FLORENCE — Florence, the official men’s wear fashion capital? Pitti Uomo continues to make a good argument for it, laying out for its 96th edition and the 30th anniversary of Pitti Immagine Uomo a big-bang calendar of events, led by Givenchy and Salvatore Ferragamo’s shows in historic sites around the city — the latter at the Piazza della Signoria in front of a replica of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni’s “David.”
Buyers gave the thumbs-up.
“After such a strong Pitti outing now we await Milan’s fashion week with a mix of anticipation and doubts on the slightly weaker calendar,” said Federica Montelli, head of fashion at Rinascente. She highlighted among Pitti’s reigning themes of “sustainability” — “carried out through the show in very different and clever ways by the brands, especially in accessories” — and a palpable push toward gender fluidity, “present in the soft approach to tailoring, fluid fabrics and pastel hues, and the men’s shirts, skewed toward sheer fabrics with a slight feminine touch, often layered on tank tops.”
“The lineup of off-site shows and presentations has shown the full range of the beauty of the city and the Tuscan countryside,” said Justin Berkowitz, men’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s. “From Salvatore Ferragamo’s show held in the center of town — where the standout items were the leather and suede holdalls in sophisticated tones of gray, rust and mint, and the simple canvas sneakers — to Givenchy’s glamorous takeover of the gardens at Villa Palmieri in the hills, where standouts included modern tailoring and some great nylon outerwear.”
Lauding Z Zegna’s combination of soft tailoring with nylon pieces in a palette of desert tones in brown, rust, green, and off-white, for Berkowitz, it’s a season of softness, with a fresh interpretation of the tailored silhouette carrying an “almost pajama-like ease.”
The short jacket — the bomber, Harrington or shirt jacket — “has officially become an alternative for the blazer,” he added, while pants are fluid, with shapes that are tapered, pleated and cropped.
“Florence is a-buzz and brimming with some of the finest men’s attire I’ve ever seen,” said Madison Blank, men’s and women’s designer market manager at Saks Fifth Avenue, where “men’s is on fire at the moment, and primed for future growth.”
Blank observed a sustained momentum in the return to tailoring, with work jackets shown in suiting fabrics and canvas, with a prevalence of technical fabrics in outerwear and ready-to-wear styles. The season’s key items include the printed shirt, cargo pant and lightweight knit polo as well as spring leather pants and jackets, she said.
Shoji Uchiyama, men’s fashion director at United Arrows, which has seen an increase in sales on the new style of suits, said Givenchy’s show reaffirmed the beauty of tailoring. He enjoyed the ethnic patterns and “power of color” — earth tones, orange, terracotta, pink — across collections, even if for him, the offer was a little “stagnant.”
Other trends observed by buyers included stripes, coming on strong in wovens and knits; prints, with a focus on abstract patterns with artistic inspiration, including dye techniques and watercolor prints; vivid color across all categories — led by pink and mint green, from streetwear to suiting — and a resurgence of madras fabrications.
“It showed up in many places and provided a perfect pop of pattern and color in Brunello Cucinelli’s great collection,” noted Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, who lauded the “stunning, epic” presentations and fashion shows from brands including Givenchy, Salvatore Ferragamo and Canali, which took over a Florentine villa to re-create the ideal summer garden party, complete with chess on the lawn.
For directions, pale tailoring, a seasonal staple, “has never looked more refreshing or more versatile, with great blended fabrications that add durability beyond the classic linen suit,” added Pask.
Citing “a truly global representation” at the event, Lee Goldup, men’s wear buyer at Browns Fashion, mentioned cargo pants and silky fabrics among trends he picked up on in London that were confirmed at the show.
The highlight for him remained the “I Go Out” area devoted to outdoor brands, especially the collections by And Wander and Descente. Men’s at Browns “is growing at a phenomenal rate both in store and online as well as across all categories,” he said.
Here are some of the top brands from the show:
Designer: Alessandro Sartori
Inspiration: As a company that has always promoted environmental preservation, especially through its Oasi Zegna natural park in the Biella Alps, Z Zegna put the focus on a serious issue facing our planet: desertification. This not only inspired artistic director Alessandro Sartori’s choice of colors and details, but also deeply influenced the selection of materials and techniques used to craft the garments. In particular, the brand employed upcycled and recyclable fabrics and processes with a low impact of the environment by avoiding chemicals and limiting the use of water.
Key styles: The lineup, presented in a black box with infinity walls and sand mimicking the desert, was permeated by a sense of lightness conveyed via both featherweight fabrics and soft constructions. For example, a net with a silky, organza-like feel was crafted for an airy windbreaker printed with revisited Madras checks and with high-tech sporty pants showing elastic cuffs. The chic knitwear featured textures reproducing desert ripples, while the combination of shiny and matte fabrications gave a twist to a range of urban staples with a sporty touch. Z Zegna also evolved its TechMerino machine-washable, crease-free merino wool, which, through technological innovation, now shows textured effects, such as the iridescent feel of a solar suit infused with charming ease.
Price range: Knitwear retails at 390 euros, outerwear ranges from 690 euros to 1290 euros, while the Techmerino suit sells at 1,450 euros.
PAUL & SHARK
Inspiration: “Here at Pitti we wanted to highlight our love for the sea, which in the past 40 years has always been a major source of inspiration for our collections,” said Andrea Dini, president and chief executive officer of Paul & Shark. In keeping with the inspiration, the brand also presented its “Save the Sea” project, which includes sustainable jackets crafted from recycled plastic bottles.
Key styles: Celebrating its nautical DNA, Paul & Shark highlighted its Typhoon line, including rain and wind-proof garments geared to withstanding extreme conditions. A super soft, breathable yet rain-resistant membrane was used on a ripstop nylon and high-tech cotton. Reflective bands gave a graphic, urban twist to the lightweight jackets, while color-blocking in nautical colors including yellow, white and blue injected a geometric twist into the hooded outerwear styles, worn with cargo pants and sweatshirts embellished with images of sharks.
Price range: Retail prices range from 85 euros for T-shirts to 1,200 euros.
Designer: Brunello Cucinelli
Inspiration: With the world of formalwear going through a major phase of evolution and transformation, Brunello Cucinelli put the accent of his casual-chic DNA presenting a collection blending the sartorial tradition with a relaxed, comfortable vibe.
Key styles: Suits lost their stiffness in looser silhouettes with pants showing generous volumes, deep double pleats and elastic waistbands, while blazers with soft constructions were closer to the body. Shirts were splashed with colorful stripes, a major trend this season, or were replaced by second-skin knits. Designing with a contemporary traveler in mind, Cucinelli also developed a range of practical outwear pieces, such as bi-stretch waterproof nylon bombers and field jackets to easily fold in pouches. Lightness and comfort also informed the footwear offering with flexible monk-strap shoes and loafers crafted from deer and kudu leather, while new lightweight knitted sneakers were made with 100 percent natural fibers.
Designer: Luigi Lardini
Inspiration: Cuba served as the source of inspiration for the collection. In particular, the sun-bleached facades of Havana influenced the color palette of washed out colors, which were juxtaposed with bold tones echoing the island’s typical vintage American cars.
Key styles: The inspiration was reflected in the Fifties elegance of the lineup. Loose pants with deep pleats, deconstructed double-breasted jackets or lightweight knitted blazers, as well as boxy shirts with short sleeves, were the standouts in the chic collection, mainly crafted from light, fresh blends of silk, linen and cotton, sometimes peppered with jacquard motifs. The company also debuted a range of denim pieces, exquisitely treated with sartorial techniques.
Price range: The lineup retails from 120 euros for ties to 2,000 euros for outerwear.
Designer: Giorgio Armani
Inspiration: For the re-launch of the brand, Giorgio Armani looked back to its origins deeply rooted in an urban aesthetic. However, there was nothing nostalgic about the line-up, which was infused with a contemporary attitude strongly influenced by streetwear.
Key styles: The A/X Armani Exchange logo popped up on graphic T-shirts and cotton fleece sweatshirts to be worn with clean denim pants and jackets sporting logo patches. A quintessential sporty vibe resonated in the shorts and tracksuits decorated with logo side bands, while ironic T-shirts were decorated with graphics depicting stereotypical Italian gestures. Embracing a sustainable approach, Armani also developed a range of urban staples crafted from upcycled and recyclable materials, enriched with slogans promoting ecological sustainability and vibrant natural landscapes.
Price range: T-shirts range from 40 euros to 55 euros; pants from 100 euros to 100 euros, and jackets from 180 euros to 220 euros.
Designer: Tom Adam
Inspiration: Founded in Paris in 2015, Tom Adam is a men’s underwear and swimwear brand with an ecological heart. Mixing an ethical approach with a minimalist-chic design aesthetic, the brand’s swimwear pieces are exclusively crafted from yarns made from recycled plastic bottles, while briefs and boxer shorts come in high-end natural fabrics. Tom Adam produces all of its pieces in a small factory in Latvia.
Key styles: Playing with an elegant palette, where neutrals are peppered with pops of color, such as yellow and red, the brand’s spring collection focused on very simple, essential silhouettes, which defined not only the lightweight boxer shorts, but also the swim shorts featuring a retro chic look and the coordinated soft knits crafted from alpaca sourced in Peru.
Price range: Retail prices go from 45 euros for briefs to 300 euros for knits.
Inspiration: Sustainability was also a key focus at Herno, which showcased two groups of outerwear innovations.
Key styles: Launches for spring 2020 under the new Herno Globe banner used for all the eco-sustainable projects of the brand going forward included four outerwear styles: a vest, parka, military jacket and hooded bomber, all made from nylon that is 84 percent recycled. The zippers are made from recycled metals and the buttons from recycled plastic bottles. Dyes are 50 percent plant-based, obtained from olives, grapes, bamboo ash, onion skins or natural indigo. Building on the brand’s collaboration with Gore, producer of the Gore-Tex and Gore-Tex Infinium membranes, the Herno Laminar collection added new, elevated styles made from classic men’s wear fabrics with special performance treatments and inner membranes. Lightweight wool, cotton and linen is combined with double- or triple-layer membranes. Polyurethane-coated zippers and thermo-taped seams create a waterproof, wind-proof and breathable garment. Sartorial patterns such as Prince of Wales, madras and checks sit alongside camouflage prints in various shades of blue, camel and military green.
Price range: Prices go from 895 euros to 1,295 euros for jackets, and from 695 euros to 2,000 euros for the collection’s leather and cashmere pieces.
Designers: Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede
Inspiration: The upper-casual wardrobe has been expanded from its denim core to a full ready-to-wear collection, mixed a heritage American sportswear vibe with a European sensibility.
Key styles: Among the highlights are the new L’Homme Athletic jean, which has a skinny fit but with more room in leg; T-shirts with the brand’s new signature logo, and a travel pant in a weighty viscose.
Price range: Wholesale prices range from 30 euros for a T-shirt to 205 euros for a jacket.
Designer: Natalia Battaglini
Inspiration: The brand offered up modernized version of the signature styles and codes from the archives and creative heritage of the Aeffe-owned brand, founded in 1953 in San Mauro Pascoli, a shoemaking district in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. These included the cavalier boot, the Daytona model and brogue detailing.
Key styles: Shapes in the new “Archive” line alternate between square and pointed toes, lace-ups, loafers and sling-back sandals with rubber soles. The soles feature a two-tone “cremino” insert, featuring a contrasting light-colored midsole between the embossed welt and the leather sole. Highlights include a low boot embellished with a horse bit with an antique silver finish and a range of updates on the men’s brogue, with contrasting colors, checked raffia inserts on the upper and double straps fitted with the house’s signature equestrian-inspired buckle from the Sixties.
Price range: From 200 euros for sandals to 350 euros for rubber-soled styles, and 380 euros to 450 euros for dress shoes in calf leather with buckle details.
Designer: Enzo Fusco
Inspiration: An “urban-police” inspiration infused the collection with a light colorful mood.
Key styles: Icon jackets in garment-dyed nylon and vintage-effect camouflage nylon with Taslan for the detailing; printed windproof jackets and bomber jackets with external taping details inspired by the American motorcycling tradition. Chinos, cargo pants with large pockets and Bermuda shorts for men come in different fits and materials and are all garment-dyed to obtain an aged pigment effect.
Price range: Wholesale prices range from 35 euros for a T-shirt to between 150 euros and 400 euros for a jacket.