Australia is about as far from the nexus of European fashion as one can get, but each year — twice per year — the country’s keen-eyed netizens parse their social media feeds tirelessly: for all the imagery out of Pitti Uomo, which may well define IRL style in the months of 2024 yet to come.
Now into its 105th instalment, Pitti has gotten a heap more fashun-y in recent years; with runway-ready “guest designers” the likes of Todd Snyder, SS Daley, and Magliano all staging epic shows in the Fortezza de Basso or the surrounding neighbourhoods of Florence.
Despite such chic new developments, you can bet your favourite Cucinelli sweater that much of what will prove didactic (particularly for stylish men working outside the fashion space) is to be found in the hallways, piazzas and improbably photogenic walls populated by tradeshow attendees.
Via photography and video, here are a handful of the big trends that we observed across the 4-day duration of Pitti Uomo that we wager will filter into our mean streets down under. That is, assuming they haven’t already.
#1 — Properly Powerful Outerwear
In the days during and immediately following Pitti Uomo 105, you’d be at pains not to notice the sheer quantity of balls-to-the-wall outerwear in 2024. After years of ambiguous length coating and trenches that seem incapable of protecting their wearer from even the mildest of weather, it was encouraging to see so many attendees dispense with such sartorial half-measures.
Being that the overcoat is hard-wired with so much of European tailoring’s DNA, the range of silhouettes that caught our eye was appropriately varied. Balmacaans, polo coats and the classic A-line all got their dues: underpinned, as clothing geeks well know, by a palpable visual drama that flows from good, generously cut tailoring.
“We saw a lot of these ‘coats that are actually coats’ [trend],” says photographer Milad Abedi. “Silhouettes that give you that 90s Armani vibe from a distance.”
#2 — ‘Quiet Luxury’ 2.0
In an op-ed following the series finale of Succession last June, I made some pretty sweeping claims about the death of the quiet luxury trend. But if even a handful of what we’re seeing on fashion buyers and media personalities is any indication, I’ll be the first to admit my handwringing may have been premature.
Well, not exactly.
As you’d expect of any serious menswear tradeshow in Italy, many of the constituent parts of the quiet luxury wardrobe are out in full force. Sportcoats? Check. Soothing tonal palette? Check. A surprising number of elegantly tied neckties? Triple check.
At first glance, this all looks and feels a lot like your typical ‘quiet luxury’ starter pack. But this year, Pitti attendees proved that ‘quiet luxury’ yet has legs by unpacking the phenomenon’s basic ideas in greater detail.
Now, it isn’t merely enough that you wear a tie and a blazer: some degree of effort should be made on the fabric front, with tonal glen-checks and fuzzily textured cloths like Casentino both a great starting point.
Equally, a big part of this more highly evolved guise of quiet luxury looks to involve a fresh context for the old (and importantly, well-made) clothes we already enjoy. Even the most banal piece of knitwear makes a grand impression when worn loosely about the shoulders, Agnelli-style.
#3 — Mastering The Layer Game
Learning how to wear multiple layers well — with adequate attention paid to scale, colour, and the interaction between each — isn’t anything remotely new, but in comparison to previous editions of Pitti Uomo, it was clearly a styling cue that many attendees were bullish on in 2024.
Interestingly, it’s been speculated that this is a by-product of the continuing integration between streetwear and conventional tailoring. That, and the industry’s now-years-long love affair with loosey-goosey fits.
There is, of course, no ‘correct’ way to play the layer game; yet many of menswear’s broader lessons can be leveraged to support you in this arena.
Working in monochrome can free you up to experiment with fabrics that gently clash against one another. Similarly, as men have become more and more comfortable borrowing from fashion’s various subcultures, accenting an outfit that is 90% one thing (e.g. sartorial clothing or sportswear) with workwear/a runway jawn isn’t just feasible — it’s actively encouraged.
#4 — Comfy Footwear
You’d think, of all the showcases in the European fashion calendar, that Pitti would possess the biggest contingent of dressy leather footwear. And while it’s certainly true that there was no shortage of lace-up oxfords and derbies on display — even a few rogue double-monks — the bigger theme at play appeared to be a widespread fixation on comfort.
Specific silhouettes reinforcing this idea included the chunky ‘Michael’ derby from Paraboot, more kickdown versions of Gucci’s classic horse-bit loafer than we can count; and, rather intriguingly, ASICS’ GT-2160 — an up-and-comer in the realm of ‘ugly fashion’ sneakers.
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