Italy’s fashion leaders gathered in large numbers to honor Bruce Pasko at a morning ceremony for the acclaimed fashion authority at the US Consulate in Florence on Thursday.
“When you go to a show or a salon and Bruce is there, you always know you’re at the right event. If not, then you know something is wrong,” commented Raffaele Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Imagine, the world’s most important menswear showroom, in a speech that received a standing ovation.
Brunello Cucinelli, Massimiliano Giornetti, Claudio Marenzi and Suzy Menkes received a standing ovation.
In a brilliant career, Pask first came to Pitti 30 years ago as a young editor for GQ, returning some 50 times as he rose through the ranks, then for Cargo; then as fashion editor of the New York Times and for the last eight years as a retailer.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be here. Growing up in a small town in Arizona, I never imagined that I would have a career in fashion… I never dreamed that I would be traveling around the world and working regularly in this extraordinary city,” said Pask.
Pask is the director of menswear for Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, making him the biggest “pen” in menswear, or the industry’s most powerful buyer, in industry parlance. He is such an expert, he even has his own concept boutique, the B store inside Bergdorf Goodman.
The date of the ceremony on February 12 was carefully chosen. Because on February 12, 1951, the legendary First Italian High Fashion Show organized by Count Giovan Battista Giorgini was held, which is generally considered the starting point of the post-war flourishing of Italian fashion.
“Fashion has always been a bridge between Italy and the United States and is a key part of our incredibly strong bilateral relationship,” noted Consul General Ragini Gupta.
Her predecessor as consul actually attended Giorgina’s joint exhibition, as did a dozen American buyers, one of whom was Pasko’s predecessor at Neiman Marcus.
Even today, America is the largest single market for Italian fashion.
“Bruce is not just a friend, he is an extremely professional person. He is a reference for us. He is the ambassador of Florence and Pitti Imagine,” Napoleon emphasized.
Praising Pasko for remaining a “constant presence in Florence” during the difficult recovery from the pandemic, Napoleone called him “a fashion icon recognized around the world for his original style and contemporary elegance.”
In his own speech, Pask said: “I am extremely honored to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor who attended that first fashion show here… The Pitti Uomo that followed in 1972 set Florence on the path to becoming the global crossroads of the luxury menswear business.”
Pask is also a guest lecturer at Polimoda, the famous Florentine fashion college located right next to the consulate on the banks of the Arno.
“My vision of menswear is constantly informed and .. enriched by what I see and experience here in Florence. To the gifted designers, makers, artisans and tailors, many of you in this room… The expansive creativity you generously share season after season. You fuel my curiosity, you inspire my creativity, and I am incredibly grateful,” enthused Pask, who paused briefly, overcome with emotion, as he recalled his late stepfather, a second-generation Italian American.
“He would be incredibly proud of this moment, as I am. Grazie mila,” Pask concluded.
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