Pitti Uomo 91 recap
by Mikolaj Pawelczak (www.blueloafers.com)
Every edition Pitti Uomo, the most well known menswear trade fair in the world, is different. Different in a way you experience it and things you remember it for. You either come to Florence for the whole week of Italian holidays or have a strict focus on business side of things and spend two/three days effectively running from one meeting to the other. Our goal this time was to enjoy the time, see friends and try not to focus on any schedule.
Shorter trip, like ours this time is not only more affordable but more importantly allows you to focus on things you really want to spend your time on, hence enjoy them. As we all know, seeing old friends at Pitti Uomo is not only one of the most important but certainly enjoyable moments. There is no other occasion when almost every person, who is serious about menswear, tailoring or shoes, comes to the same city at the same time. It is truly special and unique.
Figure 1. Group photo: Szymon Jeziorko (All Tied Up blog), the Author, two guys from Monokel Berlin and Benedikt Fries (Shibumi).
On our first day (Tuesday) we only had time to check-in to our hotel, have a casual Italian lunch in a neighbouring Mercato Centrale and head to the fair to pick up our Press passes. There was maybe an hour or two to walk around the main pavilion for a quick glance at the brand's booths. Also - we wanted to check out the main theme, which this time was called "Pitti dance-off". As exciting the music was the dancing mops and cleaning gloves at the main square were rather dull and no good as a photo background at all! I have to admit though it was the nicest sunset of the trip that evening and we took some quality photos then.
Figure 2. Wil Whiting (shirtmaker from London, UK).
Tuesday evening was a day of the biggest event at Pitti - Simon Crompton's Permanent Style blog Symposium - this time in collaboration with Swedish menswear magazine Plaza Uomo. Fantastic location in old Palazzo Budini Gatai does all the job. One doesn't need much more than wine, snacks, great international company and beautiful surroundings. This time the Symposium focused on Retail/Independent Stores. There were very interesting guests invited including Patrick from Skoaktiebolaget, Mark Cho from The Armoury or Ethan Newton from Brycelands. Unfortunately the scene was positioned on the opposite side of the main hall to the bar and entrance. As you can imagine with the first night, when all the people are excited because they haven't seen each other for at least 6 months, the talking couldn't stop! It proved to not be the greatest idea and hence very difficult to hear what the guests were saying. Regardless, event was very nice and we finished the evening at the dinner with Norman Vilalta - the shoemaker from Barcelona, Wil Whiting - young and upcoming shirtmaker from London and Benedikt Fries - from Shibumi.
Figure 3. Symposium on Retail/Independent stores by Simon Crompton and Plaza Uomo.
Day 2 (Wednesday) was the busiest ever. Seems like everyone arrived that day. No surprise, it is usually the busiest and most important day of the week for the fair. In order not to rush around the Fortezza da Basso in a crazy crowd I decided to arrange my fitting for a bespoke sport coat with Polish tailor Zaremba for this morning. Apparently I was not the only one who decided to do the same. After the fitting and a coffee we headed for the trade fair. Most of the day was spent on chatting to our friends from the industry, enjoying relatively sunny day, browsing fantastic booth of Orazio Luciano, chat with Michael Hill from Drake's and a conversation on socks with German brand Falke. Every now and then, as you can imagine, there is a need to download the photos and keep the Instagram feed live, so short breaks in the press room with free coffee are very common. The big event in the evening was courtesy of the renewed tailors Liverano & Liverano. It was the best opportunity to talk to the elite of tailoring in the world as almost every famous tailor came to at least say 'ciao' to Antonio Liverano. Guests were outstanding and we could admire the perfectly cut suits, overcoats and sport coats. The day was finished with a big dinner - food wise, not by the number of people. We ordered the classic Florentine steaks and few bottles of wine which lasted until after midnight. Last drink at the Piazza della Repubblica in Cafe Gilli and we headed home after 2am.
Figure 4. Salvatore Ambrosi in an amazing bespoke overcoat by Panico (Christian Vierig / Getty Images)
Thursday is usually more quiet and relaxed. It was our last day and the 10am check out made us get up and have the luggage packed early. After quick breakfast and cappuccino we headed for the last stroll at the Fortezza da Basso. This was the time when I finally started reviewing this edition of Pitti Uomo and I had my first conclusions and thoughts.
I think it was quite interesting from outerwear perspective, particularly overcoats. Double breasted polo coats have been absolutely the most popular ones, navy seemed to lead the way in cashmere and heavy wools. The most beautiful overcoat is a courtesy of Neapolitan trouser maker Salvatore Ambrosi who was wearing a raglan coat with a belt in a navy windowpane cloth. Simply amazing. The suits are getting a little bit more generous in cut, not as slim and skinny as in the past few years. The gorge is definitely a bit lower and the lapels are quite classic and wide. I saw less double monks, that's for sure but at the same time, quite a lot of loafers. Surprising for winter season. Last but not least - hats. This is clearly a trend and many brands started offering them this season.
Figure 5. Popular look with a hat
Even though, for the first time in a very long time, big RTW brands Kiton and Isaia decided not to come to Pitti, I still think it is the event to go to if you are menswear enthusiast or businessman. Almost everyone goes there, this is its strength and people around the world are not getting any less excited about this fair. Maybe because of this more "peacocks" try to catch photographers attention but I look away and do not to focus on them. Instead I prefer to look for the good, classic style, the reason I got interested in menswear in the first place. Florence, twice a year, seems still like a great place to do just that if the city in itself is not good enough reason for you to visit.
Enjoy few more photos from Pitti Uomo 91 below.
All photos courtesy of Mikolaj Pawelczak (Blue Loafers blog: www.blueloafers.com) unless stated otherwise.