By David Hayes, 27.06.12
What Florence’s menswear fest, Pitti Uomo, lacks in back-to-back runway shows it more than makes up for with standout collections, amazing locations and great food. Oh, and maybe the occasional rather fine glass of prosecco. *cough*
“Pitti Uomo has really stepped up over the last few seasons, with a greater presence of international brands, buyers and editors all energised at the start of a busy show schedule,” says Matches’ menswear buyer, Stacey Smith.
And the highlights? “Having Valentino in Florence for a second season has given a real sense of vitality to the show as a whole, and this season’s collection was nothing short of exceptional,” says Smith of the event designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli staged in the stripped-down shell of the old Lemon House in Florence’s historic Boboli Gardens.
“I loved the mix of urban elements with elegant tailoring,” says Smith. “The luxe running shoes were a stroke of genius and are sure to be hotly desired. Their masterful use of camouflage prints across outerwear and accessories was also a highlight, and has proved to be one of Pitti’s most dominant trends. The key to getting ‘camo’ right is to follow Valentino’s lead and avoid anything too literal – so choose simple cuts, luxe fabrics, and prints with a graphic quality rather than anything that feels too ‘army surplus’.”
And the other highlight? “Carven is one of our favourite new brands and their show at Pitti was brilliantly mad, with a French waiter’s race and a brass band accompanying the models,” says Smith of the happening held in a sports ground, complete with wedding banquet style seating and slap-up dinner. “The collection itself had a young, sporty feel and some great pops of bright colour. On the eve of the show we had the pleasure of hosting an intimate dinner for British editors with Carven designer Guillaume Henry, whose French charm and excellent sense of humour made for a really special evening.”
“We were not here to push a trend, push a concept,” said Carven’s oh-so-lovely Monsieur Henry after the madcap outing. “The show here was all about defining the Carven man. We were so happy to be invited to Pitti and we just wanted it to be happy moment.” And, judging by the way the crowd swayed out of the Club Sportivo on the Via del Fosso Macinante way after sunset, it was a very happy moment indeed.