This go-round, the Pitti Uomo 92 report has been written for Parisian Gentleman by contributor Jussi Häkkinen, for a northern perspective on the most well known menswear trade show in the world.
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“It’s so hot, isn’t it?” Some variation of this sentence was heard in almost every conversation at Pitti Uomo 92 this time around. I have to agree, Pitti 92 was one of the most taxing in regard to climate, particularly as I’m from the North and used to friendlier summer temperatures.
Particularly after day two, the heat seemed to affect the number of attendees–a deficiency which was visible from the square, and even more so when the crowds flocked inside to escape the blistering burn of the sun. It seemed some of the buyers and bloggers did a first day-or-two run-through to take care of business and then quickly escaped to cooler regions.
photo and opening image above by Fabrizio Di Paoloph
While the daytime seemed quieter than usual, the importance of evening events was enhanced. From the gorgeous garden party at Palazzo Budini Gattai by Plaza Uomo magazine & Kronaby watches to the intimate and conversational “Jeans Revisited” event of Pommella Napoli, aficionados gathered together for their favourite past time – to discuss clothing, trends, and to my personal delight, share a passion towards the fine-nerdery of creating garments.
If I had to pick one (just one) from the incredible array of events as being particularly memorable, I’d choose the Liverano & Liverano event. After rushing to the even through the city of Florence, lead by the insanely-fast walking pace of Hugo Jacomet & Norman Vilalta (and being worried about my fiancée keeping up with us in her high heels), I had one of the most pleasant surprises of my life – a classic rock concert, with Hugo Jacomet jumping behind the drums and Bernhard Roetzel playing guitar and singing. As Mr. Roetzel’s “Gentleman” was, for many Finns (and certainly for the current rise of classic style) the springboard to fine menswear, it was a great pleasure to meet my first “tutor” this way – and a subsequent surprise to hear him open a conversation with me by speaking a few words in Finnish.
Of course, the main topic of Pitti Uomo is clothing. From a personal perspective, while I found some of the booths and collections interesting, I continue to discover the visitors to be the “soul” of modern Pitti–the inspirational crowds of people, peacocks and classic gentlemen paint, each day, a different picture of what the next year shall be. Our small crew of friends and colleagues took some notes about these trends that I’m happy to share with you.
photo : Sartorial Notes
Seersucker, a beautifully puckered summer fabric, seemed to be everywhere at Pitti 92. From the very classic blue-striped cotton to the pristinely white version, many variations could be seen. While I had heard comments about seersucker being “Southern States LARP”, and that nobody in their right mind would have a cotton suit commissioned by a bespoke tailor, I must admit to having the urge to have a seersucker suit for quite a few years.
My favorite example would be a beautiful double breasted, navy blue silk and merino Loro Piana seersucker suit made by master tailor Steven Hitchcock for a Danish gentleman. From afar, Hitchcock’s creation looked like it had been crafted from heavy, softly draping worsted wool. Yet up close, the suit and fabric’s originality became apparent. My congratulations to Mr. Hitchcock for creating that particular masterpiece.
photo: Fabrizio Di Paoloph
Many gentlemen opted to tone down the formality of their suits and sport coats by wearing denim and chambray shirts. While this trend has been going on for a while already, it seems to be finally finding its finest form. With its ability to gain a beautiful patina in washes, the indigo dyed shirt has found its way to the hearts of the very same people who can’t wait for their shoes to age and show their character. In these shirts, workwear steps into the world of curated menswear, adding some roots and a civilized bit of roughness into the blend. In its lighter form – especially in chambray – it seems to be the perfect summer shirt, looking equally nice with or without the jacket. I must get one, soon.
Safari jackets, workwear and military vibes
photo : Erik Mannby
Following denim shirts in its rough style, safari jackets were chosen by many Pitti goers. While I admit being a bit suspicious about their versatility, they quickly won me over – especially their finely tailored style. Hand sewing and impeccably executed details ascended the practical garment to new heights. Equally at home with light summer wool trousers and a pair of worn-in jeans, this is, in my mind, one of the most versatile purchases one can make for his summer wardrobe.
Alongside the safari jackets, military styles – especially those of a desert origin – were seen frequently in collections and worn by attendees. As they’re designed to be versatile, military items are easy to pair even with more formal styles. Everyone should own a good field jacket and perhaps, also consider a chore jacket for cool summer and autumn weekends.
Naturally flowing together with military and safari styles, the workwear trend is still raging. Adaptable, no-nonsense styles can be worn by anyone, adding multi-usable items to a wardrobe.
When it comes to shoes, loafers held their place as a summer favourite. However (as shown in the above image), one trend was clear and perhaps amplified by the heat of Florence: Espadrilles.
Originating in the Basque country, the colourful, practical footwear seemed to be the antidote to fend off scorching rays while at the same time allowing the feet to breathe. Aside the denim shirt, espadrilles topped my “I need those” list, for cool and stylish practicality. With numerous styles and forms, espadrilles can be taken from the beach to the street, and I would almost dare to say, coupled with suits–even with more formal styles.
photo : Flannels and Tweed
When summer, wear linen. This maxim is something to live by. While linen can’t really be called a ‘summer trend’, its prevalence is undeniable (I wore a green silk-linen-wool summer tweed jacket on Day 1). As a full linen or a linen blend, the cloth’s ability to keep the wearer cooler is practically unmatchable. It’s hard to praise linen enough, as it’s available in all forms and formalities, save the highest formal styles. If you live in warmer climates, you need at least one linen outfit in your wardrobe for the hottest of days.
Green is the New Brown
photos : Flannels and Tweed
Last year, everyone seemed to wear brown. This year, green had taken its place, especially in a form of lighter shades of pistachio, wasabi and sage (no, I’m not referring to my favourite dip recipes). I’ve always seen green as almost as versatile as navy, so naturally enjoyed seeing the colour being applied in different forms. While some may be taken aback by a new colour, green can be worn by anyone when paired with toned-down accessories. Cream, white, light grey and sand coloured trousers, as well as navy and brown ties with a pale-blue shirt, can accompany a green jacket perfectly. Add a pop of colour with a pocket square and you’re the coolest cat among your friends sporting a navy jacket.
photo : Fabrizio Di Paoloph
Hardly a surprise to anyone following the menswear scene, weaves and rough textures are still cherished. While incredibly thin wools may be the “go to” for a summer wardrobe, still, rougher textures and fabrics often drape better and feel more substantial. Open weaves can help keep you as cool – or even cooler – than thin fabrics, while being interesting to the eye. Rougher, heavier textures also turn your suit into a versatile item, allowing the jacket to be worn with heavier trousers or even jeans, extending its range from wear to the office, for weekend/nightlife, and for different seasons.
Less seen this year: loud checks
While loud checks have often been a symbol of Pitti peacocks, they weren’t as widely seen this summer. Naturally, this is, I think, also a versatility issue. While a boldly checked jacket might be very striking when used correctly, the pattern also makes the garment very memorable. Since one seldom wants to be known as “the guy in the loud jacket”, a plain jacket is usually a safer, more versatile choice, giving more uses and combinations to its wearer.
Naturally, checks aren’t all dead and I could spot a couple of very beautiful, subdued patterns that do not suffer from same stigma as their loud cousins. These can be worn without fear, as they mainly add interest into the fabric, instead of stealing it from the wearer.
Parisian Gentleman paddled against the tide on this one, if only for a wink.