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At Pitti, fashion draws on the past

At Pitti, fashion draws on the past
At Pitti, fashion draws on the past

 


FLORENCE Fashion is on a dangerous trajectory: ideas are becoming scarcer and quality continues to decline while prices continue to skyrocket. There are limits to what marketing pyrotechnics can cover up. Indeed, it is revealing that what attracted the most during the 103rd edition of Pitti Uomo, which ended on Thursday, was the Vintage Hub section: a small laboratory where visionaries such as Maurizio Donadi of Transnomadica, Roberto Lonoce de Re_javu and Luca Sartor de Riedizione Sartoria continue to accumulate and reinvent precious objects from the past.

Upcycling and reuse are not new to fashion and the output of its practitioners is often seamless, artful and uneven. But what distinguishes those presented at Pitti is, on the one hand, the refined and taut approach to reuse, and the feeling of lived elegance that results from it; and on the other hand, the contagious passion they exude for clothes, not an ounce of cynicism or thirst for personal overexposure in sight.

In the case of Donadi, a vintage enthusiast and collector with a blue-chip resume that includes lengthy stints in product development at Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani, Pitti served as a showcase for rare, hand-picked pieces that are not even intended to be sold. for sale: the indigo-dyed blouses dear to Henri Matisse and the wild beasts in painting. Donadi is also the curator of the very interesting Fay Archive project, presented once again at the Fortezza da Basso: faithful reproductions of archive clothing from Diego Della Valle's workwear brand, intended to reconnect with the original spirit of the brand. , born in the early 1980s, when Della Valle discovered the jackets worn by firefighters in the United States.

Archival sentiments are all the rage right now. In confusing times, fashion is becoming more nostalgic than ever. There is a decisive and widespread movement towards the easy elegance of the 1950s and early 1960s: think the talented Mr Ripley and a carefree brand of spontaneous masculinity. Rovi Lucca, a small but perfectly formed line that caught my eye last season for its gardening philosophy mixed with slight informality, has opted for joyful visions of Tuscan countryside bliss and rustic elegance. DeNobiliaryParticle, the brainchild of communications whiz Paolo De Vivo, also exudes a nostalgic, easy-going feeling, but he does it with the utmost focus: the line is made up entirely of ribbed crewneck sweaters that feel like a family heirloom precious.

Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025
Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025 (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)
Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025
Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025 (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)
Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025
Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025 (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)

But it was at Paul Smith, back at Pitti after 15 years, with a workshop-style presentation in the golden splendors of the Villa Favard, complete with a makeshift Pauls Bar, that the emotions of the 1950s reached their peak, in a feast of lightness. , versatility, pale colors and just a little bit of floral embroidery. In other words, it was a playful approach to effortless dressing: a typically Paul Smith endeavor, and delightfully so, with the added bonus of Sir Paul himself explaining the looks as the models stood around him in a painter's studio situation. The warm situation amplified the authenticity of the message, and it was a relief.

Pitti has become the occasion for a sort of mini fashion week in Florence, with collateral events added to the traditional calendar. There was nothing small about the graduation fashion show organized by Polimoda, one of the most important fashion schools in Italy, in the marvelous landscape of the Villa Palmieri garden. No means was spared, but the show was disappointing in the sense that, although perfectly executed, the 18 collections in total all resembled what fashion currently offers, with far too many homages to Rick Owens and Vivienne Westwood. Massimiliano Giornetti, formerly of Ferragamo and now dean of Polimoda, is doing a wonderful job, but the school needs to shift students' attention away from what's fashionable and broaden their perspective. The city's other major fashion school, IED, abandoned its fashion show in favor of an exhibition organized by photographer Michel Comte whose concept was as disconcerting as it was stimulating.

The best of Pitti being vintage and upcycling, Marine Serres' appearance as guest designer was timely. Serre was an early advocate of couture-worthy upcycling, but what began a few years ago as a layered exercise in utopian/dystopian dressing for a multicultural world has evolved into a chaotic puzzle of this and that this with too little flavor and too much branding. It's a problem many small brands face that grow too quickly: creative momentum gives way to marketing. It was supposed to be Serre's official debut in menswear, but the show was mixed as usual, with a focus on men's clothing pieces with a Gianni Versace-esque boldness. The setting, however, was fantastic: the decadent Villa di Maiano in Fiesole, with magnificent views over Florence. The show ended completely blank with a call for peace: an essential message but one that seemed too easy.

Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025
Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025 (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)
Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025
Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025 (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)
Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025
Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025 (Spotlight/Launchmetrics.com)

More uplifting were those for whom dressing is closer to a form of art more as an outward expression of inner feelings than as a means of attracting attention, like Mauro Simionato de Vitelli, an exuberant creative with a sense brilliance of color, whose use of recycled cashmere fibers is remarkable, and Pierre-Louis Mascia, whose 15-year-old brand had its very first show at Pitti in the magical spaces of the Tepidarium del Roster.

A former illustrator, Mascia was an early advocate of the eclectic, multi-print look, but he's been quiet about reclaiming it from imitators. This is why the show, although emotional and energetic, felt a bit like déjà vu. It's a shame because Mascia's sense of print is truly unique. Working it all in a different look would have made things fresher.

Paul Smith Spring/Summer 2025

Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2025

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2/ https://www.businessoffashion.com/reviews/fashion-week/pitti-uomo-menswear-florence-fashion-week-spring-summer-2025/

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