Written by Lucas Pantoja
It’s that time of year again, and Pitti season is upon us once more with the Fall/Winter edition of the Pitti Uomo 95’ trade show. Part of the beauty of Pitti for those unfamiliar with it, is like fashion week we all get a taste of where fashion is at currently and an idea of where this ship is headed in the approaching future. I’m here in search of discovering the unsung gems of the industry, and, the key quality which I’m in pursuit of is discovering a return to sincerity in fashion. As we’re years into the meme era, it seems many brands have acquired meme-like qualities in their designs and their marketing techniques, flourishing with irony and witty takes on cultural topics (i.e. Balenciaga’s flip on the Bernie Sanders campaign). With all the memes and brutally tired jokes that saturate current culture, I for one look to fashion as an escape from everything — but since fashion in ways can very much be considered a representation of where the culture is at currently, it appears that it too has caught wave of this phenomenon.
For the next 3 days, follow these entries with my experiences, takeaways, and thoughts on Pitti Uomo 95’: reporting on the people, the parties, the food, and the fashion all directly as seen from myself firsthand.
Day I – Tuesday, January 8th: Upon arriving to a chilly and foggy Florence, overrun with fleets of palaces and churches, decorated with renaissance architecture and medieval cobblestones, I immediately rushed to the Firenze Fiera, the location where the Pitti Uomo takes place biannually every year. I was motivated to hasten my arrival as the anticipation I’d built up submerged me and my tardiness fueled my anxiety. This was the first occasion I’d be attending the fair, and unbeknownst to me, I found myself lost within the Pitti experience my first twenty minutes of my entrance.
Now I’ve done fashion week before, but I can wholeheartedly say that I’d never quite seen so many fashion lords all congregating in one general location. Trios of bachelors strutting around in velvet suits, intertwined with teenagers flexing coveted streetwear hype and tech garments, all topped off by some older gentleman dripped up in eclectic knitwear enhanced by folk styles: note these are just three of the characters whom I found all circling the area.
As my first day, I unfortunately had little time to explore and get to know the trade show offerings, but from the small taste that I’ve had, I know to return better prepared with a map so that I’m not wandering around getting hit in the face by the many different massive expos which consume the place. After leaving the Fiera to attend my first design event and exiting the castle-like gates through a crowd of international fashion enthusiasts, I made my way to the Museo Marino Marini to get a first look at the Slam Jam x Nike blazer collaboration and the latest Stussy project “Stussy Billiardi”.
Upon my arrival and entrance into the museum I found myself in possibly the most dystopian party I’ve attended, all thanks to the transcendental sounds of New York based jazz monsters Onyx Collective who were performing live at the event.
Once an hour or so passed, I forced myself to exit the trance Onyx Collective’s brash sounds put me in; as well as made a mental note of how those Slam Jam x Nike’s are a must purchase, and I headed to the Finnish Party/Presentation at the Palazzo Pucci, held courtesy of designer Rolf Ekroth together with the brand Terinit.
Following my entrance up the stairs and into the palazzo I now found myself in a ballroom like space, and while ordering my first cocktail of the night I noticed sitting in front of a group of campari bottles, a hockey helmet. Something from my childhood that I hadn’t encountered in what felt like ages. A bit confused as to why a hockey helmet was sitting atop the cocktail table inside a palace in Florence, I directed my attention over the crowd behind me to find the renaissance ballroom decorated with foosball hockey tables; some of which being played by the models showing off the latest collection.
The other room, portraying an underwater or rather spacey ambience, had the lights turned off with two projectors flipping through videos of ocean waves and Neon Genesis Evangelion (a renowned popular Japanese anime). After tying together all of the far out references I’d encountered, I realized how they all pertained to the different looks being presented. Models were cloaked in rubbery winter coats hiding their faces with hoods or hockey helmets, shadily dressed in dark or neutral colors, all infused with a futuristic element to the looks.
My final endeavor of the night was an outing to the “It plays something else” art exhibition and party funded by classic Italian sportswear brand Diadora. The party was encased in neon and the exhibition, a compilation of artworks by different artists including: Ducati Monroe, Maisie Cousins, Gabber Eleganza, Invernomuto, and Patrick Tuttofuoco — featured nostalgic video collages of tennis and Italian soccer champions, as well as abstract photography pieces.
To finish off day one of Pitti Uomo, I ended the night with a stroll along the cold ancient streets of Ponte Vecchio and through Piazza San Croce accompanied by my headphones and the sounds of recently deceased jazz master Roy Hargrove. Engulfed in the contrast of a crisp heartwarming trumpet and a quietly empty Florence, I pondered my schedule for tomorrow and the beauty of fashions ability to bring people together from all over the world, to one rather small and ancient city.