Coffee with Sig. Rubinacci.

It’s hard to stay cynical in Florence. I arrived prepared to look down my nose at Pitti’s tradeshow circus and the inevitable sartorial showmanship from attendees, to see through the veil of #menswear and tell the unvarnished truth about what I saw. Which, of course, I will. But as a longtime fan of makers like Isaia, designers like Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments, and shoes like Edward Green and Crockett & Jones, not to mention those not exhibiting but present all the same, to have all the product and people in one place, and a place as easy on the eyes as Florence? It stuck a smile on my face almost all week.

One of the quieter, most pleasant moments of the week was when Fok and I met Mariano Rubinacci for a morning cappuccino at the Excelsior Hotel on the Piazza Ognissanti. Before we all visited Pitti on Thursday, we spent a little time talking about the recent and less recent history of the suit (has the suit really changed all that much in 100 years? Will anyone still be wearing suits in another 50?), the nature of Rubinacci (they run a tailoring shop, but Sig. Rubinacci? Not a tailor. What he is, he says, that’s a difficult question). Didn’t get a chance to ask him what Ye ordered.

We hope to have more from Sig. Rubinacci in the near future, as one of our contributors will be visiting Naples soon.

Grungy Gentleman’s Pitti street style.

Styleforum did not bring a dedicated street fashion photographer along to Pitti (although I think we were alone in that–the place was bristling with $1000 lenses). Fortunately Jace, a.k.a. Grungy Gentleman, agreed to pick up the slack. Pitti is the peacock enclosure at the #menswear zoo, but Jace picked out subjects that are celebrated as much for their work as their personal style quirks.

Lino is sooo good, it’s unfair!

Josh Peskowitz always comes correct. Down vest over a DB blazer? Yes please!

FASHION FACT: The fellas behind the camera really bring it. Nam shut it down with this pink camo jacket.

Let the brain trust behind Isaia teach you how to appropriately rock a DB suit.

Menswear is all about subtle detail. My boy from Amsterdam, Cees Prins looks murderous (in a good way) with those yellow buttons.

Team Details always lookin’ sharp. Eugene Tong and Matthew Marden know the menswear game inside and out. And it shows!

The ever so dapper, Bruce Pask. Have admired this gentleman for years. His content is fantastic.

Shopping: Il Bisonte, Florence

Just a few blocks up from the Arno in Florence, a shopping district unfolds on the cobblestone streets, the odd angles of which can disorient a man more accustomed to the grid of a planned city. Here you’ll find Italian casual at Happy Jack; streetwear forum favorites from Woolrich, Barbour, Barena, and Beams Plus at WP Store; unique softly tailored clothing at Frasi by Simone Righi, and bespoke from Liverano and Liverano. One of the larger shops is that of Wanny Di Filippo’s Il Bisonte in Via Parione.

Il Bisonte is a leather goods maker with a dedicated following. The bearded and ponytailed Di Filippo started the company in Florence in 1970, and it’s grown to have stores in well-heeled shopping areas in Italy, the U.S., China, France, and Japan. The appeal is in the quality of the vachetta leather and the relaxed and quirky designs. The leather Il Bisonte uses is not the tough, raw hide Di Filippo’s cowboy imagery might call to mind, but a softer, more refined leather that suits his men’s accessories, like briefcases, wallets, and watches, and women’s pieces, mostly handbags, sometimes complemented with colorful canvas.

The shop in Via Parione is an ideal setting for the warm tones of Il Bisonte leather goods–lots of wood, buffalo-themed and otherwise western decor, and touches that attest to the popularity of Di Filippo as a symbol of Italian craftsmanship and idiosyncrasy. Asked why the bison/buffalo association, Di Filippo has said “For centuries these animals have been source of life and future for the people who roamed in Northern America territories. Nowadays it is a symbol that I proudly use to “sign” my product.”

After browsing in a city where you can shop in conspicuous luxury at Stefano Ricci’s palazzo or buy dirt cheap leather jackets whose origins are sketchy at best, Il Bisonte seems to represent good value. Solidly built belts start at about EUR65, while some wallets are under EUR50. Leather portfolios are in the EUR150 range, and one briefcase we particularly liked is EUR366.

Il Bisonte has shops around the world and is stocked at other shops, like Union Made in San Francisco.

Watches start at EUR195; automatic models about EUR700.