Florentine menswear festival Pitti Uomo puts its most exuberant foot forward yet
Give or take the passing parade of peacocking, pocket-squared dandies, the Pitti Uomo trade fair that takes over Florence every January and June is host to a slew of note-worthy cultural events – with last week's edition proving once again that springtime's optimism (and its Tuscan sunsets) paint Pitti in its most charming light. With invited guest exhibitors and Italian powerhouses battling for one's evening attentions, the season's calendar rivalled that of any fashion capital – so kudos to those who strategised the geographical planning that saw a seamless transition from events whose purpose and aesthetic were at times far from the madding sartorial crowd.
Thomas Tait for one, chose to fulfil his position as the guest womenswear designer not with a resort show (as past invitees have done), but with an intriguing exhibition in the Boboli gardens, juxtaposing seven archive pieces from his London runway shows with brand new iterations custom-made in the best Italian factories. Setting each inside a mirrored cubicle by Craftwork Studio's Mehrnoosh Khadivi, Tait prompted one to slow down and examine the evolution of craft through the eyes of a young designer.
Nino Cerruti is certainly no young designer, but he too was looking back (albeit over a larger, decade-spanning oeuvre) for the exhibition 'Il Signor Nino' curated by Angelo Flaccavento and held inside the remarkable Museo Marino Marini. The influence that Cerruti's work has had on modern menswear is undoubted, becoming strikingly evident when interspersed amongst Marini's sculptures and drawings, creating quiet moments of earthy texture and colour framed within neon scaffolding.
A little less reverent was MSGM designer Massimo Giorgetti's Emilio Pucci debut – a resort and men's collection he called 'The Pilot Episode' that he showed in presentation format framed by a fluorescent light install by Milanese architect Massimiliano Locatelli in the grounds of a Florentine art school. Turning the work of his predecessor Peter Dundas on its head, Giorgetti opted for a daywear focus by twisting Pucci scarf prints into asymmetric shirting, boyish suits, and flirty shift dresses (replete with feather belts).
Another strong design statement came from Savile Row tailor Kilgour, whose creative director Carlo Brandelli proposed a labyrinthine platform named 'Reflective 3' inside the Palazzo Medici in order to preview tailoring from his S/S 2016 collection. Constructed in mirror and tinted glass panels, the structure refracted sunlight in myriad, layered hues; 'from spring's first shoots to a pink August sunset', said Brandelli, whose palette came echoed partly in the pastel suiting that hung alongside his imposing modern piece, surrounded by a sunny, classical courtyard.
Closing the festivities, Jeremy Scott plastered the Palazzo Corsini with 'faux-fresco' lino floors (to match the genuine ceilings), for his first Moschino men's show in Italy since he took over the house last year. Never one to shy away from spectacle, Scott ran riot with a mash-up of references from a sporty, motocross streak to the lavish golden ruffles of a Venetian masked ball replete with powder-wigged, red-lipped models – reminiscent of peacocking males of an entirely different era.