Pitti Postcard, Part Three

by William Buckley
[metaslider id=92275]

I mentioned in Pitti Postcard, Part Two, that while the entire city of Florence is teaming with well dressed men during the menswear fair, the city is actually, by some standards, small. However despite that fact, somehow it is also the most disconcertingly disorienting city I’ve ever been in. I will be certain one second that I am headed in the right direction. I will pass notable monument after notable (beautiful) monument, reaffirming my confidence that I am on the right track, and I would also make no small mention that I am, at all times, accompanied by Google Maps who completely concur with my orienteering: I am headed in the right direction. Then, out of the proverbial blue, I find myself back at the River Arno. There are assuredly worse places in which to find yourself, but according to my typically excellent sense of direction (if I do say so myself), and my GPS positioning according to Google, which let’s all be honest, never gets anything wrong, I find I’ve been walking, give or take, 180 degrees in the wrong direction. My hotel, and the Fortezza, are both a distance from the Arno, but by some “Blair Witch Project”-style sorcery, I find myself more often than not walking in gently expanding concentric circles until I am brought by the banks of that very same river. I have spent many a golden afternoon chastising myself for not paying more attention, until Paper Magazine’s Mickey Boardman revealed he also suffers the same. Not just me then.

Luckily, PR Consuting’s Tamara is always on hand to bring me back on course (what would I do without you Tamara?) and so it goes.

Day three began early, with Constellation Africa, the latest edition of the show’s Guest Nation initiative. With previous guest nations including South Korea, Ukraine, and Turkey, the choice of Africa as a guest “nation” doesn’t do much to stem the homogenizing of a diverse continent made up of many nations, into one stereotypical whole, but if both Rick Ross and Bill Clinton alike can cast that same blanket, well then hey, who am I to wag the finger? The Ethical Fashion Initiative, the flagship program of the International Trade Centre (an agency under the auspices of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization)did a good job of showcasing designers from various countries in the continent and highlighting them as such: Orange Culture from Nigeria, MaXhosa by Laduma from South Africa, Projecto Mental from Angola and Dent de Man from Ivory Coast. 

Later that day, the Saks Fifth Avenue cocktail event on the rooftop of the Excelsior Hotel celebrated Italian style, Saks’ Bravissimo! catalog and Saks’ Father’s Day windows. Overlooking the terracotta rooftops of Florence, the sunset cocktail was enjoyed by many of the menswear fair’s most stylish figures, including Lino Ieluzzi, Filippo Cerulli, Filippo Fiora, Cesare Cunaccia, Matthew Zorpas, Dominico Gianfrate and Matthew Giola, who were each accompanied by a life-size cutout of themselves, illustrated by artist Yooco Tanimoto. I was a bit disappointed to discover that MR friend and Saks’ fashion director Eric Jennings was missing from the cardboard cavalcade, but of course, he was there in real life putting most people to sartorial shame.

The next event, the jewel in the crown of Pitti’s 88th edition, was Moschino’s runway show. In the ’90s in London, Moschino was the be all and end all in club-wear. The more outrageous the patterns and prints, the better, from full matching patterned denim jacket, t-shirt, and jeans, to mismatched patterns, the Moschino parade of subversive statements across London club land was reflected and is synonymous with the zeitgeist of the time. You could call Moschino my “gateway drug” into menswear and this show in Florence marked a sort of full-circle in my life. Designer Jeremy Scott sent looks down the runway that were as over-the-top as they ought to be: Formula-1 was a major theme in everything from sportswear to suiting and formal wear; other looks evoked visions of Versailles and Louis the Umpteenth, with ruffles, elaborate embroidery, jacquards and metallics in appropriately excessive measure.

From there to a dinner held by Ghurka a few doors down at Harry’s on the River Arno, hosted by actor, designer and style icon Waris Ahluwalia, where conversation flowed as freely as the vino rosso, and then back to the Moschino party for more revelry with a crown-capped King Jeremy and other notables including Katy Perry and A$AP Rocky.