While there are hundreds and hundreds of brands that show at Pitti Uomo, many of them deserving of your time and attention, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Here are three great classic menswear brands at Pitti 91, all of which we thought had that little extra.
1. Peter Nappi
I’ve been following Peter Nappi, off and on, for several years now – though this is the first time I’ve had a chance to see their wares in person. My interest has largely been devoted to their line of handsome work boots, which are about as streetwear-friendly as you can get. But this season, Peter Nappi has introdced a new line of beautifully-patinated shoes that, at least in the warm browns that were shown at Pitti, are perfect for less-formal tailored clothing, or even dressed-up casual wear. I was most impressed by the wholecuts, which I thought had not only a shape that would be conducive to a range of outfits, but a honey-gold warmth that I can see pairing very nicely with, say, sage-green trousers, as well as worn denim. If you’d rather wear something a little slicker with your jeans and jacket, perhaps a pair of suede zip-up harness boots is what you’re after. Those, I have to say, were gorgeous.
Peter Nappi is based in Nashville, but the entire line is made in Italy, and most of the products are Blake-stitched. However, there is a line of completely handmade Goodyear-welted workboots, should you want to branch out.
Fioroni cashmere caught our eye at Pitti Uomo for the delicate nuances of their incredibly soft cashmere sweaters, but our interest deepened when we learned about Fioroni’s innovative techniques and philosophy. The brand stands against animal cruelty and uses only the finest Mongolian cashmere that is spun in Italy, while the leather is sourced exclusively from the food industry. Every sweater is finished by hand using pure cashmere thread.
The most interesting products we spotted were the Duvet line and the bio cashmere. After weaving, the Duvet garments are washed for an hour in water coming from the Lake Trasimeno, which is rich in iron and gives the cashmere an extra soft, compact, and virtually pill-less texture.
The Bio Cashmere is dyed using exclusively natural pigments; we spotted oak-dyed cashmere in the most beautiful taupe hue, and olive-dyed knits in a delicate pastel green. The colors of the Bio Cashmere line are pleasantly muted and, just like indigo-dyed garments, they take on character as they age and get washed.
Massimo La Porta is a Neapolitan shirtmaker who learned the art of shirt making from his uncle Pino Borriello, one of the first shirtmaker in Naples in the 1940s. His goal is to provide a product that follows the steps of the traditional Neapolitan tailoring as well as contemporary style.
Each shirt goes through twelve hand-stitching steps: collar, button holes, shoulders, and hips are hand-finished, and the Australian mother-of-pearl buttons are sewn by hand using a lily-stitch. The armholes are not sewn along with the hip seams; instead, they are hand-finished using a technique named “curl.”
Although there are many well-known Neapolitan shirtmakers, La Porta’s wares caught our eye due primarily to the range of fabrics on display. Particularly appealing to Jasper was (unsurprisingly) a medium-blue chambray shirt with exposed selvage detailing, though there were plenty of interesting patterns perfect for casual use alongside the more classic stripes and solids.