Visitor numbers were down, some big name exhibitors were absent, and the trading mood was subdued, but there was plenty of innovation on the product front at Pitti Uomo.
The absence of Italian tailoring’s big guns from the show’s epicentre deep in the bowels of the Padiglione Centrale had a number of knock-on effects. Without the must-see clamour of Canali, Pal Zileri, and Ermenegildo Zegna, buyers were forced to spend fewer hours pouring over the formal menswear, and more time investigating the outlying exhibition halls. Those that devoted their time to this exercise were rewarded with a directional mix of contemporary casualwear with a focus on soft easy-to-throw-on tailoring shapes.
Never short on trends, Pitti Uomo was not without its seasonal array of key looks which informed many of the collections in attendance. But, if truth be told, menswear trends (particularly in the formalwear arena) are recycled with as much regularity as episodes of Friends. So, it’s little surprise to see the revival of khaki, white and seersucker, as well as checks, stripes and grey. A more consistent reappraisal of the double-breasted silhouette made an innovative statement while the use of denim-inspired fabrics, including dry denim cottons and chambrays on tailoring looked fresh and commercial.
More significant was a commitment from lifestyle and casualwear brands to soft, unstructured tailoring. These languid shapes, in a mix of double-breasted and single-breasted, some notch lapelled and others peaked, were unified by their use of textured cottons and washed-out colours, and made a fitting sartorial distraction from the stricter tailoring uniforms associated with the financial institutions behind our latest recession.
It was a shame then that so few UK buyers made the trip to Florence, particularly from the department stores, as this was the edition when Pitti Uomo re-seeded its roots as an essential platform for the world’s most beautiful, artisanal menswear.
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