Pitti Uomo; it’s been described as a peacock’s paradise. A street-style bonanza. A place where the seasoned dandies of this generation set the sartorial standards for the next season and where fledgling designers, bloggers and influencers can gain a foothold in the industry. It’s also been likened to ‘Mecca (for fashionistas),’ by some men we spoke to at this edition. Set against a well-preserved Renaissance backdrop, with over 35,000 attendees (nearly a quarter of whom have come from outside of Italy), it’s not hard to see how the biannual pilgrimage to the Pitti Uomo Fair in Florence, could certainly be seen as a religious, if not spiritual experience.
Over the years it’s become more than just a trade show. More than merely a place to be seen. Rather, Pitti Uomo for its attendees, is like a reunion – the kind you really want to attend. Old friends embrace warmly. High fives, air kisses and back slaps are plenty. New faces amongst the crowd are met with curious intent and then offered a cigar as a welcome to La Famiglia Pitti. Pitti Uomo is a great big 4-day celebration where the long days stretch into afternoon aperitivi followed by fashion shows, exhibitions and parties. We aren’t ashamed to say that it’s the highlight of our year.
So after 4 days under the Tuscan sun (and rain), what did these marvelous men in their creative caper have to offer us…check out our style report below for a selection of key trends this Autumn/Winter:
Coats with the fur (with the furrr). The whole Pitti Fair was looking at you sir
Despite the surprisingly mild winter weather we experienced during Pitti 89, most finely dressed men added a coat to their repertoire. Classic double-breasted coats with big, wide, peak lapels dominated and we also saw plenty of fur (faux we assume) and shearling collars worn to great effect. Vicuna and boiled wool coats were quite popular, adding visual interest to already stylish outfits. But as we all know, it isn’t always about the ‘what,’ but the ‘how,’ and the preferred modus operandi of most coat-wearing Pitti men was over-the-shouldering or ‘bold shoulder’ whereby the coat is draped precariously over the shoulders in statement sprezzy style – just the sort of insouciance we’ve come to expect from the world’s most self-assured fashionistas.
Deep purple, crimson tide, orange is the new black, in the green zone
Thank goodness Pitti men haven’t lost their penchant for bright colours. Notwithstanding the omnipresent parade of classic winter staple colours like navy, grey and camel, there were explosions of colour around the Fortezza da Basso with burnt orange, mulberry, shades of green and crimson, worn sometimes by the brave in colour blocking anchoring pieces (coats and jackets) or more subtly as accents in the form of accessories like ties, hats, scarves and gloves. The most important thing to remember is that you must look like you’re wearing the clothes, rather than the clothes wearing you.
Long live the dandy
Now, we’ve all seen and heard about the rise in ‘streetwear’ at the Pitti Fair, however, despite calls from well-established fashion press that streetwear is taking over from more traditional Italian tailoring, in our opinion it was heartening to see that although streetwear is having some impact, it isn’t outstripping the modern dandy and we’re seeing a return to a classic interpretation of aesthetic juxtaposed with just the right amount of audacity. Sure, guys wearing flight jackets and Yeezy boots might get their photo taken a couple of times by a paparazzo, but it’s the men who pay homage to classic masculine tailoring that remain timeless and stand out for their immutable elegance. In the wise words of Oscar Wilde; “Its only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.”
Greys, browns, beiges and tan were du-jour in suiting; many taking advantage of the fact that winter means a 3-piece suit can be worn without raising a sweat. Windowpane, plaid and tartan patterns added sufficient chutzpah and often colourful accessories did the rest. Long live the Dandy.
We were happy to see a 1970s influence filter through to the Pitti Fair with the humble turtleneck or polo neck sweater making a comeback. Reminiscent of Steve McQueen or perhaps Marcello Mastrioanni, worn underneath tailored jackets and coats – eschewing the traditional shirt and necktie – turtleneck wearers sent the message loud and clear that they’re part of a new regime. At the Pitti Uomo fair, men wore both chunky cable knit and finer knitted turtleneck sweaters, with the welcome affect of accentuating the jawline, broadening the chest and lengthening the torso.
The best way to wear a turtleneck is beneath a jacket and with winter full of opportunities for layering, mixing patterns and playing with texture, a turtleneck sweater is the perfect anchor.
That’s a wrap…almost
Despite the warmer than average winter weather, men at Pitti didn’t miss the opportunity to wrap up warmly in the latest trend to have taken hold, the Manket. What’s a manket you may ask? It’s a man-blanket or a cross between a scarf and a blanket. There were variations on the theme with oversized scarves in all manner of colours and patterns draped elegantly, just so, around the shoulders and necks of firebrand Pitti goers.
A feather in your cap
By far the most coveted accessory to be wearing at Pitti Uomo was a felt hat, made of rabbit or beaver skins – rendering them impervious to any inclement weather. Whether it was a fedora, trilby or bowler, the dandy-zone was full to the brim [pardon the pun] of men adorned in their crowning glory, worn well forward on their heads, many in vibrant colours and in a charming nod to Yankee doodle dandy – stuck a feather in their hat. The hat has thankfully made a comeback and men should be quite happy about this too, as it accentuates height and lends itself to a distinguished and sophisticated aesthetic.
Just when you think Pitti Uomo can’t get any bigger, bolder and better, each edition tops the one before. It’s always mixed emotions when the time comes for the circus to leave town. At once you’re relieved to be able to take a breath, but it’s always a little sad to go back to reality after eating, sleeping and breathing all things menswear. Pitti Uomo is the epicenter for men’s style, so if you’re in anyway wanting the jump on what you’ll see in the stores next season, gentlemen take note.