Day 2: Inside Pitti Uomo 96 And The Competition Between New vs. Classic Menswear Styles.
An Exclusive by Lucas Pantoja
Pitti Uomo’s wide appeal is in large part to the variety of street wear and sartorial fashion and the new vs. classic menswear styles represented within the Italian trade show grounds. This is apparent on Day 2 as Pitti Uomo 96 is in full effect with flocks of dudes ranging from teenagers with Murakami’s in their rooms to grandpas who sleep with socks on all gathered in Florence’s “Fortezza Da Basso” wearing their most expensive clothes to gander at the diverse collections together.
For Pitti fans looking for classically elegant trends and #Menswear-styles of moda the lower floor of the central pavilion is the place. Here you’d find quality brands on the low such as Lardini, Drakes, and Brunello Cuccinelli, as well as nomination accessory brands like Serapian and Doucal. It’s a true luxury to find such high-end staples gathered in one spot. And it is the best place to search if your objective is to refresh your wardrobe. I’d personally direct you straight to the Drakes booth.
The Drakes Booth & Other Ivy Brands
Drakes is a London based brand who once upon a time had shops exclusively in the UK. Recently Drakes opened a brick and mortar location in New York offering the same dapper looks but to the big apple’s menswear enthusiast who want to look just as Ivy league as any British bloke. After scanning the racks of Drake’s handcrafted fine shirts and suiting I’ve never felt so compelled to wear a tie.
Aside from Drakes, Lardini delivered as always with a thematic space transporting viewers to Italy’s idyllic coast with pure-white blazers, pinstripe trousers, and 1930s top hats with a “gangster-on-vacation” vibe.
If you’re the kind of shopper who wants their leather-goods accessories to be classic then Serapian might be for you.
For Spring 2020 the luxury brand ushered in a new wave of low-key Milanese accessories placing the spotlight on their artisans and craftsmen. Their signature technique, interweaving custom colors into the pattern tagged with the name of the artisan, is a quiet-luxury for those who like to flex discreetly.
Following Serapian I crossed the lower floor of the pavilion to Doucal’s to have a conversation with creative director Gianni Giannini. He and I spoke about the brand’s latest philosophy and how the shoes are designed for everyday life.
As we identified new vs. classic menswear styles for special occasion dressing I spotted a pair of crispy green loafers that could be worn to the office, the pool deck, or the airport. And never mind thinking about overusing Doucal shoes, the quality is made to last. I was treated to an artisan’s bespoke work, hand-painting shoes outside of the booth.
Unconventional Urban Luxury Apparel
Across the fairgrounds and into the dark side lies the Unconventional pavilion where street wear and urban fashion take over the Fortezza. Here there isn’t a contest between new vs. classic menswear styles, the Unconventional pavilion is dedicated solely and unapologetically to modern street wear.
Upon entering the warehouse, I spot chunky sneakers and military-esc joggers. The place is buzzing with buyers and journalists nodding their heads to the sounds of Travis Scott and Lil Uzi exploding from the DJ’s speakers.
I also notice there are significantly less brands under the shelter of Unconventional but there are some eccentric designers with more affordable price ranges like Italian label Never Enough.
Never Enough is a contemporary design brand with loose-fitting, airy beach-pants and matching blazers, linen shirts, and crinkled leather jackets that look like they just arrived out of Bob Dylan’s luggage from the beatnik days. Check out their website if you’re the guy who hates ironing and wears the same fit consecutive days in a row (I respect your devotion to the fit, nothing wrong with living in your garments day-in and day-out).
Modern Colonial Influences
Taiwanese brand Oqliq, inspired by the country’s native tribal apparel and colonial influences from Japan and China, fuses functionality with particular Asian traditions hitting a tasteful sweet-spot between tactical-urban and luxury.
Take this Kimono-style jacket with a magnetic German military buckle crafted from cordura, a durable next generation fabric that tries to leave a lighter set of tracks on its path to sustainability.
Or the cordura trousers with six reversible pockets.
To create a fit you could throw on a fresh Taiwanese, indigo-dyed t-shirt with a woven, native-inspired necklace.
As far as accessories go leave it to Duren, the Japanese brand out of Kiyoto, whose bags can be found in the hands of posh Parisians or street wear heads in Shibuya.
I’m a sucker for the simply-complicated leather and aluminum inline bags that roll up like paper creating new creases with every use. But give a look to the cartoonish-canvas bags made to resemble the incompleteness of a sketch.
Givenchy’s Experimental Show: New vs. Classic MenswearStyles
After the festivities at the trade show Pitti Uomo guest designer Givenchy presented their latest Spring Summer 2020 menswear collection. This is the first formal reveal of the Parisian brand’s menswear after appointing artistic director Clare Waight Keller. Keller, whose notorious designs include Megan Markle’s wedding dress and Chadwick Boseman’s tux at the Oscars, noted her inspiration for this collection to her times in the 90’s and the menswear movement that’s currently taking Korea by storm.
Standout aspects of the collection include lightweight nylons, including a particular wavy velvet-nylon, draped loosely over models seemingly as lax tailoring. Menswear fashion design is undergoing an invigorating wave of tailoring these days and Givenchy’s experimental collection has the power to make suits feel modern again.