I enjoy going to Pitti Uomo in Florence in January. It’s working blended in with pleasure. The historical city is romantic, charming, and pleasing to the eye. The best characteristic about Pitti Uomo is the atmosphere. Mens outfits of the day take center stage. Dandy’s dressed up showing off their best looks, always up for a conversation about what they are wearing.
This year the bi-annual menswear gathering felt a bit subdued. Low-key to the point of average. What Happened? I am not so sure. Many brands pulled back this year. Instead of celebrations, somber reflection took place.
It Had to Happen
I had conversations about Barneys New York. The luxury department store had been floundering for a while, but there was optimism it would pull through. Not this time, the bankruptcy hit home. An earthquake felt around the mens fashion world. If this one, who is next? Barneys championed new brands. A place to test trends. The menswear buyer was well known at Pitti Uomo, always talking to designers and labels about their collections. No more! The New York iconic flagship store has “Going Out of Business” and “Everything Must Go” signs on the doors and windows. More thought provoking, nothing has emerged to take Barneys place. Making it harder for new designers to break into mainstream consumer conscienceless.
There were gems of course at Pitti Uomo. I visited Japanese shoe designer Kanpekina. His footwear makes me tingle. A second Japanese designer I met, Kunihiko Morinaga from Anrealage, produces many unique menswear pieces. Especially stunning are his statement patchwork looks in the form of jackets and polo shirts. The finish and rich details demonstrate luxury tailoring.
Florence is a city of Grand Settings. I have had the privilege of visiting a few during Pitti Uomo. The most impressive presentation was by Brioni for its 75thanniversary. The luxury brand wanted set the scene for luxury, a Florentine Palazzo. Six rooms with a chamber concert musicians wearing the latest looks. Take That Downton Abbey!
Stay Tuned for more on Pitti Uomo.