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What a Pitti some didn’t come to Florence

Ian Wright

Last week I left for my first Pitti Uomo with a particular buyer’s words ringing in my ears (well, inbox, but you get the idea) who said that for his store the Florentine event didn’t offer enough to warrant sending anyone.

Last week I left for my first Pitti Uomo with a particular buyer’s words ringing in my ears (well, inbox, but you get the idea) who said that for his store the Florentine event didn’t offer enough to warrant sending anyone. A damning indictment if ever I heard (read) one. One week on and having popped my cherry-coloured penny loafers, I would argue there’s still plenty to get your teeth into, no matter at what level of the market you operate.

It’s true, Florence can be expensive and the pomp and ceremony that goes with the event isn’t to everyone’s taste but for every preening, Tommy Ton-targeting peacock and flashy event, there’s a host of brands that look strong and have very few accounts, if any, in the UK, vital for creating that elusive point of difference. Our full report on the show on pages 33 to 38 will talk about the key brands we unearthed while strolling around the Fortezza, so I won’t bore you with the same information, but it was clear from this season’s show that the brands still take it seriously even if a minority of buyers don’t.

There is a real premium air around the stands and it’s little wonder since it’s still the first proper trade show of the menswear season (sorry London Collections). Brands are keen to figuratively and literally set their stalls out for the season, debuting secret-squirrel special projects, collaborations and new lines to an excitable and expectant industry. It makes for a buzzy atmosphere, as buyers and press get their first looks at what the brands are proposing to get us to part with our cash. Layer on top of that the unrivalled street style, decadent special events, the beautiful city of Florence and, on this occasion at least, blisteringly beautiful weather and Pitti Uomo should remain the top of all our menswear lists season on season. Perhaps the naysayers are missing out…

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