Last month, the Man of Style Team descended upon Florence in the middle of Italian summer to attend the one menswear event to rule them all: Pitti Uomo 94. Arguably the most important menswear event, Pitti Uomo has grown substantially in size over the past few years after gaining international recognition amongst the fashionable folk of Instagram. Back for our second year, we knew exactly what we were in for–and prepared accordingly. After 3 days of weaving through the masses of Pitti Peacocks and posing for more photos than what’s socially acceptable, we managed to shortlist our favourite exhibitors. So without further ado, and in no apparent order, here are our top ten brands from Pitti Uomo 94:
Described by some as ‘part businessman, part philosopher and part monk’, Brunello Cuccinelli founded his self-named business back in 1977 making cashmere sweaters in a myriad of bright colours. Fast forward to 2018 and Cuccinelli’s Made in Italy brand produces a vast range of luxury clothing for both men and women. Cuccinelli’s ethos is simple: Be good to the people you work with, be good to the environment, and make good clothes–It’s just good business. Brunello Cucinelli is priced comparatively higher than most other luxury menswear brands in the same space, but for a good reason. 20% of his profits are donated to the Brunello Cucinelli Foundation which has helped revitalise the town of Solomeo, where the Cuccinelli HQ resides.
The Lardini family have been producing quality tailoring and casual wear for the past 40 years. Classicly crafted with a contemporary twist, Lardini exudes Italian excellence. The brand pays keen attention to detail; which is epitomised by their signature woollen lapel flower. Fun fact: Lardini was made famous for manufacturing the men’s tailoring for Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Valentino, Etro and Burberry.
Well regarded by those in the know, Barba Napoli is yet another family-owned Italian brand specialising in Shirtmaking. Barba Napoli makes some of the highest quality RTW shirts coming out of Italy. In addition to stunning shirts, this Neapolitan brand has a fantastic collection of RTW garments that all possess that signature Italian attention to detail.
A brand that proclaims to defy definition, Gabriele Pasini is ostentatious for all the right reasons. Pasini is obsessed with fabrics and materials research. He amalgamates the best of English and Italian fabrics in his collections. Pasini is often referred to as a modern dandy, and each of his suits come as a three-piece, a sartorial nod to the 70’s–an era Passini drew a lot of his inspiration from.
The first and only leather goods store on the list for this year’s Pitti Uomo is Il Bisonte. Founded back in 1970 in Florence by Wanny di Filippo, Il Bisonte has since become world-renowned for their craftsmanship and quality. Crafted with vegetable tanned cowhide Il Bisonte products darken over time. Resulting in a lovely natural patina that is truly unique to every product. Anyone who is a real fan of leather goods will love this brand.
The first British brand to make the cut, John Smedley is an absolute institution when it comes to knitwear. With origins dating back to the industrial revolution, John Smedley became a favourite amongst celebrities and British designers alike. Not convinced? Well, don’t just take our word for it. In 2013 the Queen awarded John Smedley with a royal warrant of Appointment as a ‘Manufacturer of Fine Knitwear’. If it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for us. We recommend their rollneck sweater for Winter or their short sleeve polo for Summer.
Another English brand that has made it onto this list is luxury men’s outerwear label, Grenfell. Founded by Sir Wilfred Grenfell in 1923, the brand became famous for their technical cloth, which was windproof and waterproof yet breathable. With a wide range of attire geared towards adventure, Grenfell is an absolute haven for all those who want beautifully crafted, functional attire.
This is the brainchild of Alessandro Squarzi–the father of modern street style. This label is indeed a reflection of Squarzi’s style. Fortela infuses Italian tailoring with Japanese textiles and vintage fabrics that are sourced from around the world. Squarzi’s personal style has a strong military influence, so there is no surprise that he also utilises genuine army surplus garments in his collections. Manufactured in Italy with the help of skilled Japanese artisans, Fortela garments have a relaxed, broken-in feel that is truly unique to the brand.
The list wouldn’t be complete without featuring a denim and workwear label. Amsterdam-based Kings of Indigo was the standout for us this year. The brand produces American workwear classics, with a Japanese eye for detail. Tony Tonnaer, the man behind the brand, utilises sustainable production techniques wherever possible to lower their environmental impact. Nice.
Last on our list is Milanese men’s accessory brand Serà Fine Silk. Franchesca Serafin, the founder and creative director of Serà Fine Silk has managed to take the men’s accessory world by storm recently. Rightfully so may we add. Her silk is from the finest artisans in Como, and her ties and pocket squares and suspenders are sewn by hand in Italy by expert craftsmen. The result? A collection of products that exude class and will raise your outfit to the next level.
What brands have you been eyeing off? Let us know in the comments below!