As far as menswear institutions go, they don’t come as big, colourful and frenetic as super trade show Pitti Uomo, Florence’s preeminent gift to menswear. While the bi-annual gathering of the world’s sartorial artists and their counterparts in business and media is a huge commercial exercise, it is also the site of extreme posturing and hilarity.
Admittedly, I have never been to Florence, let alone Pitti. My Italian exploits have been confined to Venice and Milan. My travel to-do list may have plenty of crosses against some of our planet’s most life-changing destinations, but there is plenty on the ‘pending’ list to look forward to, not least of which, Pitti, the spectacle.
Last week’s gathering, we are told, played host to more than 1,200 collections, mulled over by 20,500 buyers – 8,400 of whom were foreign. The week’s activities saw over 30,000 visitors in total. For all the buyers, designers and media flock, there is one species that has never missed a gathering in the event’s 90-year history, and that is the Pitti Peacock. Brought into sharp mainstream prominence with the ubiquity of social media and the street style photography phenomenon, this creature lives for well buffed Oxfords, flamboyant hats and wide lapels on tailored lime suits, over monogrammed cuffs. Many are also partial to Gauloises, elaborate hand gestures and – as this amusing film, The Life of Pitti Peacocks, by Mr Aaron Christian illustrates – some appropriately ostentatious behaviour.