The lauded fashion summit in Florence, Pitti Uomo sees industry insiders convene twice a year – both summer and winter – to witness the latest in Italian tailoring, fashion and footwear.
Outside the trade show walls, the ‘Great Wall of Pitti’ is where the most fashionable men parade: an assembly of impeccably loud suits and even noisier ties and pocket squares – electric against the backdrop of grey cement and centuries-old architecture.
But at the recently wrapped up Pitti Uomo 89 edition, which looked to the Autumn/Winter 2016 season in men’s fashion, casual nuances disrupted the formal tailoring known to the event’s sophistication.
With a melange of high-and-low dressing, softer shapes, and blending of fabrics (think heritage wools facing off against nubby cashmeres), comfort and practicality proved de rigueur for the Florentines. But there was never a compromise on style.
Scouring Firenze for the fiercest of fashions, here are 5 must-know suit trends from the streets of Pitti Uomo 89 to adopt now. Flamboyancy aside, remember to be you. Style is important but never should you look styled.
#1 Down To Earth
Pitti has sent the call out for all men to wear more earthen tones: brown with green, and tan and beige. Brown is certainly the favoured palette over black in winter suiting, acting as the most natural base hue; anchoring colour and printed accessories across a multi-layered outfit.
Leather lace-ups – in brown nuances were the footwear of choice, the glory of the double-strap monk making room from bi-coloured Derbies (some with contrast laces) and round toe wingtip brogues; a triple welt construction giving extra height to chunkier soles with traction grip.
#2 Jaunty Hats
While Pitti Uomo 88 saw the return of classic headwear for men, the white fedoras and straw boaters of summer were replaced by wide brim felt hats. And in an array of colourways. The jauntier the better really, as the merriness of red, green and orange hats put some much needed spring in the step of nubby woollen suits.
But colour was darker and laced with black ribbon around the crown, the silkiness playing textural contrast matte monochrome suiting. Styling was easy too: selecting a fedora, pork pie or trilby and matching one other item with colour: tie, bracelet or leather shoe.
#3 Cooler Cord
There was no shortage of cord in Florence. A very-winter fabric, corduroy’s physical weightiness made it a practical choice. And the stuffy professor aesthetic were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a cooler version of the rifted fabric emerged, offset by the absence of traditional browns and the arrival of relaxed tailoring and minimal styling.
Deep greens and pastels breathed new life into corduroy; the darker shades seen as more velveteen, a mod-ish pairing with roll neck sweater, vintage fedora and Chelsea boots.
Elsewhere, two-piece cord suits were crafted in slouchier shapes and more abstract proportions, giving a sports edge to tailoring with raglan sleeves, functional pockets and wide-leg trousers, portraying on a luxury louche rather than sartorially sharp.
#4 Pattern Clash
If you weren’t digging monochrome tones or bright block colours, the bravest gents went for chalk stripes and plaid or pinstripes and Prince of Wales check: patterns and prints parading over trousers, jackets and topcoats.
The key to pulling off fashionable pattern play is to balance proportions—such as mixing a larger, bolder plaid with polka dot or fine stripe. Anchor the look by keeping everything else – shirt, hat, shoes – a solid, block colour.
Finally, keeping the ensemble colour tonal – working in shades of blue, brown or grey – sees the pattern clash even more wearable, especially with natural graininess of something wooden and leather-made: gloves, portfolio or umbrella.
#5 Unlikely Outerwear
It’s hard to pinpoint just one key coat trend. But one thing’s for sure, outerwear was bold and big. From vermillion red chesterfields to that gargantuan plaid trench, coats stepped in for the boisterous suits which featured last edition.
Topcoats were rounder on the shoulder and boxier in silhouette with the occasional plush fur lapels in rich brown. Some men even switched out lapelled woollen varieties for patchwork nylon parkas and the odd leather perfecto with tweed sleeves, layering the casual coat over a waistcoat, shirt and tie.
Statement outerwear will see men streak the streets with Ikat-pattern coats or camel-hued macs with neon splicing. It’s about making an urban statement among the uniformed neutrals normally found in the men’s coat world.