Pitti Party

STORY AND IMAGES BY WILLIAM BUCKLEY

Twice a year, the Tuscan city of Florence, Italy welcomes 1,050 exhibitors and more than 30,000 national and international fashion industry insiders to Pitti Uomo, a trade show like no other. Staged in a 16th-century fortress, Pitti is a place to see and be seen: a promenade affectionately known as Peacock Avenue is packed with men dressed to the nines, fervently followed by an equally impressive number of photographers from magazines and websites worldwide. Espresso is sipped in equal measure to bottles of Italian beer and the quintessential cocktail, an Aperol Spritz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the most recent Pitti showcasing spring ’15 fashion, the world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli kicked the show off with an exclusive one-night performance with the Cameristi del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino that included an emotive rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria. The next morning the Prime Minister of Italy officially opened the show, followed by a whirlwind of fashion shows and festas. These included a Gucci museum cocktail party, a Z Zegna performance replete with acrobats and models, an Eton garden party at the Grand Hotel Villa Medici, a Brunello Cucinelli dinner at Il Giardino Torrigiani and an Ermanno Scervino presentation at the Forte Belvedere (where Kim Kardashian and Kanye West held their nuptials) with guests including… Kanye West!

Should you ever find yourself in Florence during this celebration of style, soak it all in. It’s one of the sartorial wonders of the world.

Reinventing the Suit

Brunello Cucinelli is changing the way men look, and feel, in a suit.

BY KAREN ALBERG GROSSMAN

Throughout the ages, men’s clothing designers have tried to create suits that convey both power and comfort, yet too often it’s a trade-off. Power suits are frequently rigid and/or overly structured so the wearer looks uncomfortable; soft suits can lack shape and substance meaning the wearer loses the presence and panache that a proper suit conveys. But with his recent foray into tailored clothing, Brunello Cucinelli is reinventing the suit as a luxury garment that men can live in!

The new Cucinelli tailored clothing is crafted in the recently purchased D’Avenza factory, reputed to be the finest in the world. “Expanding into fine tailoring was a natural evolution of our menswear collection,” Cucinelli explains. Since suits require a different level of expertise than sportswear, he sought out, purchased and collaborated with this highly respected clothing facility, working carefully with the artisans to ensure that the suits have his particular fit and relaxed sensibility. These are full-canvas garments, entirely hand-made. It’s the shoulder that’s particularly unique: semi-constructed so that there’s enough structure for shape (so it doesn’t look like a sweater) but not so much to make it stiff and unnatural. “The broad but soft shoulder paired with the trimmer waist and shorter length of the jacket creates a modern aesthetic. The minimal construction allows for easy wear; the half-lined interior minimizes the weight and allows the jacket to conform to the body,” Cucinelli explains.

While the company has always been known for elegant sportswear, the new emphasis is on clothes with a more tailored image. Even outerwear has a more sartorial touch: overcoats are about six centimeters longer. Fabrics are less tech-y and more sartorial, many in fine wools and cashmeres. The look is still relaxed, but definitely more professional.

Brunello Cucinelli started out in 1978 at age 25 with a small workshop, evolving his business into an international luxury brand with more than 1,200 employees. Based in the 14th-century hamlet of Solomeo, Cucinelli restored a castle to its ancient splendor and purchased a second facility at the foot of the town. In addition to his world-class fashion, he is recognized for his humanistic ideals, placing people at the center of his enterprise, always with respect for the environment. In 2013 he received an award from the Ministry for Cultural Heritage for contributing to the moral, cultural and civic growth of his country.