Pitti Uomo 81 in Florence
By Massimiliano Mattetti
An exciting annual Italian fashion event, Pitti Immagine Uomo 2012, known simply as “Pitti Uomo” or “Pitti Uomo 81,” just concluded. This is a four-day exhibition platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections and for launching new projects in men’s fashion.
For these four days, the conoscenti of the men’s fashion industry — not just from Italy but also from around the world — descend upon the city of Florence (Firenze), the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany (Toscano). Florence is most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 registered residents and is a year-round epicenter for Italian Renaissance art and culture. Pitti Uomo is one of the city’s most prestigious events and draws thousands of visitors.
Florence’s Fortezza da Basso is the perfect location for Pitti Uomo. The Fortezza da Basso is over 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibition space, and has always been the main exhibition venue for Florence since 1967. It’s strategically, and conveniently, located in the historic city centre and was planned by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane and commissioned by Duke Alessandro de’ Medici to be built between 1534 and 1537.
Outside of the Fortezza, it might look like male models are waiting for their photo shoot, but, actually, these are attendees. In Europe — and especially in Italy — men dress impeccably for events such as this in what they consider “casual wear.” At Pitti Uomo, you’ll find men dressed with style and finesse, exhibiting the essence of Italian tailoring and the luxury of the world’s finest fabrics. Inside you’ll find row-after-row of hundreds of the world’s best companies for men’s fashion and accessories. It’s a wonderland of sorts for those that are enamored with luxury and trendspotting, though here you’ll find style that exceeds far beyond spur-of-the-moment trends. What you see here will set the trends for many years to come.
Fashion is a meticulously guarded industry in Italy, which adheres, like most Italian industries, to exceedingly high standards for production. That’s why it makes sense that Pitti Uomo, indubitably the most prestigious stage in the world for menswear, takes place in Italy. The show proffers an incredible variety of products, ranging from sportswear to formalwear and exhibitors vie to be a part of it each year, paying a small fortune to travel to the Fortezza and exhibit at Pitti Uomo.
This year the show was clearly marked by a sense of general optimism. It almost looked like the “ghosts” of last year’s economic downturn have suddenly disappeared and everyone’s looking forward to getting back on track with business. More than 1000 brands, from 5 continents, were exhibiting this year. These included prestigious Italian companies, such as Borgioli Fratelli, Circolo 1901, Cerutti 1881 Cravatte, and many more.
Pitti Uomo’s main objective is always to show the creativity and the inspiration of the Made in Italy craftsmanship. The new trends showed us lots of colors (representing optimism) and always more tapered garments: trousers, jackets (mostly un-constructed), overcoats, etc. Many manufacturers focused their innovations on details such as colored threads around the buttonholes, contrasting colored linings in jackets, patchworks.
Pitti Uomo 81 culminated on Wednesday, January 11th with the return-to-the-runway presentation of Valentino’s 2012-13 Fall/Winter men’s collection presented by co-creative directors Grazia Chiuri and PierPaolo Piccioli. Valentino is one of the world’s most recognized icons of Made in Italy style, and Pitti Uomo always pays tribute to a designer of his stature. The New York Times fashion blog stated, “It was an elegant affair with sleek, cropped trousers and voluminous jackets all finely finished in what Chiuri referred to as a couture approach to men’s wear.”
Many important fashion and style bloggers also crowded into Pitti Uomo 81, representing the very best of the fashion literati, who will be writing about the event, and the styles introduced, right up until next year’s event. Three words recap the general feeling for this fantastic menswear show: elegance, relaxed style.
Pitti Uomo 81 also featured a virtual fair where the conversation continues. This can be seen at www.e-pitti.com.
Massimiliano Mattetti is the co-creator of Moda In Style, a menswear company that provides the finesse of Made in Italy luxury and style at affordable prices and caters, via their online style shop, to buyers from around the world.