For those not familiar with Pitti Uomo, it’s a biannual menswear showcase that takes place in Florence, Italy. Think of it as the Italian installment of men’s fashion week. Where London Collections: Men get experimental, Pitti Uomo offers up traditionalism with a dash of personality. The four-day event doubles as a runway extravaganza for experienced designers and a presentation-based commerce opportunity for up-and-comers. Though, in recent years, the biggest draw to Pitti Uomo has been its street style.
The savviest fashion fans always looked to the men of Pitti Uomo as trendsetters. They walked the streets surrounding the venues in brightly colored suits, pocket squares folded into aggressive poufs and high-end velvet loafers. Italian street style was always about suiting. The styles were so eye catching, so head-turning that a new term was born: the peacock.
The peacock was a man who loved to show off for the cameras. He added statement accessories into his look so he could be photographed. He favored double-breasted suits over single-breasted because he had an unmatched fashion edge. Sometimes, he’d slide on a denim jacket with his suiting pants but kept the matching vest underneath. He’d use a hanky as a pocket square. He’d wear his oxfords without socks even though the weather called for them. The Pitti Uomo peacock was the man we all wanted to be. However, at Pitti Uomo 91, which just concluded on January 13, the peacock was nowhere to be found.
Instead, he was replaced with a more subdued suited man. This guy was less of a peacock and more of a dove. Very few of the best dressed men donned suits this time around. The ones who did favored greys, browns and dark blues over bolder yellows, reds and pinks as we’d seen in previous seasons. There was a darker edge to this year’s street style; a somber mood. These men were still well dressed but there was nothing especially Italian or groundbreaking about what they’d pulled together.
As an alternative, streetwear made its biggest appearance on the streets of Florence. Tim Coppens brought politically minded statement sweatshirts to the runway. Cottweiler and Reebok teamed up to present futuristic sportswear for the fashion-minded athlete. Outside, wide-legged pants, oversized bomber jackets, wide-brimmed fedora hats, hoodies, embroidered coats and tech backpacks reigned supreme.
There weren’t many individual looks that were breathtaking. However, perhaps the most impressive and startling aspect of the week was the infusion of streetwear in all things Pitti Uomo. Streetwear isn’t just a New York thing or an L.A. trend. It isn’t just reserved for the wild runways of London. This multi-million-dollar industry, which is home to storied brands and fledgling labels alike, is seeping into men’s fashion all over the world. Its influence can be felt everywhere, even in markets that were once the exclusive territory of classic suits.
The Pitti Uomo peacock isn’t dead, and men will always wear suits. But it’s high time onlookers get accustomed to seeing logos and bombers on the men of Italy. Times are changing.
Stay stylish, my friends