Peter’s Adventures in Pittiland – Part II

After meeting with 100 Hands, Fok and I made our way back to the Maker Space.  By then the show was over and Aperitivo Hour was in full effect.  After catching up with my good friend and tailor Salvo, I met the other artisans that shared SytleForum’s exhibition. Red and white wine, olives, prosciutto, and mozzarella were being passed around while conversations of the day’s effects were being discussed, and I could finally relax after my 30 hour travel ordeal.  Enjoyable as it was, though, I couldn’t wait to sleep in a proper bed.

“Wait till you see your apartment,” teased Arianna. “You have the best view of Florence.”

She wasn’t exaggerating.  The apartment that Salvo and I shared a panorama of the Arno and Ponte Vecchio, one of the most charming hallmarks of the city.  I could have soaked in the view for hours, but it was already past midnight, and exhaustion got the better of me.  I crashed on the bed in my clothes and fell asleep.

pitti uomo 93 brands trends streetstyle

The next day, well…let’s not dwell on the fact that I left my phone in the cab on the way to Pitti and forgot to finalize my press pass for the show…yeah, that’s a bit embarrassing.  Let’s skip to the show.  I was told the show is big, but when people say Pitti is “big”, they’re downplaying it.  It’s huge.  The show lasts four days because there’s so much to see – 60,000 square meters and 1230 exhibitors. Here are some highlights:

Monitaly

Not classic menswear, but casual clothes for CM guys that are looking for something interesting and unique.  Runs the gamut from trousers acceptable for date night to furry leopard print boots. Yup.

Knit Brary

If you like sweaters, you’ll fall in love with this brand. Based out of Spain, this company produces handmade sweaters with tons of visual interest and texture. One of the cardigans on display used yarns thicker than a pencil. Most are made with baby alpaca, so while not cheap, it’s the kind of cozy softness you can wear all day long, if your partner’s not borrowing it.  Check out their video here.

Carmina

Apparently Tebas, the father of the company, won’t stop making new lasts in his workshop. The latest, named after him, is a wider-than-Forest casual last that can be dressed up but is best represented on a chunky brogue boot. Other new lasts include the dressier Queen’s and Broadway.

La Portegna

When I vacationed in Sicily earlier this year, I scoured the internet for a good pair of espadrilles.  Most are flimsy things that only last as long as your vacation does before they fall apart. If only I had known of La Portegna. Although they do make other types of shoes, their espadrilles are the only ones I know of that have a leather sole, so you can keep wearing them long after you get back from your holiday.

Invertere

Like fellow British coatmakers Mackintosh, the popularity of Intervère began to wane in the late 20th century, but owner Graham Shaw was proudly showing the current line of coats at Pitti, and I’m glad. The company began over 100 years ago as the originators of the reversible gabardine/tweed coat. Mr. Shaw explains this was the reason for the name “Invertere” – a Latin word that can mean “inside out”.  The practical coats are as attractive now  as they ever have been, and if I could chose another travel coat, it’s going to be an Intervère. No US stockists exist now, but hopefully that will change.

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After hours of circling the grounds, ogling the products, and snapping pictures, we headed back across Ponte Vecchio to the StyleForum Maker Space, where Salvo had two jackets and one suit ready for the my fitting. Soon afterward, the guys from Nine Lives Brand (amazing yak jackets) Red Rabbit Trading Co (handmade pre-1920’s southwestern silver jewelry) and Jailbird Leather (belts made by salaried inmates) stopped by to hang and get fitted by Salvo. Because suits and streetwear can be friends. All three companies had a booth at Pitti, and make goods that be dressed both up and down.

Friday came all too quickly. I didn’t see all of the exhibitors, I didn’t see all my friends, I arrived late and was leaving early.  Suffice it to say, I didn’t really plan this well.  After packing my bags and my camera (thanks Leica) I wistfully said goodbye to our underutilized apartment on the Arno.

But that wasn’t the end of Pitti for me.  On my way to the train station I bumped into StyleForum user Steffen Ingwersen AKA @vecchioanseatico, whom I’ve met before, and his friend Mikolaj. After standing on the street chatting for a while, we decided to have lunch before leaving Florence. I got a chance to see some unique accessories Steffen is working on: a striped wool tie made of Fox flannel and pocket squares with prints of his own design. But what struck me most were the yellow carpincho gloves. Unlined and butter soft, I couldn’t resist, and bought a pair as a physical memento of my time at Pitti 93.

It’s always fun meeting StyleForum users, especially by accident; you never know what to expect from their online persona. Usually, though, they end up being regular guys who happen to be into clothes. This happened later on at the train station, when I thought I recognized another StyleForum user.  When I asked, he flashed a sly grin and replied, “I’m the notorious Alan Bee.”

Turns out Okey Onyehbule AKA @Alan Bee is a quite an amicable gent. As a guy with the Herculean build of a Mack Truck, he’s always had difficulty finding suits that fit him off-the-rack.  Now that he has been having success going to Naples for bespoke, he is keen to share his results so that those with similar fit issues can see how to dress.

“I don’t pretend to know everything,” he laughs, “but I do like to share what I’ve learned, which is why I’ve posted some videos.  When other users give me feedback, I take it in stride and try to learn from it.  I’m passionate about it, but I don’t take myself too seriously.  Bespoke is really just an indulgent hobby.”

It’s now my last day in Italy. In a few hours I’ll be picking up my commissions from Salvo, hopping on a plane, and going back to work in construction.  I’ve heard Pitti described as a kind of menswear Mecca for fame seekers or a necessary evil for those in the industry, and while there may be truth in both of those viewpoints, I think there might be another sentiment, one neither romantic nor cynical.

To be sure, those whose livelihood requires Pitti cannot but recognize its importance for business: product is bought, connections are made, bonds are forged, the machine is oiled, and business is set for another six months.  For those of us not in the industry, it’s a different story. We’re basically menswear fans, and Pitti is the draft. Everyone dresses up, shoppers look for products and products look for buyers. It’s exciting, sure; we might have fairly strong opinions about a particular player (cough, Kapernick).  After the draft, the season begins and we watch the players perform on the field.

At the end of the day, though, it’s only a game. Taking a pastime to its logical end doesn’t mean devoting one’s life to it, but the change from fan to fanatic happens pretty often. The common rationale is that if one enjoys something, more of that something translates into more happiness.  Kids do this all the time; ask a child what he wants to eat and he’ll choose pizza and ice cream.

I’ll admit, Pitti is a blast, and I’m excited to watch the rest of the season to see how the clothes play out in real life.  But the end of the day, though, it’s only clothes. I’m actually looking forward to just being home.

pitti uomo 93 brands trends streetstyle

A Perspective on the Styleforum Maker Space

Since the middle of December, I’ve been in Italy visiting the in-laws. We made a few little trips here and there for purposes of tourism, did a short tour of Emilia Romagna, enjoyed many delicious meals, and–of course–did some shopping during the Italian seasonal sales period. Additionally, we visited Florence as well, partly because it is a city filled with art, but also because my wife was working there during Pitti Uomo. During Pitti, I managed to make it into the Fortezza briefly, but I spent most of my time helping out with the Styleforum Maker Space. And I have to say it was a blast to hang out with so many charming people-while having bountiful aperitivi with decent wine, tasty mozzarella di bufala from Caserta, and salumi from the Tuscan countryside. The conversations ranged from materials and construction methods, to typical wines and dishes, to customer service and business practices.

Unfortunately Winson shoes couldn’t attend because of visa issues, but the other artisans more than made the experience great. At the Styleforum Maker Space there were Salvatore from I Sarti Italiani, Marco from Belisario Camicie, Alya from a.b.k. leather goods, and Frank and Jen from GIIN. Everyone was quite friendly, knowledgeable about their respective crafts, and their products were all impressive. If you had visited, you would have found yourself talking to individuals who genuinely find joy in their professions and care deeply about their crafts. From each one, you would have learned little secrets, such as the differences between types of mother of pearl buttons and shells, or which sections of a shirt or jacket require hand stitching and which can be machine stitched.

Over three days, talking with Frank and Jen from GIIN provided me with inspiration their passion and enthusiasm for their product, brand and work is enthralling. Frank is turning under garments on their head, making bonded products with a mix of long fiber cotton and polyester, blending the two together to create a fabric that exhibits the best of both worlds. He provided me with some to try, and I have to say that I am convinced (look forward to a review in the near future). On the other hand, the boutonnieres, the mainstay of their exhibition, were exquisite as always. Their display showed the materials at different steps, and they spoke with great respect about the Japanese artisan who created the process. These flowers were a hit with the Italians, who were shocked to see delicate flowers that were outside of the normal flow of time.

The leather goods from a.b.k. were impressive, especially for those who have a more street wear or rustic aesthetic. I talked with Alya about saddle stitching and vegetable tanned leathers as she sat in the corner hand stitching a pair of shoes that were being custom made for a foreign client. Her leather goods exuded a sort of aesthetic that embodied her personality itself, a reserved but passionate spirit that cares about the quality of the goods and the materials. She told me a wonderful story about the leathers that she works with, most of which come from a small tannery in the south of France that is run by two elderly gentlemen, who have been processing hides for many years in natural and historical methods. Her work combines this historical artisanship for materials with handcrafted methods to craft pieces that would last for a long time, growing more beautiful as they develop patinas through use.

I had used Belisario Camicie in the past to order online some shirts, and they came out well, so I decided to talk with Marco Belisario about modifying my shirts to the exact way that I wanted them. I ended up ordering a shirt with all my vezzi preferiti, including manica mappina and hand sewn buttons a giglio. I was amused that I had recently seen a friend of mine order a su misura shirt from another well-established shirt maker in Italy, only to have a fraction of the options and measurements taken in contrast to Belisario. Marco took a large number of measurements and some photos to create a paper pattern to compensate for my uneven shoulders and sleeve lengths, as well as for my watch on my wrist. He even consulted with the tailor from I Sarti Italiani to best determine how to address my bodies particularities. We discussed the size of armholes, and settled on a slimmer, high armhole as per my preferences. In addition, Marco allows you to choose which handsewn properties you want on the shirt, so I settled for what I most wanted aesthetically. They have a wide selection of different choices for collars (including one of the best one piece, open collars I’ve ever seen–they call it Ischia), buttons, and offer both fused and unfused cuffs and collars.

Last-but not least-was Salvatore Ioco, a 29 year old tailor who has been a tailor for 15 years of his life, learning the tradition from his grandparents. Salvo, the representative of I Sarti Italiani, is incredibly friendly and jovial guy. Based in Palermo, the smaller company is a consortium of 12 tailors and 3 cutters, all of whom work together to realize the garments in the style that the client desires. They produce mostly canvassed garments, but will do minimal canvassing (no fusing) if you desire in order to get an even lighter, more relaxed and casual garment. Salvo brought a wide range of fabrics in his books, showing off both more luxurious fabrics as well as base ones, and we talked about my preferences. I will have him make me a garment, but I’ve yet to decide on a fabric; in the end he took my measurements, talked about my physical abnormalities and my stylistic preferences. I’ll figure out whether I want to do something from him that is Cut-Make-Trim, or rather a suit manufactured in house with him and the other tailors using fabrics to which they have access. Of course, I’ll have to return to Italy for a few basted fittings, once we figure out what direction I want to go.

In the course of the three days, the various artisans had conversations among themselves, creating new dialogues; it comes as no surprise then that all the artisans shared a sort of mentality concerned with making durable goods. Even though reasons for making quality goods might have diverged slightly, they all overlapped in their pursuit of quality. GIIN seeks to preserve our resources by discouraging waste or using natural processes. Alya and a.b.k. is focused with maintaining a low environmental impact through sourcing environmental sound leathers (vegetable tanned), while also creating products that were useful. Belisario and I Sarti Italiani handcraft their clothing with rigor, in hopes of creating pieces that remain in your wardrobe for an extended time. This thoughtful mentality reminds us why craftsmanship and passion is still important today in a world overwhelmed with wasteful consumption.

Here you can see some pictures of the Styleforum Maker Space:

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Peter’s adventures in Pittiland – Part I

Day Two, because my trip didn’t start out that well.

Of course I expected that everything would proceed swimmingly. I arrived at SFO well ahead of time, check-in was a breeze, and boarding went without a hitch. But then we waited. And waited…and after waiting on the runway in the plane for an hour, I asked the flight attendant what my options would be if I missed my connecting flight in Heathrow.

Now I’d like you to imagine a condescending, over-her-prime, bad highlights and fake-smiling smarmy woman hiss back to you:

“Well if we leave now, you won’t miss your flight, will you?” Her inane question was meant to end the conversation, and her Mary Poppins tone was meant to put me back in my seat rather than assuage my concerns. And yet I countered.

“Are you saying we will leave now?”

“Well let’s just wait and see what the Captain says, OK?” It was clear she was both unable to and disinterested in helping me, and so with no alternative open, I returned to my seat and obediently waited.  The captain announced the luggage placement left the plane imbalanced, so they would shuffle it around, redistribute the fuel, and we’d be off in no time….

Finally, three hours after the scheduled departure, our plane left San Francisco. When Mary Poppins made eye contact with me, she blurted, “Yeah, you’re going to miss your flight, but they’ll sort it all out for you when you get there. Right, would you like some orange juice?”

14 Hours later we landed. Then waited an hour in a queue to get set up in a hotel, another hour in a queue for passport check, and another hour to get shuttled to said hotel, where we were graciously comped dinner in the hotel’s buffet that offered gooey fish pie and wilted salad. Four hours later, I woke up to catch the shuttle to our rerouted flight, but not before grabbing the comped breakfast, which included a cardboard granola bar and cheese puffs. A day and a half late, I arrived in Milan.

As an aside: if you’ve never been to Milan Central train station, you’re in for a treat.  Not the busiest in terms of numbers, but arguably the most majestic. When arriving and disembarking, you can’t help but notice the steel and glass canopy as you turn around – the largest of its kind in Italy, enough for 18 tracks, and hundreds of feet long. Wander around, and you’ll find yourself awestruck at the massively high ceilings, capacious galleries, overbearing statues, and Nouveau-Roman architecture. Impressive, to say the least. So I had to take a picture. Guess who photobombed?

Patrik started lurking in forum in the early 2000s after searching online for – you guessed it – shoes. Nowadays @Leaves is a forum regular, putting together MTO’s from international shoe makers and answering obscure questions from like-minded enthusiasts on the thread for his shop, Skoaktiebolaget. Don’t ask how to pronounce it.

Finally I arrive at the StyleForum Maker Space at 3:30pm on day 2. Even before I enter the door, Fok grabs me. I protest that I have to pee.

“We gotta get to our 100 Hands appointment. Pee, then meet me outside.”

The appointment was supposed to last an hour, but one hour turned to two, then three, before making our way back to the Maker’s Space where Arianna was holding the fort.

Click here to read Part II.

Pitti Uomo 93 – Day 3 & 4

It seemed like Peter Zottolo (@urbancomposition) would have never reached Mediterranean soil, after being stuck in America (first) and the Old Blighty (then) due to inclement weather and air traffic conditions; however, in the end, our hero did arrive in the Promised Land aka the Fortezza da Basso, and these are his first shots from the opulent carnival known as Pitti Uomo.

Enjoy!

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What it Means to Be “Made in Italy”


My Italian has gotten good enough that I can understand pretty much everything the locals say to me. The only words I consistently miss are the English words that they insert into conversation like french fries stuck in a spaghetti carbonara. WTF is “Nike” when it rhymes with “hike”? “Levi’s” when it rhymes with “heavies”? “Ee Red Hot Keelee Pepper?” But one English phrase comes up so often in conversation, at least within the rag trade, that I can pick it up on the first take: “Made In Italy.”

Cosa Vuol Dire “Made In Italy”?

To understand the meaning of “Made In Italy,” you have to go back to the genesis of the Italian nation, in the second half of the 19th century. Before that, Italy was a geographic concept, but not a political or cultural one. There was no real sense of an “Italian people” in the same way as there was already for the Germans, who formed a nation around the same time. Italy became one country not through collaboration, but through conquest by the Piedmont in the far north, which might as well have been Sweden as far as many Italians were concerned. If you think of Italy as a boot, the Piedmont would be the knee. A knee the rest of the peninsula would feel at their throats.

Citizens of the newly formed Italian state had little shared history, so newly-crowned propagandists created one, often relying on Roman iconography. Over the following decades, nationalistic myths hypertrophied into fascism – also largely a Northern phenomenon. Italy’s defeat in World War II broke this fever, but at a huge cost. The War was, for Italy, also a civil war, mostly pitting North against South, breaking open all the fissures that had been plastered over at the nation’s birth.

Two industries recreated Italian identity following the war – the film industry, and the fashion industry. Film helped the country understand its experience with the war and the poverty that followed. Fashion gave Italians a new nationalistic myth. Its appeals were more to the artistic achievements of the Italian Renaissance than the empire-building of the Roman era, and it helped that the industry’s first successes were in Tuscany, birthplace of Michelangelo. The Sala Bianca in the Pitti Palace hosted the first Italian fashion show in 1951, as well as Brioni’s men’s fashion show, famously the first of its kind, in 1952. Italian designers were able to capture something of the uniquely Italian approach to luxury and craft that had eluded the stuffy couturiers and tailors of Paris and Savile Row. As post-war realist film gave way to Fellini’s surrealist fantasies, Marcello Mastroianni became the guy everyone wanted to look, dress, and act like. And he wore Italian suits.

Allure, but Insecure

By 1980, the industry had grown tremendously, but had become something different. It had mostly moved to Milan, the industrial behemoth of the North. And it had begun to shift its focus from brands like Brioni to emerging giants like Armani and Ferre’. It was at this point that the “Made In Italy” campaign began, with the ambitious goal of branding an entire country. As one politico at Pitti’s “Opening Ceremony” said this year,” ‘Made In Italy’ is not just about selling fashion – it’s about selling Italian quality of life.” “Made In Italy” was intended to convey more than just the country of origin, but elegance, sophistication, craftsmanship – as if Leonardo DaVinci himself had blessed every stitch.

The campaign has been a massive success. Armani remains one of the most valuable brands in all of fashion. Gucci, Prada, and Zegna aren’t far behind. The manufacturing infrastructure that supports these brands is now also used by brands from Huntsman to Tom Ford to Ralph Lauren Purple Label, all of which are Made In Italy.

But the future is uncertain. At the Pitti’s Opening Ceremony, politician after politician announced their full support for the Italian fashion industry, for Pitti as a trade show, and their belief in the enduring allure of Italian luxury. Each one pledged a re-investment in “Made In Italy”. Which is what you do when you’re worried that a good idea’s time is running out.

The worries come mostly from China. A decade ago, there were no Chinese factories that could produce an approximation of Italian goods. Even if you stuck a “Made In Italy” label on a Chinese product, it wouldn’t fool anybody who cared enough to know the difference. Today, that’s no longer true. Chinese workers can produce high quality – they just can’t sell it at a high price without the “Made In Italy” label. As a result, there’s a lot of money to be made by someone who can figure out how to get that label on a Chinese product.

The Competition

A few miles outside of Florence is a town called Prato. The Pitti Opening Ceremony panel referenced it a few times as a major player within the Italian fashion industry, as in “Milan, Florence, and Prato.” I had never heard of Prato, and you probably haven’t either. But it is home to about 3,500 workshops that produce clothing, textiles, and accessories. The majority of people working in these workshops are Chinese.

Nor is it the only population of Chinese workers within Italy. There’s even a Chinese neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples that includes garment workshops. Of course, their work gets the “Made In Italy” label – how could it not?

But other products can get the label too, even if only some of the manufacture occurred inside Italian borders. It may not even take very much work on a product within Italy to make it “Made In Italy”. This is because the percentage of Italian work that goes into a product is calculated based on cost, rather than time (which would be difficult to measure anyway). Since wages in Italy are much higher than in China, you could have most of the work done in China for $4.90, pay an Italian $5.10 to put on the finishing touches, and the entire thing can get stamped “Made In Italy.”

It goes without saying that Italians have no monopoly on craftsmanship or design taste. There is no reason a well-trained Chinese person can’t do at least as good a job as an Italian. One way to view this development is that Italians traded for decades on a promise of inherent superiority, and Chinese workers have now proven that promise false. Not only have they become just as good as “Made In Italy,” they have become “Made In Italy.”

But it’s difficult for native-born Italians to be so generous. For one thing, competition from immigrants eats away at Italian wages and profits. Heirs of businesses that span multiple generations worry that they will have to choose between keeping their companies afloat and maintaining the quality and integrity of their product. For another, if customers hear about Chinese workers in Italian factories, the mystique of Leonardo’s blessing seems to lose its luster. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s hard to maintain national pride in “Made In Italy” when many of the workers behind it are foreign. So opinions are strong. Companies that dilute “Made In Italy” by employing immigrants or moving production overseas are considered traitors who don’t respect their product or their heritage.

Protecting the Brand

The backlash prompted some political movement in 2010. The Italian government raided factories in Prato and found illegal immigrants working there. It also passed a law restricting further the products that can use the “Made In Italy” label, including creating a new “100% Made In Italy” label that can be used only by products completely made in Italy.

But this is a losing battle. Illegal immigration is difficult to prevent. Italy’s national laws on product labeling are constrained by EU rules, since there is a free trade agreement among all member countries. The new levels of “Made In Italy” only confuse the consumer and sound defensive. Consider this Pitti booth insistently declaring itself “Absolutely Made In Italy”:

Doesn’t exactly instill you with confidence. When they start using intensifying adverbs, you know it’s bad.
The most encouraging development for Italian manufacturing in the past few years is not new regulations, but rising prices elsewhere. Alberto Merola told me that his glove company, Merola, saw some of its private label clients take production to cheaper countries a few years ago, but now many are coming back. “If the workers are good,” he said, “they get paid, no matter where they are.”

Claudio and Stefano Merola

Even if “Made In Italy” is eventually doomed, it can look forward a long and stately decadence. Right now, Italy is still sexy. Pitti has been such a huge success that the Italian government is trying to replicate it with other trade shows – further support for the Milan show, and collaborative shows with the US in New York and with China in Shanghai.

Italy already exports 62% of the clothing it makes. In the end it may be this that finally dilutes the Italian national brand beyond recognition. Many of the Italian brands I spoke to at Pitti were there hoping to attract Asian buyers. At one stand, I was shown a wall of double-breasted plaid waistcoats, complete with watch chains. After some discussion, they brought out from hiding a very nice plain navy overcoat that they planned to show the Italian buyers the following week in Milan. I wonder how many of the chained waistcoats they have to sell before they stop producing the navy overcoats. How much “Italian quality of life” can you sell and still have some left?

-David Isle


This article was originally published on Styleforum.net on Feb. 4, 2015.

Alternative Outfit Inspiration from Pitti Uomo

Alternative Outfit Inspiration from Pitti Uomo st

Do you know how difficult it is to find a purple blazer that doesn’t come with a picture of Prince on its accompanying costume box? It’s certainly not easy, and that’s one of the reasons I really love this photo for a bit of alternative summer inspiration. Combined with the grey band-collar popover, it’s a really nice, washed-out color combination that’s eye-catching in a good way – and a far cry from the garish neon colors that are no doubt on display on the wall just out of sight. It’s interesting – to me – how much of Pitti has inflitrated Styleforum and is now seen as normal, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In the USA, men’s tailoring gets more relaxed every year, and it’s nice to see an outfit that makes you excited about tailored wear, rather than bored. This is relaxed, it’s worn well, and even the lilac straw hat doesn’t look out of place – because come on, it’s Pitti.

I’ve said it before a million times, but there are countless well-dressed men at Pitti, and that includes those who dress well outside the confines of the very real Styleforum Groupthink. It’s a pity that the only ones who get the press continue to be the peacocks, especially as the shift in the last few seasons has been towards streetwear peacocks – a different subspecies, I suppose, but an equally boring one.

Perhaps what I like best about the photo, though, is that it shows one of style’s real truths: it’s more about how you wear the clothes than what you’re wearing, and less about centimeter-perfect fit from top to bottom. When you meet stylish people at Pitti, they come across as stylish not across the main plaza of the Fortezza, but in conversation. This man’s at home in his clothing, and you should be too.

Pitti Uomo Outfit Inspiration from Andreas Klow

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This week, I thought it would be fun to take some Pitti Uomo outfit inspiration from Andreas Klow, who has been our photographer in Florence for Pitti Uomo 92. In particular, I quite like this picture – not one he took, but one he’s in, so that we can see how the photographer himself dresses. Of course, he’s in good company: he’s standing next to Simon Crompton of Permanent Style and Greg Lellouche of SF affiliate No Man Walks Alone, both of whom are some of the better-dressed men at Pitti each season, but he’s holding his own very well.

I also like that this picture shows one of the big draws of Pitti: the cordial atmosphere outside the Fortezza, and how generally good-natured people are despite the heat. After all, Pitti is as much a chance to see old friends (and shake on some business deals) as it is a tradeshow – and a chance to enjoy a lot of free cocktails.

In this photo, I particularly like how Andreas has paired dark colors in a way that still manages to look summery and comfortable. A green jacket is a great and oft-overlooked option, and Andreas (well, all three of these handsome gents) does a great job showing how relaxed and comfortable and generally un-stuffy tailoring can look. It’s neither restrictive nor is it overwrought in Pitti Peacock fashion – all in all, a great summer look.

Oh, and it looks as though beards are still in fashion, so if you’re fortunate enough to be able to grow a nice one (sob), I suppose you can take comfort in your facial hair being on-trend (though why you’d want a beard for summer I don’t know).

Our garments this week are all relaxed, summery options – and all Italian, of course. When you’re considering your summer tailored outfits, consider some less traditional, more saturated colors, and enjoy the change of pace.

Streetstyle Photos from Pitti Uomo 92, Day 2

Day 2 is over, and once again Andreas has put together a selection of his best streetstyle photos from Pitti Uomo 92. See any familiar faces?

All photos: Andreas Klow

Pitti Uomo 92 Streetstyle Day 1

Pitti Uomo 92 Streetstyle Day 3

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Pitti Uomo 92 Streetstyle: Day 1

This summer, Andreas Klow is in Florence on Styleforum’s behalf, taking photos of the proceedings. In the slideshow below, see his take on Pitti Uomo 92 Streetstyle from Day 1 of the fair.

All photos: Andreas Klow

Pitti Uomo 92 Streetstyle Day 2

Pitti Uomo 92 Streetstyle Day 3

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Introducing: 1st PAT-RN

There is quite a bit of “workwear” shown at Pitti Uomo, and I use the scare quotes for a reason. I’m not usually one to complain about a lack of functionality in clothing, but it’s difficult not to think that most of what is presented as workwear is a joke: flimsy, trend-driven, and beyond that, boring and unflattering. Not so with 1ST PAT-RN, the project of  Cristiano Berto and Sylvia Piccin. This is a brand that combines elements of workwear, trad-wear, and ivy-style to offer what I’d describe as nostalgic explorer-wear.

1st pat-rn styleforum

Cristiano and Sylvia

Before you balk at that description, the clothing isn’t costumey in the vein of Haversack or even hardcore in the way of Nigel Cabourn. Nonetheless, it does evoke some of the same feelings of the gentleman (or gentlewoman, as there are women’s pieces as well) traveler, with a regular selection of blazers and chore jackets set atop tapered chinos and denim.

There are two aspects that set 1ST PAT-RN apart: meticulous fabric choice, and smart, largely modern (if vintage-inspired) cuts. The combination results in clothing that is both pleasant to wear and very wearable, with a narrow but fulfilling range of styles. The pieces that most grabbed my interest during our visit were a pair of lovely straight-legged 4-pocket trousers in an indigo twill, and the very handsome chore jackets – in particular, a model in deutschleder that was made specially for Manufactum Magazin (which I hope makes its way into the main collection).

Fans of layering will rejoice, as there are enough interesting mid-layers (vests, knits and the like) to provide a good backbone to the very strong basics; as will those of us who are always looking for an escape from slim jeans and trousers – you’ll find both straight legs and pleats here, which look very nice when presented with chunky footwear. 1ST PAT-RN has also worked with Timex to release a handful of special dials and straps, which makes a great deal of sense when you’ve seen the clothes. They’re similar in style – 1ST PAT-RN is deceptively complex, well thought-out, and utilitarian – but with an enduring attractiveness that’s both compelling and hard to ignore, no matter your personal style.


See photos from Pitti, as well as images from the S/S2017 lookbook, in the slideshow below

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