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Pitti Uomo fails to excite buyers

UK visitors to the Pitti Uomo menswear show in Florence were denied any new trends to help lift them out of the trading slump, with the majority of brands’ key looks moving on little from last year.

Slimmer 1960s-style fits were still prominent on suiting for spring 09, with classic Italian tailoring brands such as Canali and Corneliani offering shorter jackets and skinny trouser styles at the more fashion-oriented end of the collections. Checks and plaids were also prominent, but in beiges and greys, as well as classic monochrome.

Contrast collars and cuffs on shirts was still a big story, while slim and clean lines, and increasingly skinny collars accompanied smarter shirting.

Nautical looks were strong including stripes, badged blazers and cleanly tailored knee-length shorts. However, UK buyers are unlikely to take a punt on the Riviera colours and sea of white that characterised many of the casual collections, which were perhaps not commercial enough for a typical British summer.

The mood at the fair was mixed, but most retailers were resigned to what they believe will be a tough year ahead and were buying more tightly as a result. There was also speculation about whether key brands would return to the show next year.

John Deane-Bowers, of Trotter & Deane in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, was in an upbeat but cautious mood. “This show is an opportunity to check we are where we want to be. I’ve already done one buy this morning, which has made the trip worthwhile,” he said.

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