Pitti Uomo report: Raf Simons sets Florence alight for his 20th anniversary

The original innovator, Raf Simons headlined the S/S 2017 Florentine Pitti Immagine Uomo trade show.
The original innovator, Raf Simons headlined the S/S 2017 Florentine Pitti Immagine Uomo trade show.
(Image credit: Vanni Bassetti)

Critics who've forgone the Florentine trade show Pitti Immagine Uomo in recent seasons were clamouring for invitations for S/S 2017. Having recently been held back by schedule clashes following the ascent of London Collections: Men, the fair was back on form with its best line up in years.

The guest designers were two of menswear’s buzziest names; the new kid on the block, Russia-born Gosha Rubchinskiy, and the original innovator, Raf Simons. If one were searching for a uniting theme across proceedings it turned out to be the relationship between old and new.

That’s something that’s already central to Simons’ work. For his show, he looked back both at his own archive – filling Florence’s Stazione Leopolda with hundreds of vintage mannequins sporting highlights from his archive – and the photography of the late great Robert Mapplethorpe. The show, a collaboration with the Mapplethorpe Foundation, was a tribute to the artist’s life and work – his images of flowers, nudes and muses decorated the pieces, while models looked like mini Roberts with their black leather separates and caps.

If the clothes were a tribute to a great artist, the set up was more of a Simons retrospective – fitting given that just over 10 years ago, in 2005, the designer held his 10th anniversary show at the fair. It was hard not keep in mind the rumours that Simons will shortly be heading to Calvin Klein and consider this a watershed moment and turning point for his eponymous brand.

Rubchinskiy is also obsessed with old and new; with the history of his native country, the highlights of style culture and the aesthetics of those young boys around him (many of who walked in the show following a casting call on Instagram). He paid tribute to Italy’s sportswear heritage through collaborations with Italian brands such as Fila, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini. They’ll fly off the shelves. The designer also used the opportunity to debut a Pasolini-inspired film and new limited edition book of his photography, both titled The Day of My Death, hammering home his multifaceted approach to the creative process.

Also showing were Japanese label Visvim, who presented their first ever proper runway show. They used the opportunity to focus on spectacle rather than clothing, offering a show full of ‘Instagramable moments’ for the fashion pack – see the retro dancers, flags and vintage motorbikes. Fausto Puglisi has enough spectacle in his clothes themselves – he used the occasion to debut a menswear offer full of Anicent Greek inspired emblems, heavy prints, slogans and embellishments. He described it as ‘fearless’ – the wearer would definitely have guts.

Elsewhere, in keeping with the notion of past and present, Gucci unveiled fresh additions from the Tom Ford-era into their museum, while Karl Lagerfeld, a man who’s usually always looking forward, offered a retrospective of some of his recent fashion images in the imposing setting of the Palazzo Pitti.

Pitti Uomo report: Raf Simons sets Florence alight for his 20th anniversary

Simons looked back both at his own archive – filling Florence’s Stazione Leopolda with hundreds of vintage mannequins sporting highlights from his archive – and the photography of the late great Robert Mapplethorpe.

(Image credit: Vanni Bassetti)

Simons worked with lighing designer and regular collaborator Thierry Dreyfus on the immersive presentation space.

Simons worked with lighing designer and regular collaborator Thierry Dreyfus on the immersive presentation space.

(Image credit: Vanni Bassetti)

The models looked like mini Roberts with their black leather separates and caps.

The show, a collaboration with the Mapplethorpe Foundation, was a tribute to the artist’s life and work – his images of flowers, nudes and muses decorated the pieces, while models looked like mini Roberts with their black leather separates and caps.

(Image credit: Vanni Bassetti)

Mannequins also made their way outside, welcoming guests to the 20th anniversary show.

Mannequins also made their way outside, welcoming guests to the 20th anniversary show.

(Image credit: Vanni Bassetti)

Gosha Rubchinskiy with young boys around him

Gosha Rubchinskiy is also obsessed with old and new; with the history of his native country, the highlights of style culture and the aesthetics of those young boys around him (many of who walked in the show following a casting call on Instagram).

(Image credit: Giovanni Giannoni)

Italian brands such as Fila, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini.

He paid tribute to Italy’s sportswear heritage through collaborations with Italian brands such as Fila, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini.

(Image credit: Giovanni Giannoni)

‘The Day of My Death’, hammering home his multifaceted approach to the creative process

The designer also used the opportunity to debut a Pasolini-inspired film and new limited edition book of his photography, both titled ‘The Day of My Death’, hammering home his multifaceted approach to the creative process

(Image credit: Press)

Japanese label Visvim, who presented their first ever proper runway show

Also showing were Japanese label Visvim, who presented their first ever proper runway show

(Image credit: Press)

The models used the opportunity to focus on spectacle rather than clothing

They used the opportunity to focus on spectacle rather than clothing, offering a show full of ‘Instagramable moments’ for the fashion pack – see the retro dancers, flags and vintage motorbikes

(Image credit: Press)

Fausto Puglisi offer full of Anicent Greek inspired emblems, heavy prints, slogans and embellishments

Fausto Puglisi has enough spectacle in his clothes themselves – he used the occasion to debut a menswear offer full of Anicent Greek inspired emblems, heavy prints, slogans and embellishments.

(Image credit: Proj3ct Studio)

The designer's colourful moodboard backstage.

The designer's colourful moodboard backstage.

(Image credit: Proj3ct Studio)

He described the heavily embellished collection as ‘fearless’ – this wearer would definitely have guts.

He described the heavily embellished collection as ‘fearless’ – this wearer would definitely have guts.

(Image credit: Proj3ct Studio)

Fashion images in the imposing setting of the Palazzo Pitti

Elsewhere, in keeping with the notion of past and present, Karl Lagerfeld, a man who usually always looks forward, offered a retrospective of some of his recent fashion images in the imposing setting of the Palazzo Pitti

(Image credit: Press)

The venue's gilt backdrop brought a dramatic regality to the exhibition.

The venue's gilt backdrop brought a dramatic regality to the exhibition.

(Image credit: Proj3ct Studio)

Another impressive view skywards.

Another impressive view skywards.

(Image credit: Proj3ct Studio)

In this room, a fashion mural looks perfectly at home in its grandiose surrounds

In this room, a fashion mural looks perfectly at home in its grandiose surrounds

(Image credit: Proj3ct Studio)

INFORMATION
Pitti Immagine Uomo ran from 13 - 17 June 2016. For more information, visit the Pitti Immagine Uomo website (opens in new tab)