Event emphasises the importance of face-to-face fairs in the COVID era.
Pitti Uomo 101 as the first exhibition of 2022 created quite a buzz. The menswear hybrid fair for 2022/23 was an upbeat introduction to the season. It maintained the mood set by Pitti Immagine and the exhibitors, emphasising the importance of face-to-face fairs in the COVID era.
The footfall, more than 4,900 visitors, gave rise to the almost unexpected realisation that things were on the move, which meant much to be optimistic about. Although the number of exhibitors and visitors was as expected, much less than the usual tally, at 548 brands with 30 per cent from abroad, it was backed up by the digital platform Pitti Connect which remains online until 28 February.
Pitti Immagine announced that the brands present at the Fortezza da Basso with their own exhibition space joined Pitti Connect as well. 41 brands participated exclusively online, 7 per cent of the total 589 brands on the platform.
Knitwear and knitted components of menswear were highly visible. Fitting in well with the eco message universally accepted in the menswear field, many of these were in wool, some in blends with other natural fibres, but many all wool. It encompassed both Merino and thicker, substantial designs from Shetland and northern breeds, used for chunky knitwear in cable stitch and unusual off-centre designs for rugged designs. Its qualities also the choice for high performance outerwear.
Colour dominated, from the stands to images on Pitti Connect and the in the outfits worn by the models and dandies, dressed to the nines, lined up back outside the Fortezza. Mandarin, yellow, blue from sky and cobalt, it all pointed to a more upbeat, less conventional approach to clothing across the board. Including down jackets and other outer layers for performance wear, featuring knitted construction with softer wool for a less harsh feel even on the outside of the garment.
Suave knits, always associated with Pitti Uomo, many of them emanating from long established family firms, especially the numerous cashmere labels, showed a more flamboyant face; thicker yarn, more twists, large scale ribs and 3 D looks, or several thick bands of colour across sweaters.
Solid bright colours were mixed at will with tartans and tweeds with a scant regard to conventional choices, originality being the buzz word and surprise a vital component. Some commentators even declaimed the death of formal wear and classic garments. Bright fashion items carried through to socks. Pantherella luxury socks, young designs at Burgers and Fries, cartoon or geometric designs in psychedelic colours with huge, knitted motifs designed to be seen, as well as in knitted sportswear, matelot designs, Paul & Shark, Navigare, and knitted leisure shoes.
Knitwear was key to the return to a revived business atmosphere, but with a feeling for less formality perhaps because so many people have left the office accelerating an already marked trend to less uniformity.
Several big names at Pitti Uomo included returnee Lardini, feted with an outdoor show, Rolf Ekroth, Raeburn hot on the Sustainable trail, and chic Tombolini using recycled fibres. Smaller focused labels with a coherent statement of their credentials have their day in the sun, sometimes sloganised like at edgy Ten C, using statements of eco ideas and values which formed one of the focus point of the Pitti Uomo 101. Luxury in accessories and gloves, upmarket scarves and covetable cashmere have made Pitti Uomo’s reputation many of firms established for three or more generations.
Pitti Uomo is well placed again for the specialist luxury collections, as well as the big names, to reiterate their traditions and commitments in manufacturing in a more vibrant atmosphere.