Pitti Uomo celebrates its 50th anniversary with the physical return of visitors to Florence

Words by: Gianmarco Gronchi

After 15 months of stop due to the pandemic, fashion is back in Florence, with the 100th edition of Pitti Immagine Uomo, probably the most important menswear trade fairs in the world. The numbers of this edition are very limited if compared to other years. There were only a third of the usual exhibitors and few foreign buyers. Nevertheless, the event represented a restart under the flag of optimism. The fair, which exceptionally followed the Milan Fashion Week, also included Pitti Bimbo and it was divided in three main sections: Fantastic Classic, for traditional menswear, Dynamic Attitude, for a different way of conceiving men’s fashion, and Superstyling, dedicated to future trends. In addition, the third edition of Sustainable Style presented 15 brands that look at sustainability as their primary value.

As we have seen from the Milan catwalks, the three-days fair in Florence confirms that the men’s wardrobe for next year’s summer season will be made up of classic garments but with a super contemporary soul. Alphatauri, for example, displays parkas made from Taurobran, a patented super-light, breathable and water-repellent fabric. Technology is used to face the new challenges of sustainable fashion. 3D printing makes it possible the creation of seamless jumpers that avoid wasting material.

For its sartorial collection, Tombolini shows a range of 300 grams weighing jackets, suitable both for work and for informal event. In addition, it has dedicated part of his collection to technical clothing made from recyclable fabrics, including the deconstructed jacket in elastane and nylon. 

Focus on fabric is also fundamental to Piacenza Cashmere 1733. A mix of cotton and silk is used for knitted spongy-effect polo shirts and for retro-style tennis waistcoats, while a cashmere-silk blend is reserved for classic models, available in various summer colours. 

Giampaolo, which opened up to the total look some seasons ago, focuses on flexible and comfortable garments. These range from the sponged k-way jacket to the 100% linen one-pence trousers with ankle cuffs, through to the lightweight suede outerwear, suitable for sunny days. The shirt, the company’s core business, is made with attention to details, with hand-stitched seams and hand-applied buttons. 

Gherardi stands out with its casual collection. The linen and cotton shirts have a military inspiration, with patch pockets, or they have an urban soul, like the patchwork shirt, one of the novelties for the next summer season. 

The man who wants to get through the working day and be ready for the evening without changing his clothes has to look no further than Pal Zileri, whose combination of formal and modern fascinates and convinces. The deconstructed suit recovers a more comfortable fit, with knitted polo shirts completing an elegant yet dynamic look. The shirt-jacket, a real must-have for the coming summer season, is proposed in cotton, denim and light leather. The Oyster jacket by Pal Zileri is declined in three different versions: bomber, parka and field jacket. These classic shapes are, however, revisited with technical, non-wrinkle, windproof and water-resistant materials. 13 pockets make this model a super functional garment, for those who want to avoid the clutter of a backpack. 

Sustainability, a central theme at this edition of Pitti Uomo, deserves a separate discussion. All the above-mentioned companies have invested in eco-sustainable fashion. The effort has been translated into recycled or recyclable materials, natural organic fabrics, use of technology to reduce material waste and attention to packaging. Some other brands have chosen to focus specifically on ethical and eco-friendly fashion. The new-born +THREE°°° decided to have thematic bag collections with few pieces, researching mostly on biological ad recycled materials. The Camouflage collection, for example, is made from recycled cotton from Dutch army shirts. In addition, all the shipments are carbon neutral, the packaging is made of organic materials and a QR code on the label gives an insight into the entire product chain. The Cuoio di Toscana consortium and Gavazzeni also have a similar approach. Attention to sustainability is a key point for the first one, which shows a line of children’s footwear co-branded with Falconotto and the collaboration with the special guest of this Pitti edition, Thebe Magugu. The second one presents tote bags decorated with tye-dye print and a capsule collection of belts, in collaboration with Fortela. Everything is handmade in Italy, with the aim of enhancing Italian craftsmanships.

For the third edition of Sustainable Fashion, we highlight the job done by the young Italian fashion design Federico Cina. The Cesena-based fashion designer displays a part of his collection at Pitti, composed by permanent garments which do not change according to trends. The pieces are enriched with typical Romagna motifs, hand-printed with natural colours by the Antica Stamperia Artigiana Marchi in Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna. In this case too, a QR code provides information on the history of the product. A great way of combining craftsmanship, sustainability and tradition.

Honorable mention for Herno, which devotes much space to Herno Globe, a collection of totally eco-sustainable garments. We can find sweatshirts and T-shirts in organic cotton, or 100% biodegradable outerwear in recycled nylon. Most of the garments are made from bio-based material, that do not steal land from agriculture. Herno’s ten years’ research on textiles for a sustainable fashion confirms that it is possible to make amazing products without harming the environment. The rest of the collection is dedicated to a modern reinterpretation of the classic male wardrobe and to sportswear, in collaboration with Gore-Tex. The final result is probably one of the best seen at Pitti.

Pitti first edition after the pandemic shows us what the challenges of the future will be for menswear. Sustainability, research on materials, attention to detail and comfort are the key words of this edition, which really seems like a bright light at the end of a long storm.