It has come and gone. Florence, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, hosted the latest instalment of the biannual Pitti Uomo and its thousands of self-proclaimed most interesting people (almost exclusively men) in the world. What makes these specimens of sartorial genius so interesting is their uncanny ability to appear authentic and casual while leaning against street lights, pretending to make important phone calls, and constantly checking the time on their conspicuously expensive watches. ‘Oh, is that a photographer? I hadn’t even noticed.’ For those who are not aware (and that includes many of the show’s visitors), Pitti Uomo is a trade fair. Unsurprisingly, many of the buyers and salespeople (known colloquially as ‘professionals’) who actually use the fair to work are less than impressed by the Kafkaesque absurdities on show.
In all honestly, the visitors’ sartorial arms-race behaviour makes it impossible to discern any noticeable trends (unless not being able to hold a conversation for thirty-four seconds without pulling out your phone to update your insta-story is a new trend). The main reason for this is that professionals run the risk of seeming unprofessional if they take this opportunity to experiment with their attire. This opens the floor to those willing to take it; namely, the gaudiest of all. I am reminded of Yeats’s line from The Second Coming: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
On a more positive note, let’s go through some examples of things done well. Firstly, navies, blues, and greys still look very good. Secondly, double-breasted chalk striped flannel suits are never out of style. Thirdly, earthy, classic corduroy suits are still charmingly irreverent. Fourthly, preppy outfits when done with taste and reserve are still fantastic. In summary (and this will likely count forever), true sartorial genius is often found in those with reserved (some might even say conservative) style, especially when combined with a flair for accessories. That being said, I must give an honourable mention to a certain Swedish gentleman whose oversized orange sunglasses (worn at night) and bolo tie were a perfect tongue-in-cheek contrast to the all-too serious act of dressing gaudily and with forced légèreté.
I will conclude with a reenactment of a conversation we had far too many times at this month’s fair: “Seen anything interesting?” “‘Fraid not. Maybe it will be better in the summer.” MM/DC