“Boom Pitti Blooms” was the theme for this 92nd edition of Pitti Uomo, but instead of blooming, most men were wilting under the extreme weather conditions. The flags in the central Piazza that billowed violently in the wind last year, were becalmed for the most part and general conversation starters around the Fortezza da Basso were exclamations of Caldissimo! How hot is it?! Quickly followed up with; where did you get that a) water b) gelato c) Aperol spritz.
Now, let this be the last time we speak about the sweltering weather in Florence during Pitti Uomo, it is after all the height of the Italian Summer, what does one expect? But it must be said that the consensus amongst regular attendees was that this was the hottest Pitti Uomo ever experienced and that did somewhat dictate the general mood and wardrobe choices inside the Fortezza, with many men simply opting out of the usual peacock-ing and instead roosting in the shade. At times, you could have fired a canon through the usually bustling piazza, and not hit anyone. Notwithstanding the odd Aperol spritz or gelato break, that meant that only the true warriors of the sartorial world were left standing, a kind of survival of the fittest as it were, and thankfully we endured to tell the tale. Here’s our round up of some of the key looks we saw for Spring/Summer 2018.
Pitti Uomo wouldn’t be Pitti Uomo without the plethora of colourful combinations exploding around the Fortezza da Basso; no wonder there was a strong military presence. As in previous years, bright greens, blues, reds and pastel shades in between were worn both in separate blazers and colour blocked in full suits, more than occasionally with a strong windowpane or herringbone pattern for full effect. Whether you’re game to take these looks straight outta Florence to the main street is another thing entirely, but colour can really take your look from bland to boom in a heartbeat and is certainly a show of confidence in the wearer.
The white stuff
White is hard to beat for a chic summertime look; versatile, fresh and classic, a white jacket or pair of trousers is an anchor from which you can add whatever colour palette you wish. But going for a white out, that is, matching white blazer with white trousers is not a look for everyone. For best effect, you need a little bit of a tan, darker skin or to break up the look with some contrasting accessories. That’s exactly what Pitti men did this edition and you should take your cues from the immaculately put together Giorgio Giangiulio (middle of picture below).
Beige is anything but bland
Natural, earthy tones such as beige, fawn and taupe were on-trend this season with many men at Pitti opting for complete suits or separates. This neutral colour when worn with crisp white or blue shirting is fantastic for an elegant and understated look that’s anything but basic. Beige doesn’t have to be boring when worn the right way.
The fabric of summer
Linen and seersucker were superior choices for the sartorially sweat-free gent; the cool, crisp and lightweight qualities of the fabric established the linen suit as a winner over several unbearably hot days. Of course, when tailored to perfection, the movement and natural creasing qualities of the linen fabric made for a thoroughly stylish and dare we say it, sprezzy look. A popular fabric to wear for suiting during warm European summers, it surprises us that more men don’t opt to wear the beautiful draping fabric in Australia, given our climate.
If you’re going to Pitti Uomo, be sure to wear some floral
This year’s theme for Pitti Uomo was “Boom Pitti Blooms” and the obvious flora reference served up a fecundity of attention-grabbing botanical prints. For the more avant guarde, the floral treatment was applied mainly to shirting in all-over prints and for those who wished to pay homage to the theme albeit in a more understated way, accessories such as ties, pocket squares and neckerchiefs were just enough to complete a fresh summertime and on-trend look.
Your style is way too loud, you need to cut it
At times, it is difficult to avert your eyes from the colour bomb that seems to flourish within the confines of Pitti, but it’s the elegant and often, Neapolitan tailoring in navy and blue tones that really makes our hearts sing. Neapolitan tailoring shines in the warmer summer months, designed to be lightweight with minimal lining and no padding in the shoulders, the distinctive and nonchalant look is what typically one thinks of when ‘hashtag sprezzatura’ is bandied about.
Coming full circle
Not surprisingly, colourful, mirrored lenses were de rigeur at Pitti Uomo this year, often used to accent or reflect a colour in the outfit with the added benefit of shielding the blinding sun and masking any tired eyes. Aviators, way-farers, tea-cup styles and all those in-between were around but we noticed a trend towards circular, round glasses. We certainly noticed more side-shield sunnies this Pitti, continuing the trend from last summer edition, proving that Pitti men set the trends for coming seasons.
No rough necks here!
With more men opting to loosen their top button and go tie-less, this opened up another possibility for adorning the neck; Neckerchiefs and neck scarfs were worn loosely, draped around the neck or sometimes tied in Ascot style and in colours that either contrasted or complemented the outfit. A neckerchief or foulard is a great option when you want to elevate your outfit to the next level and channel some Riviera high style.
Fedoras of course still rule the roost at Pitti Uomo, however another topper, which has risen in popularity, is the boater hat. The boater was out in force around Pitti Uomo, worn jauntily and with aplomb. Rooted in sailing, boating and privilege, boaters are traditionally a summertime, formal hat and the men who opted for a boater definitely exuded a polished and unmistakably chic ‘summertime’ vibe.
Double monk straps and loafers were of course the choice of shoe for most men at Pitti, however rather than standard issue browns and blacks, this edition we saw far more colour (a lot of blue) and customisation going on (initials on your shoes anyone?) with many men having their shoes specially made for the occasion. Of course, no socks required, just a nice turn-up cuff to show off a tanned ankle.
Long live dandyism
Dandyism is alive and well and it’s great to see that the movement has found a foothold at Pitti.
Groups of men, en masse, who identify themselves along the spectrum of Dandyism, gathered in their finery to admire and be admired, is something to behold and part of what makes Pitti the greatest show of men and menswear on earth. What might be lost on many is that some (not all) of these dandies are showcasing tailoring skills, either their own or someone else’s and well, isn’t the point to get peoples attention? As Dr. Seuss says, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.”