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The biggest menswear trends from Pitti Uomo

The boundaries between streetwear and luxury are blurring ever more rapidly, as seen at Pitti Immagine Uomo — where sneakers were an ever-present footnote 

I’ve always liked the idea that someone can become like an angel through doing good in their lives. It puts the value in a person rather than putting value in objects. - Craig Green

Going by the collections from Roberto Cavalli, Craig Green and MCM, the cool cats will be bounding down the streets next spring. Edgy new designers, blurred boundaries and techno-functional garments channelled an acid-drenched vibe at Pitti Immagine Uomo, the trade fair turned trend barometer for the fashionable man about town.

Sandwiched between Milan and London Fashion Weeks, the event has become an essential stop for everyone in the menswear industry (the Pitti Peacock is a living, breathing species and their signature style cue for this season is the neck kerchief). Pitti Uomo has endured 94 seasons, helped no doubt by its location in a Florentine castle, but important because of its ability to float new projects and take up-and-coming talents to new audiences. Some 1,240 brands take part with more than 500 international labels among them, and 30,000 people attend from around the world.

I’ve always liked the idea that someone can become like an angel through doing good in their lives. It puts the value in a person rather than putting value in objects. - Craig Green

So it was this year, where streetwear collided with tradition and sportswear met luxury in the collections, and tailored suits gave way to casual refinement in the spectator rows at a show that is part fashion carnival, part reflective art installation, and part trend forecasting platform. The rules, as Debonair reported earlier this year, are being rewritten yet again and there’s no sign they’re here to stay.

The event surged from highlight to highlight over its four days, with instantly covetable collections leaving us to mourn the demise of the reporter’s wardrobe budget. Special guest Craig Green brought his signature mix of functionality and sculptured silhouettes to the show in a tribute to modern-day superheroes. Having grown up in a family of tradesmen, working uniforms formed the inspiration for this collection. Abstract shapes and an acid palette celebrated their invisible presence, while his trademark walking sculptures hinted at each man’s shifting personae. Oversized hoodies, medieval tabards, 3D cutouts, rope cables running across shirts, geometric details — this was high fashion at its best. And yet, Green remained relatable in a collaboration with Nike, the first designer to be allowed to create garments from the brand’s Flyknit fabric, while reinterpreting its line of sneakers with a multicolour take on workers’ safety harnesses.

Corneliani channelled instinctive and natural elegance infused in a timeless wardrobe, perfectly balancing aesthetic and functionality.

Heritage got a sharp update at several of the brands, perhaps a nod to our increasing need to stay rooted to our own stories in this melting-pot of a world.

Over at Roberto Cavalli, which presented its first full menswear collection in the city of the original designer’s birth, Paul Surridge ensured that Middle Eastern gentlemen would be able to hold their own against the fair sex next season. In an of-the-moment, technology-forward collection presented at an epic Carthusian monastery in nearby Galluzo, the British minimalist pared down the 43-year-old brand’s signature animalier leitmotif, greying out leopard prints on overcoats or hybridising jungle elements for separates. Pops of flame red and rainforest green stood confidently amid beachclub white and nightclub black, and textural contrasts ran through an accessible line that for once didn’t feel like an adjunct to the women’s line. Shoes were a focus again, this time as python boots and aerodynamic sneakers inspired by cobra heads.

Corneliani was born as an outerwear manufacturer in the 1930s but in recent years has come to be associated with a classic Italian savoir-faire. As part of three capsule collections, it presented sweatshirts, joggers, laptop cases and a line of referential raincoats. Silks, wool blends and linens in Mediterranean colours and breezy prints provided the broad strokes for this refined range. Elsewhere, Franco and Giacomo Loro Piana, scions of the wool family, put out easy athleisure in their Sease line (from sea and ease), offering blends of wool and bio-based nylon, or garments from 100 per cent recycled polyester, for eco-conscious weekend warriors everywhere. Whether swim trunks, rain jackets or boat shoes, these classic designs harmonise neatly with the mother brand’s aesthetic.

Dress Code

Babette Wasserman

Twist Cufflinks - Light Blue, base metal rhodium plated, catseye
AED 365.00

Anchor & Crew

Blue Noir Belfast Bracelet
AED 714.00

Alysia Thomas London

Cherry blossoms scarf
AED 1,000.00

Drakes

Pocket Sqaure painted spot
AED 195.00

“At Cos we are constantly exploring and innovating, finding inspiration for our collections from every discipline of the art world, including dance. Everyday movements of clothes on the body were the starting point for Soma.”

~ Karin Gustafsson

An exploration of stalwart Florentine brand Pucci, sited a stone’s throw from the city’s impressive Dom, provided a different take on heritage: having been sold to LVMH in the last few years, how will the storied label’s future be safeguarded? Food for thought came by way of a fresh, post-millennial take on its archives, with feathered hats on Renaissance busts, and signature prints reproduced on giant mannequins from the Italian forerunner Bonaveri.  

Also exploring artistic collaborations was the Gucci Garden, which has opened two new rooms dedicated to artists. Björk is the first to be featured at the Florence museum, and among her show-stopping outfits on display is the iridescent dress from the video for The Gate, which Alessandro Michele’s team took 550 hours to make.

Sport was also a recurring theme, with double-duty items from several brands. Z Zegna celebrated tennis with a line of performance-backed tailored sportswear, chiming nicely with the appointment of its first official face: ATP top-20 tennis player and current World No.3 Alexander Zverev. Performance-tailored ultra-fine stretch nylon and maxi mesh in vibrant, summery tones nicely straddle the line between smart casual and sportswear, and its wash-and-wear convenience will find fans aplenty. Its Caulera sneaker — presented at a stand designed like a mini tennis court — channelled a clean, retro aesthetic, while its transparent sun visors nodded to fashion’s current obsession with plastic. 

Soma is a collaboration that investigates Cos’ considered approach to every collection. 

Tennis and heritage also collided. In an update for Sergio Tachini’s eponymous 80s’ label, Daniel Hettmann and Angelo van Mol of Band of Outsiders took the inspiration for their monochrome kicks from school trips to Italy — cue clothes with Roman architectural motifs and Renaissance sculptural references. And Bally put out a re-release of the Champion sneakers Jakob Hlasek endorsed in the Nineties. It is called Kuba after the Swiss player’s nickname.

British accessories label Babette Wasserman, meanwhile, expanded its quirky Balloon cufflinks series with an elephant motif, balanced with classic offerings including a mother-of-pearl set with subtle deco Arabesque laser printing. 

A cerebral touch came from Pitti Immagine’s Discovery Foundation in an exhibition that underscored football’s immutable contribution to men’s wardrobes. It explored the impact of style icons such as Neymar, David Beckham and Franck Ribéry, featuring illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld as well as archival material from the German magazine Sepp Football Fashion, and, for charity, sold animal-printed handcrafted soccer balls from Roberto Cavalli.

“I’ve always liked the idea that someone can become like an angel through doing good in their lives. It puts the value in a person rather than putting value in objects.”

- Craig Green

Two other collections emphasised movement. German leather brand MCM kicked off with a dance-off and sent its first full ready-to-wear garments and accessories out through an indoor tropical storm, while a skydiver landed on the catwalk. Metallic, holographic fabrics reflected the light, and weightless parachute materials nonetheless made a heavy style impact. Blues and canary yellows contrasted with whites and grays in this line inspired by base jumpers in a line that was only overshadowed by its own accessories — monogram bags, sneakers and chunky runner sandals that come with waterproof socks.

At a 14th century orphanage outside the fair’s grounds, London-based Cos did away with models, hiring The Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer Wayne McGregor and nine dancers from his company to showcase Soma, its seasonless capsule collection of menswear that goes on sale in September. Everyday movements were interpreted through dance, showing how garments must respond to the wearer’s actions. In white, grey and navy, Christophe Copin’s fluid, inventive designs danced their way into viewers’ hearts.

So, what look are you taking to the street? 

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