it is not a didactic or divisive show. It invites us to reflect on immediacy instead, emphasizing the individuality of each subject. The Belgian worked 10 months on the exhibition, making it one of his most personal statements to date. We sat down with Debusschere to discuss his creative vision, his evolving relationship to the industry and why he loved being alone with his models.


Philippe Pourhashemi:  With this exhibition, it feels that your work has become less ‘plastic’ and more direct than before. Do you see this change yourself?

Pierre Debusschere: I’m actually pleased you describe it this way, but it’s not really a change for me, more of an evolution. For this exhibition, I was interested in the idea of layers and masks. I also wanted to spend more time with the people I photographed.


PH: How long would an average sitting last?

PD: Around 2 hours each time. This was very different from shooting a fashion image where you are with a much larger team. I was on my own with the models every time and could really focus on them. I even did the make-up myself. That was quite pleasurable for me.


PH: The make-up is quite impressive. Was it easy to get people to take their clothes off?

PD: People knew they were going to be naked, but I didn’t shoot them like that straight away. They used their blankets first and the image happened gradually. There is one image in the show where you only see the blanket over the body for instance.


PH: How did you find your sitters?

PD: Some were people I spotted at parties, some were actual models I had worked with and wanted to have in the studio again. I was looking for diversity and different body types.


PH: It took you 10 months to put the exhibition together. Did you focus on this project only?

PD: No, I had to work at the same time, doing commercial and editorial commissions. Let’s say that there were quite a few sleepless nights, but I’m happy with the outcome.


PH: Did you photograph everyone in Brussels?

PD: Yes, I photographed all the sitters in my own studio in Forest. It was important for me that they lived here, too, and there is only one person in the show who is not from Brussels.


PH: How do you reconcile the commercial aspect of your work with more creative projects like this one? Is there a big divide between the two?

PD: Actually, I enjoy both aspects equally. Of course, it’s nice to work on an exhibition and have complete creative freedom, but I also like to collaborate with clients to understand what kind of imagery they’re looking for. In fact, I’m more comfortable with this aspect now than I was in the past.


PH: You listed the names of all the people who helped you with ‘UNcovered’. Why was that important for you?

PD: I really envisage this as a collective effort and this was my way to underline that.


PH: A lot of images within contemporary fashion photography seem interchangeable. How do you distinguish yourself?

PD: You could argue that everything has been done before, but I don’t believe that. It’s still possible to create engaging and innovative pictures, except that we all know there’s quite a bit of copying around. For me, there is a difference between using a reference to re-appropriate it within your work and simple copy paste. That is not the same process creatively.


PH: What did you want to communicate with ‘UNcovered’?

PD: My images are open doors. I like to raise questions within my work, but everyone is free to find their own interpretation. 



/ Interview by Philippe Pourhashemi /

/ Images Courtesy of Pierre Debusschere /



July 12th - September 30th 2018
Wednesday to Sunday – 11 AM – 6 PM
Openings July 12th & September 7th 6PM-10PM
MAD, Place du nouveau marché aux grains, 10
1000 Brussels.