As one of the most influential platforms for men’s, the significance of the guest designer slot of Pitti Uomo was palpable in the distinctive Y/Project collection that felt more sophisticated in tone and less tricked out than usual, nailing the perfect balance of experimentation and wearability.
Guests arriving at the Santa Maria Novella basilica in the dark were handed torches to help lead them outside to the Large Cloister, with a crossfire of beams picking out details of the frescoes and garden, and eventually the clothes as the models passed by to the sound of ghoulish chants. It lent a spooky vibe, with the plays on volumes, pleats and slashed garments evoking Renaissance dress. But it also made it hard to see the details.
Also offering a distraction was the strength of the women’s, from the long tartan skirts to a stellar look pairing a brown aviator jacket tucked into a faux leather skirt accented with leather piping. The elongated shirtdresses added to the ghostly atmosphere, floating by like apparitions, perfectly blending with the venue.
Designer Glenn Martens explored classic sartorial codes, sending out tailored pants with encrusted pop-up vents at the hips, and a women’s camel top coat. Suits ranged from a double-breasted boxy gray style revisited, Y/Project-style, with an asymmetric lapel with a draped 3-D effect to a double-breasted, slim, peak-lapel gangster suit, echoed in a lush brown flannel version that worked just as well for women’s.
The pinstripe theme picked up in optical-illusion wavy lines printed on denim, and on the puffy shirts with graphic piping accents, while a mint green suit layered with an oversize black faux shearling jacket had a mafioso vibe.
Martens’ penchant for perverting familiar men’s wear staples took flight in the standout knits in tartan and argyle patterns with removable second-skin transparent overlayers printed with the same motif.
Lending a sportif street edge were the cool black washed velvet denim looks, also accented with graphic leather piping. Key prints included mythological medusa motifs on till-ringer chunky knits and fleece-style boiled wool jackets.
The new men’s footwear collection, meanwhile, went from Michael Jackson-inspired trompe l’oeil black-and-white sock boots, paired with the brand’s first tuxedo, to waders with sharp pleats that were wide enough to tuck pants into. Men’s bags also made an appearance, including a black nylon style suspended within a brown leather harness, worn hoisted on the shoulder like a ghetto blaster.
The finale, with the models gathering in formation on a lit platform in the center of the garden, underscored the sense of a crystallizing of vision for the designer as he continues to enlarge his vocabulary. Even if the guests were left stumbling in the dark.