It’s a cloudless summer’s day in Florence. You’re headed out for a jaunt through the sun-drenched historic center. A quick glance at your phone’s Weather widget: 30ºC. Naturally, you put on a three piece suit in emerald green, don a paisley foulard over an open white collar, and cuff your trousers before you slip your bare feet into suede brogues.
If you’re headed to Pitti Uomo, that is.
It’s unfortunate when one of fashion’s leading trade shows carries the reputation for attracting an army of profusely dressed-up men, so numerous and colorful they become hard to tell apart. Not to forget what informs their impractical choices: an Oort cloud of A-list streetwear “reporters” and their wannabes, snapping away with their heavy-duty DSLRs for 500×500 pixel perfection on their Instagram feeds.
Effortless, fiercely personal, sportive – these are the sacred qualities of today’s menswear milieu. Yet most of the men failed to achieve them. Don’t even mention sprezzatura – if you need to say it, it’s lost its meaning. So many, and not just those in suits, looked overdressed, preening, and intentional. Yes, even those in deconstructed blazers, or gym socks and adilettes. Hell, you won’t see them going to the movies in that, is what comes to mind.
It’s a wonder such great attention is still trained on Pitti’s street scene, to the extent of overshadowing the strides made inside the shows. Georgia (the country in the Caucasus) sent a delegation of competent designers, for example, whose works exhibited a muted assuredness that’s refreshingly unexpected for a small nation’s debut on the world stage. For a good definition of “street”, see Roberto Cavalli’s collection – crisp, edgy in the right ways, properly insouciant, always self-possessed. (I’d pass on the stringy oversized sweaters, though.) On the flip side, the march towards “sculpted silhouettes” and “roomy looks” à la Craig Green remains painfully ceaseless, and Nick Wooster wore a skirt. Go figure.