Is it the end of Pitti Uomo as we know it?
It’s been a week now and Pitti Uomo 91 seems like an old news already. That’s the world we live in now. Fast pace, news every minute, live streams, the immediate updates on social media. It is always good to gain some perspective I think and take time to develop your opinion. I didn’t want my opinion and thoughts on Pitti Uomo 91 to be influenced by emotions.
Is it the end of Pitti as we know it?
Let’s review that then. I can see there are quite a few articles on Pitti Uomo that do not, I think, represent the actual state of affairs. The reason for that is that many of those are written either by people who have never been there (sic!) or who have spent 90% of their time at the so-called main square.
Pitti Uomo is a menswear trade fair! That has to be clear. People and by that I mean buyers go there to buy = do business. They also go there to view the collections, considering it is one of the biggest menswear fairs in the world and basically every big brand is there. It makes sense for many of those in the industry to go there and either look, talk to the brands, network and meet other people with whom they might collaborate or do anything else together, at last simply make new friends. That is the Pitti Uomo at its best. 95% people from menswear industry are in one town in Italy, during 3 days in January and June and that is an absolutely amazing opportunity for them to do business. Tailors come to Florence too because most of their international clients will be visiting and its a chance to have a fitting or order some bespoke garments. Again = business.
I will tell you more. Those people are usually the best dressed! The most stylish, with best taste, knowledge and experience. The Armoury guys, Drake’s guys, Camoshita, Skoaktiebolaget, B&Tailor team, Joe Ha from The Finery Company – who by the way was once called the anti-peacock or Kenji Kaga?! Big question now is: do you see those guys “at Pitti” now?? Are they on the photos? Are they on GQ, Vogue etc?? NO. Why not? Because they do business or run away from the crazy crowd of the square to the beautiful restaurants, cafes and hotels of Florence to do business and meet people they can finally talk to. Yes, that’s right.
I haven’t seen many tailors at Pitti this year either. However I have seen almost every stylish and elegant gentleman I can think of in todays world at Liverano&Liverano event on Wednesday night. Literally everyone! Oh I wish this was the epicentre of Pitti Uomo. The number of perfectly fitted, classic and super stylish outfits in those few rooms of Liverano’s store was just mind blowing. Do you remember a scene from W. Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” when the main character wonders around cafes of Paris in the night and meets Picasso, Dali or Hemingway? He couldn’t believe his eyes. All those great persons he admired were in front of him. That was exactly my experience during this event. I was there with Justyna, Fernando from Norman Vilalta, Sven from Gentleman’s Gazette and couldn’t focus on the conversation. I sincerely hope there was someone taking photos during the evening and someone to pinch me and stop being rude.
So to all those reading Pitti Uomo summaries available on the internet – yes, Pitti has changed in the past few years. Probably the most drastically in the past 4 or so. Have I seen it myself? Yes, a bit, it was actually only my fifth edition. Is Pitti mostly about peacocks on the main square now? A little bit. Does it mean there are no more stylish men out there? HELL NO!
Why is Pitti Uomo so popular then? It is because it can turn a regular men into a celebrity very quickly now. The exposure is amazing. It does not require one to do much. Spending time in/around Fortezza da Basso showing your carefully put outfit is easy enough that everyone can do it. In todays world which is all about the number of likes and followers this is brilliant. With the status of a celebrity come free clothes, advertising opportunities, travel etc. It is what everyone is aiming for, isn’t it? Pitti Uomo became a catwalk, fashion show for the masses. All those who want to increase their social media number for their own benefit just have to be there.
Next question is: is it wrong then? Well.. In the eyes of one side it is. Because Pitti Uomo as they know it is probably over. They don’t like it. They have to go somewhere else, Fortezza has been taken over by peacocks and menswear/fashion wannabe. That’s exactly the same reason why approximately half of Savile Row tailors are now owned by Investment Funds or that we have Abercrombie&Fitch store there too. Tailors don’t like that. They believe the quality, the learning, the years of experience do not mean as much as they used too. Now everyone can do something in the industry, you don’t have to be trained to start a “bespoke clothes” company or pretend to be a tailor.
I was really looking for classic style this time at Pitti. Classic suits, the fit above all, the quality, colours and good taste. I remember the last summer edition was horrible! Yellow suits with pink shirts, purple ties and red hats. The more I go to Pitti the more I look for style and this time my eyes were only aiming at things that I wanted to see. I didn’t see peacocks. Not because they were not there but because I didn’t want to see them.
So as the Pitti Uomo definitely changed itself, my way of looking at it changed as well. I admire greatness and the main square being so popular in every Pitti summary is probably not the best place to look for it. There are places in Florence however that so much are. Believe me.
So if you value my opinion in any way I would say: there are many points of view. Mine might not be popular or interesting to masses but it will definitely be for you, someone who cares. There are stylish guys at Pitti Uomo, still! Look at the photos in this article and below. That’s a proof.
Recently, when I mentioned some of the names from this article I was confronted with the following answer: “..but those guys do not have too many photos from Pitti, was Jake even in Florence this time?”. I don’t want to hear it again. My goal for next Pitti Uomo is to take as many photos of classic looking guys as possible and prove the internet wrong. How silly of me?!
You will find some amazing photos at Styleforum by Andreas Klow,