Pitti Uomo, a world-class oddity

Pitti Uomo, a world-class oddity

The 88th Pitti Uomo just closed its doors, following a short few days full of innovations, good and bad surprises, and of course sartorial excesses. You can check Sonya’s article here to see who wore what.

It is always worth repeating however, that despite its current fame as a giant catwalk where all matters of sartorial craziness are not only frequent, but also welcomed. Pitti Uomo is actually a professional trade show – where buyers from all around the world go to shop, and where makers from all around the world go to (whole) sell.

That such a mundane professional fair would slowly evolve into a global event is quite the anomaly in today’s marketing landscape, since Pitti’s very existence breaks a number of cardinal rules regarding not mixing messages and not addressing different target audiences.

Yet Pitti Uomo took a life of its own and became the gloriously chaotic men’s style grandstand we all know and love ; a unique event filled with professional buyers and hesitant newcomers alike, mingled with jaded journalists and starry-eyed bloggers of all sizes, through swarms of daring posers and burlesque penniless dandies, enough photographers to trip on a spotlight every few steps, (mini) skirt clad girls, a couple of real designers and a throng of fake and real Italians.

pitti the poor buyer

Pitti has become, as the above sketch points out perfectly, a hybrid monstrosity open to (almost) everyone, making it fairly hard to distinguish the good turtle soup or merely the mock. But let’s not be buzzkills – Pitti Uomo is a celebration !

Pitti Uomo 88

Even if the event is still a crucial part of any man’s style-related business, it has become, for all the players of the sector (in every sense of the word ; we did meet a few players by trade), a “democratic” fashion week of sorts and a means for blossoming houses who cannot afford a $300 000 catwalk during “regular” fashion weeks to get some serious worldwide exposure, and as a way for new bloggers, editors and photographers to cover a major fashion / style event outside the still very closed high -fashion circuit.

Though the Pitti is now covered by pretty much every major press title in the world, the event still owes much of its exponential growth and international appeal to 10 years worth of digital following – from blogs to tumblrs, to facebook to internet forums – who turned Pitti into their own fashion week.

Contrary to what the great Suzy Menkes wrote in her (very) agitated piece (read it here), bloggers are not entirely part of the “Fourth Estate” just yet. The traditional fashion weeks are still very much reserved for fashion editors with chauffeurs—despite a rapid loss of their readership. Privileges seem to die hard.

At PG, we have the chance to partake in both fashion weeks and Pitti Uomo – and if we draw a further comparison of the two events, the most glaring difference lies in the atmosphere. Pitti is extravagant and over-the-top but it is all done in good fun – whereas the mood in fashion weeks tends to be a bit pompous.

Of course, no need to put everyone under the same umbrella. There are many brands and houses that navigate the complex flow of mood and facades needed to appear in their best light no matter the event where they participate. Many bridges exist between the Pitti Uomo and the fashion weeks, and that is a wonderful thing.

Danilo Carnevale Pitti

Despite the criticism one might have about the extravagance of Pitti Uomo, it remains a formidable place where twists and trends are born, and wild sartorial experiments are made—an event where men are free to go crazy over a piece of fabric, “nonchalantly” posing in front of the world’s cameras while pretending to make a call (it makes for a more lively pose).

The Pitti is a place where people create personas that only exist two weeks per year, and there’s great freedom and joy to be found in that simple fact.

Unmissable, indispensable and formidable.

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Pictures credits :

Croquis Sartoriaux

Pitti Immagine

Alta Pierdolleria

Danilo Carnevale

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