The Pittilogues: Pitti Uomo 91, Day 1

Since I flew to Florence from Denver, there was of course a Weed Bro on the plane who had Everything Figured Out. I was banished to the window seat (Lufthansa having somehow ruined my seating reservations), and therefore couldn’t escape from the lecture he gave the young german man sitting in the aisle. Car people just don’t know business, he’s told us, which is why he’s managed to disrupt the entire hail damage repair industry. He wanted to know what everyone did for work, and I was tempted to tell him that I was an ostrich wrangler.

Somehow it seemed like a fittingly absurd conversation to overhear on my way to Pitti 91, where there is an equal amount of absolute certainty about the rules of the fashion system with no demonstration that any of it is even real. My arrival in Italy was punctuated by a 10 hour layover in Frankfurt, which I spent wandering the Innenstadt and people-watching. I watched, for example, a couple flirting at the bar where I ate a truly humongous schnitzel. The boy was wearing cowboy boots with jeans tucked in. The girl was very, very drunk.

Listening to them flirt was fascinating. I took my time over a beer, wondering why we, as a people, seem to only be fascinated by the process of falling in love, and not what comes after. I’m thinking of this in part because of the incredibly trashy YA fantasy romance novels I spend every plane ride reading, but why do we lose interest once the “ILU’s” are traded? Why do we skip from puppy love to heartwarming wrinkled people, with no appreciation in between?

It’s maybe not the greatest metaphor, but I’m going to extend it to fashion anyway. We’re obsessed with the anticipation of what’s next, with the climactic experience of the purchase, and then – well, how many of us have lusted after a piece of clothing only for it to fade to obscurity once it’s in our wardrobe? Arianna, who is at Pitti with me, tells me that something about living in the US just makes her want to buy, buy, buy. And Pitti is very calculated to make you want to buy buy buy, as well – because I can walk into the Monitaly booth and say “I want to wear this head to toe,” then walk next door to De Bonne Facture and say the exact same thing.

Some quick snaps of De Bonne Facture at Pitti Uomo 91

This was a train of thought that continued to chug along through the haze of jet lag when I arrived at the airport for my flight to Florence – because I had forgotten how easy it is to spot the Pitti-goers, double-breasted and bearded just as they were the last time I made this trek; playing the game even at ten thirty PM in an airport.

It’s a bit awkward to realize that you recognize most of what everyone is wearing. There’s a Gray knit blazer. There’s an LBM casentino overcoat. An East Harbor Surplus down vest. Stone Island. Adidas.  I wonder what the tarmac workers think of us as we climb the ladders to the aircraft, our strange parade of coats-draped over-trousers and bellicose lapels cutting a fine figure through the Frankfurt fog. And once arrived, we descend en masse in equal majesty; a riot of sparkly skull rings and undercuts and white sneakers and hoodies worn under overcoats. I wonder at the cumulative worth of the wardrobes contained within the luggage at the baggage carousel. It takes away the fun of things when it feels as though none of us have any imagination whatsoever. 

Pitti, however, hides some gems. We’ll report back, but I do have some pressing thoughts:

  1. First of all, I can’t help but wonder how long it will take for the see now, buy now mindset to take over Pitti. Choya, a Japanese shirt maker, is taking MTM shirt measurements at their stand, and I can’t imagine they’re alone – or that other brands are far behind.
  2. It felt empty today, on the guest front. I’d be interested to see what the official numbers are.
  3. Hype rules all. Arianna and I went to the presentation of the new collaboration Liverano & Liverano x Roy Rogers denim, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t almost want a pair by the end. And I wondered, per bullet point 1, how many people would have thrown money at the stand hand they been allowed to take the jeans home.
  4. There are a lot of well-dressed people, proportional to the number that look, frankly, ridiculous.
  5. There are a lot of neat brands, too – perhaps it’s Arianna’s idealism that’s rubbing off on me, or perhaps I’ve somehow never noticed in the past, but some of the brands here are, well – they’re cool.
  6. Yasuto Kamoshita remains maybe the best-dressed man on the planet. Wish I’d taken a picture.
  7. The Italian way of eating lunch, in which you drink wine, eat tasty charcuterie, and talk for two hours, is much better than wolfing down whatever hellish fast food you can find while continuing to work, like we do in the states.
  8. Since I know some of you out there are just waiting for me to talk about how miserable I am – yeah, my feet are a little sore.

After all of that, we attended the Permanent Style x Plaza Uomo symposium event, where we saw some old friends. And tomorrow we’ll get into the full swing of things, with a day of fashion shows, parties, and lots of photos from the Fortezza. You’re following us on Instagram, right?

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Styleforum endorses: Grenadine ties

If there is anything that Styleforum community – an opinionated and sometimes grumpy group – agrees on, it is that grenadine ties are excellent.  If you look in the Styleforum WAYWT or WAYWN (“What are you wearing today/now”), you’ll see ties made of grenadine, a open, nearly gauzy woven fabric that used to be worn as (black) lace in France,   in many of our members’ outfits, often in muted colors.

Grenadine ties certainly work with traditional business suits, they also work really well with more “fashion” oriented suits.  In any grenadine tie, whether it’s a “large” or “small” weave,  there are lustrous yarns and a three dimensional, textured, surface.  This combination ensures that all but the cheapest grenadines will look rich.

In the Classic menswear section of the forum, subdued ties with small, repeating patterns, are considered integral to the wardrobe.  This is in part because many of the discussions are geared not just towards classic menswear, but more specifically, towards business attire.  In the Streetwear&Denim section, suits are seen as a starting point for a fashionable outfit.  In the relatively few outfits posted that include ties, feature minimalist, solid colored ones.

Vanda Styleforum burgundy bourette grenadine ties

Vanda x Styleforum burgundy bourette grenadine tie to benefit The Ronald McDonald House of Spokane

Grenadine ties, because of their highly textured weave, do not require a pattern for them to be suitable for business ready outfits which makes the grenadine time one of those rare moments when the classic agrees with the modern.   Sean Connery’s James Bond regularly wore grenadine ties as well.  In our “Menswear Advice” forum for all of those pesky questions you are not sure where to ask, the answer “wear a burgundy or navy grenadine tie” is nearly always going to be an adequate answer.

This is one of the reasons that when we decided to the first Styleforum tie in the good part of a decade, earlier this year, we went with a burgundy with navy grenadine tie with Vanda (the majority of the profits of this tie went to support the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane.)

Here are a few of the forum’s other favorites:

Vanda Silk and Cashmere Grenadine tie: because you don’t get much more luxurious for fall.

Vanda navy silk and cashmere grenadine ties

Vanda navy silk and cashmere grenadine tie

 

Drake’s “Petrol” grenadine tie: Drake’s has been a perennial favorite with menswear enthusiasts both on Styleforum and beyond, for years, now.  $155 via MrPorter

 Drakes Kingsman Petrol Silk Grenadine tie

Drakes Kingsman Petrol Silk Grenadine tie

Chipp neckwear Wine grenadine tie – because a grenadine tie can also be had on a budget.  $55

Chipp wine grenadine tie

Chipp wine grenadine tie