In a lot of ways, Pitti Uomo has eclipsed Milan’s Men’s Fashion Week. This is due, in large part, to the fair and its organizers’ ability to purvey a strong identity year after year, achieved through statement events (some projects that shine more than others, but nevermind) and a clear vision and point of view. Milan, spearheaded by Camera Moda has dimmed, mired by a format that is no longer exciting for brands, attendees, or designers.
Marco de Vincenzo at his Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Florence. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.
By contrast, the Pitti Fair itself has been, for the past 30 years, the main event that celebrated menswear. As a result, luxury brands from across the board, have created events around the fair – infusing the four-day event with a calendar that has managed to ignite the coolest buzz emanating from Italy, so far.
The experimental approach turned the Fortezza da Basso (the XVIth century stronghold where the fair takes place) from an array of (often) boring booths with similar products every season, into THE place to be.
It doesn’t matter if the infamous central square full of ridiculous wannabe dandies wearing skin-tight suits abound (even if it seems that the trend is fading) or if the buyers don’t actually buy… Through it all, however, Florence explodes a quirky variety of positive-vibed people and events that allow you to breathe fashion.
The three debuts of this season were great. There was the grand finale with artist Sterling Ruby, who shined with his new personal co-ed project. And we can’t forget Marco de Vincenzo’s first menswear show, which was a lighthearted menswear collection, along with a wonderful locale for the Tuscany-based maison Ferragamo that presented the Spring/Summer 2020 collection in Piazza della Signoria (one of the only times this landmark location was granted for a fashion show), shocking throngs of fashion insiders with a gorgeous setting and exclusive location.
Salvatore Ferragamo Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Florence. Photos by NOWFASHION.
The collection carries on the refresh process started a little more than one year ago. Paul Andrew’s clean vision delivered a collection that mixed leather and fabric for a luxury urban style. “Big logos are not our cup of tea,” said the designer at the dinner after the show. “We are different, and we must tell different tales.” In fact, everything was discreet and simple but precious, no loud prints or exaggerated designs. The palette ranged from white and sorbet colours to deep blues and purples. It looked like the continuation of the Fall/Winter 2019/20 collection, but maybe there was a little lack of energy in the clothes that made the previous one stronger.
But at the end of the four Florentine days, the shock and awe faded slightly, even though the overall feeling was positive. Even if the real closing bonanza was the Luisa via Roma mega show – still not much of an addition – in collaboration with French editor Carine Roitfeld before a stadium-sized audience with supermodels wearing the boutique selection.
S.R. Studio LA. CA. Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Florence. Photo by NOWFASHION.
The real place to be was the Sterling Ruby presentation of his first ever collection. Named S.R. Studio. LA.CA you can define it as “walking art”; actually, the show itself was a performance, even if it was a proper catwalk. It’s an autobiographical path where the designer mixed his life, his art, and his vision. Different inspirations rendered everything powerful and emotional: Amish and Mennonite dresses were followed by heavy metal and punk album cover art printed on clothing, his rural upbringing of Pennsylvania met the Los Angeles of today. Many layers of meanings, fabrics, and images were overlapped for both aesthetic and conceptual function. The tangible Raf Simons-esque aesthetic was undeniable, but their long-term interchange of ideas is also well known, so this was not a surprise.
Marco de Vincenzo Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Florence. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.
Marco de Vincenzo unveiled a playful and nerdy superhero that has his signature lurex all over the body in different ways. Both real and printed, it’s the tool he used for new silhouettes and proportions: super high-waisted jeans, slouchy jackets (and dresses for the girls), pleated tulle, wide bermudas, and colourful sandals made in collaboration with Superga. “I’m not a person that expresses his fashion with his own style,” said the designer backstage. “I wear a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans very often, but my vision is clear when I design. For my first men’s catwalk, I wanted to balance the men’s rigourous aesthetic and my funny vision of it.” It doesn’t look like an easy collection for every market, but it’s focused and coherent with its specific point of view.
Talking about pure creativity, it’s worth mentioning the “night walk” titled “If I could, unless we” at Manifattura Tabacchi and curated by Linda Loppa, the famous Polimoda advisor and founder of the Linda Loppa Factory, a studio promoting art, culture, and education. It was open only in the evening from 9.30 to midnight and it offered the shared visions of seven designers/artists such as Bart Hess, Lara Torres, Armando Chant, Moses Hamborg, Bernhard Willhelm, Clemens Thornquist, and Senjan Jansen by taking the audience on a stroll through the uncontaminated areas of the location that will be completely renovated.
Givenchy Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Florence. Photos by NOWFASHION.
Villa Palmieri set the magnificent stage for the Givenchy show. Though cumbersome garden labyrinths and rows of shrubs discombobulated designer Clare Waight Keller’s vision, just a bit. The collection is entitled “Nouveau glitch,” a potent mix between ancient and new. The dark poetry of Charles Baudelaire was the starting point, and fabrics – the gobelin mixed with modern ultra-light Korean textiles – put a modern twist on the art nouveau-inspired flowered surfaces. The soft and wide jackets and silhouettes liquified together with sportswear (are we still up for sportswear mixed with something else?) infused a contemporary and, perhaps, a more sellable edge. But the problem was exactly this: these opposite worlds, this modern glitch, perhaps corrupted the gothic storyline a bit too much. The breathtaking impact of the final looks was perhaps lost, as the rest of the show unfolded. Compared to the wonderful and sharp atelier style throughout the previous Fall/Winter 2019/20 collection, this lacked a little bit of focus, and it looked too urban and less dark.
Debuts but also anniversaries: 30 years of Pitti Uomo and 10 years of MSGM by Massimo Giorgetti.
Olivier Saillard curated yet another exhibition at Pitti to celebrate men’s fashion and style in another shade. “A short novel on men’s fashion” would have been an homage to the three decades of the fair itself in the beautiful rooms of the Palazzo Pitti’s Fashion and Costumery Museum. But the majority of the clothes were displayed in overly predictable sections, and it didn’t reflect what we all want to discover in his work. The right selection is what makes an exhibition memorable or forgettable. Unfortunately, this was lacking, and it felt as though we were at a trade show. The successful process that Pitti Immagine achieved throughout its 30 years is its contribution to the offerings at its main fair. This exhibition would have been a way to celebrate this achievement. But, on the contrary, the result was exactly the opposite – deleting the experimental mood, and instead just celebrating the stand’s mood.
Backstage at the MSGM Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Florence. Photos by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.
Back on the catwalk of the Nelson Mandela stadium, where swimmers on a hot June day swam to and from, Massimo Giorgetti celebrated his Italian heritage.
“It’s the 10th birthday of MSGM, and I feel as if I just began,” said the designer backstage. “For the next Spring/Summer 2020, I want to celebrate summer as a state of mind. I was born in Rimini, and for me the Riviera Romagnola is the meaning of a carefree mood, energy, the joy of living, and love.” The summer collection is undeniably centered in this direction, with prints everywhere, from animalier to bandana prints, from poppy flowers to lobsters, to the works of the Berlin-based artist Norbert Bisky (one of the designer’s favorites). “I’m Italian and I feel proud when I see that the Italian phrases printed on my clothes are sold out,” he added. “I feel that we must work on this. All my collections are fully produced in this country, and I want to preserve that.”