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Pitti Uomo Autumn/Winter 09

Veteran Pitti-goers have a habit of congregating at the Piazza della Repubblica after the show where the serious networking is built on the foundations of squandering a small fortune on overpriced cocktails.

While this once raised barely a flicker of the expense account, last week many a travelling buyer baulked at the cost of a Negroni.

The price list hasn’t changed but we are all much more aware of spending now. So much so in fact that plenty of buyers decided it would be wiser to stay at home altogether. Certainly the Piazza, once temporarily annexed by the UK menswear trade, was notable for the paucity of English-speaking voices.

It is for this reason that, instead of delivering our usual trend round-up, we are presenting more detailed collection reports. Over the next five pages these centre on major tailoring and lifestyle brands. And on page xx there is a sampling of more peripheral, directional and emerging brands.

For an overview though, a glance at the pictures on these pages will confirm that – while inky blues and dark browns are gathering momentum – grey remains the key colour on tailoring. However, the plain cloths were vastly outnumbered in Florence by the checks. In part it is the influence of Dolce & Gabanna’s penchant for plaid, which has helped to usher in more conspicuously traditional fabrications – though these are often presented with tongue placed firmly in cheek. But it is equally the retro elegance of the 1950s, which creative directors at the Italian brands Corneliani and Pal Zileri both cited as the key influence for their designs. This in turn has helped effect a tweaking of the silhouette for the Italian brands – a wider, higher breaking lapel, and a longer jacket. In these uncertain times a man cuts a masculine dash in such wide shouldered shapes.

Elsewhere though, the slimmer and shorter 1960s-cut remains key and this follows through for both heritage tailors and contemporary lifestyle brands. And it is a similar development of familiar stories that held sway on other categories. Shirts came in slim fits with narrow collars and contrast plackets for a sophisticated offering, which was contrasted by a smorgasbord of checks. On knitwear, shawl collars and longer lines are re-worked in finer gauges as are cabling details. But kitsch intarsia work sees fairaisle styles emerge strongly. Patchwork was an essential detail and barely a tailored jacket was without contrasting elbows. For outerwear, the pea coat stays central and the duffle looks directional while more tech fabrics reflect brands’ investment in performance details.

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