Move over Paris Fashion Week, the most coveted event in the fashion calendar is suddenly Pitti Uomo. For those who just came in, the biannual menswear trade fair hosted by Florence is three days of impossibly chic men whose idea of fashion is as quotidian as coffee for breakfast.
Since most of us are done with celebrities doing the peacock in freebie dresses on assorted red carpets, and the done-and-done-again pirouette of fashion weeks, Pitti offers you a delicious reality we’ve all been hoping truly exists.
The trade fair is for the best menswear labels in the world — not the bespoke suit-makers of Savile Ro — but labels that provide trends and quality at easy and accessible prices. From fine Brunello Cucinelli to Antony Morato — the polos, shirts, jackets and sportswear available here make menswear a major retail player.
Naturally, the boys who flock here are eye candy. The fair takes place at the jaw-dropping Fortezza da Basso fort that is all dressed up for the show. The stands range from little pop-ups to grander boutiques, like Scotch & Soda’s lifestyle space to Morato’s pool party with gratis Martini cocktails.
At the centre courtyard is where all the people-watching happens. A long, low wall is lined with the beautiful men in their dapper suits, rolled up pants, groomed beards and reflective sunglasses. Suzy Menkes, Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman, The Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed and HuffPost’s style editors are here, as are an assortment of the most popular fashion chroniclers.
A sizeable Indian contingent is present too, to learn a thing or two about its biggest moneyball. It is well known that most of the manna from India’s malls comes from its men’s stores. Menswear in retail is a far more accurate science than women’s wear.
Studies that track the development in men’s fashion are more genuine and distinct. Whether it is tailoring or sportswear (the fashion big story today), men’s clothing is clearly defined for its social, economic and age classes.
This is also why Vito Dell’Erba is here. The newly appointed creative head of Raymond has arrived with his Indian team to study trends and markets. The dishy designer who previously headed Givenchy menswear and Miu Miu, is bent on bringing some Italian eleganza to India’s premier go-to suit-maker.
The focus on men in fashion was especially notable at the awards ceremonies this year. While style arbiters have hitherto been photographing women’s gowns and jewellery, and the men have been little else than tuxedo-clad props, attention has shifted focus.
The man-bun has emerged to be far more elegant than a premium Swiss watch, thanks to Jared Leto and Alex Ebert. The ‘mankle’ pants (trousers cropped to reveal to the man’s ankle) are all the rage. Ranveer Singh’s fash-flash is more anticipated than Deepika Padukone’s or even Sonam Kapoor’s.
Pitti Uomo especially tells you that even though men’s fashion may be strictly business, it certainly isn’t boring.