By and and  on June 16, 2017
Z Zegna

FLORENCE — Melting temperatures failed to sap the upbeat energy at the Pitti Uomo fair here. Despite ongoing global economic and political instabilities, the four-day men’s wear trade show, which wraps today, was bursting at the seams, with many retailers confessing to feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of brands on display.“You need to focus on the right brand environment, you need to filter,” said Le Bon Marché’s men's buyer Jérémy Grodenic, who sensed, “more than ever before,” good vibrations coming from the brands and their collections, with a range of prints inspired by nature and animals.The event’s pull factor in terms of participating designers also packed a punch. For Bruce Pask, men's fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, the roster of “special fashion guests” — from major shows by J.W. Anderson and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh to Christian Louboutin's “charming” bike polo matches in Piazza Santa Maria Novella — made for the “most impressive lineup in recent memory.”Pask also mentioned Italy’s Federico Curradi, who is “making a name for himself with thoughtful, romantic and wearable ready-to-wear with an artful touch,” and Milan-based Alanui, which showcased its “richly colored and graphic belted cashmere statement sweaters” as sculptures in a beautiful old greenhouse in town, among the highlights.Given the beach-like temperatures, the fair’s Australia section fittingly drew buzz, notably upscale surf-inspired label Ex Infinitas, which had the retailers circling. They included Reece Crisp, men’s wear buying manager at Farfetch.com, who said it was one of the most exciting labels he’s seen in a long time.Lee Goldup, men’s wear buyer at Brownsfashion.com, which has the U.K. exclusive on the label’s current collection, said: “It’s been great to see Lukas Vincent's vision continue to evolve season after season. The brand’s surf and subcultural influences are still evident, but the collection feels more luxury now.”With customers “looking for the hottest new product at a faster rate than ever,” Goldup said the fluidity trend, which has given rise to a “definite shift in the way our customers shop, with women shopping more freely in men’s wear, though not yet reflected in the organization of our shop floor and visual merchandising strategies, is already informing the men’s wear buy and influencing our online styling, with more to come.”Among key trends retailers cited were plays on proportion, vivid color and pastels, with pink among the key shades, and a focus on light and technical fabrics and finishes, especially on outerwear. Key items included safari jackets, camp shirts, technical anoraks and DIY denim.Knitwear was another standout category. Key highlights for Sam Kershaw, buying manager at Mr Porter, included Altea’s “beautifully constructed lightweight jackets and bright jersey,” Inis Meáin’s super-melange knitwear in a mix of linen and cotton in the brand’s seashore stitch, and the rich color palette, subtle jacquard fabrics and signature hand-dyed cashmere at Massimo Alba. “Exemplifying casual Italian elegance, as always.”Kershaw also observed “there was definitely a wider variety of product than is typical for a men’s spring season.”“Sportswear is still king, with many designers mixing performancewear with fashion,” said Brownsfashion.com’s Goldup, adding that logo-heavy pieces were apparent across apparel and accessories.“We are seeing the beginnings of the movement toward a newer proportion, hinted at in recent runway collections. Fuller, baggier, even pleated trousers are picking up steam here....a return to a ‘fashion pant.’ Oversized, fuller shirts are great companions to this newer proportion that continues to build steam,” said Bergdorf's Pask.Hirofumi Kurino, general manager and chief creative director of United Arrows Ltd., Tokyo, cited colors lifted from nature from brands including Roberto Collina, as well as colonialist influences.Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s for Barneys New York, mentioned Herno’s use of “state-of-the-art textiles in streamlined silhouettes” among a range of “strong” collections with a focus on technical qualities that “shine” in this market. On the flip side was the range of great artisanal designs on everything from handmade sweaters from Inis Meáin to leather goods by Il Bisonte, he said. “The show continues to promote the genuine essence of what is special and encourages a sense of discovery.”Here are a few of the highlights:

Brand: Hilfiger Edition

Designer: Tommy Hilfiger 

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