Fashion is about taking risks - that doesn’t just entail wearing an occasional funky statement accessory; it is an outlook and a lifestyle. Examples were aplenty at Pitti Uomo 96 - gentlemen, and ladies, dressing their best and embodying the adventurous spirit of Pitti Uomo. It was a display of sprezzatura on the streets - uneven ties, loosened monkstraps, stylishly dishevelled hair etc. - the variations are much to ogle at.
Cruising through the maze of a trade show that is Pitti, we encountered some brands and talked to the various creative directors and brand ambassadors, especially those of men’s accessories. Speaking of which, scarves are perhaps at the periphery and an oft-neglected item - to the conventional mind, that is. Wearing a scarf is an indispensable part of a man’s outfit and doesn’t have to be boring. When you wear it often enough, you will learn how to break the rules and make it a part of your wardrobe, not a mere layer of cloth in an outfit.
Ma.Al.Bi is a family owned business founded in 1947 which specialises in scarf manufacturing, building its reputation by producing luscious scarves, primarily in wool, and sometimes in a line or silk blend. The brand is a mark of quality of scarves - as their name aptly represents (Ma.Al.Bi stands for Manifatture Alto Biellese, meaning ‘Made in Biella’, the wool city of Italy, in English). Men have taken it upon themselves to incorporate scarves as a fashion item which exudes charisma and studied masculinity.
Sean with Vittorio on Ma.Al.Bi’s showroom terrace suite, Florence
Amongst the competitive classic Italian menswear scene lies a hidden gem that is Pier Luigi Fabozzi. Pier is the heir to a long unbroken line of Neapolitan bespoke tailors. The Naples are the undisputed standard of traditional craftsmanship when it comes to men’s suits tailoring, with its signature look comprising of sweeping lapels, unlined or half-lined, sans-shoulder pads and a roomier fit. With increased exposure and marketing of classic Italian menswear in the global scene, Neapolitan tailors have become quite expensive - something Italian counterparts are certainly not a fan of. What sets Pier apart from the competition is his top-quality tailoring, combined with an unmistakably confident, approachable yet focused attitude - traits you would appreciate of a bespoke tailor. With a rich heritage of classic Italian know-how to back, Pier can be said to have a few tricks up his sleeves.
CJ having a taste of true Neapolitan bespoke service
Tateossian - eponymous brand from the designer and founder Robert Tateossian, carries the brand to the international arena with a bold, avant-garde outlook that pushes the boundaries of men’s luxury accessories.
Our team exploring the latest Tateossian collection with Dr Zanone
On that note, the showcase in this round of Pitti features a collaboration with Tama Art University, a Japanese design school. The concept is truly unique and first of its kind - combining Japanese furniture design with men’s accessories. The clean minimalist aesthetic of the Japanese furniture design contrasted against the chrome-plated Tateossian pieces is the perfect juxtaposition that allows the characteristics of both design themes to be fleshed out.
Juxtaposition: Signature Tateossian pieces on minimalistic Japanese furniture
Being an innovative label, Tateossian also demonstrates creative application of their accessories - their signature skeleton gear piece on shoelaces, instantly elevating the look of any pair of sneakers.
How to instantly elevate the look of a pair of sneakers
We also had the chance to take a close look at the materials which have become staples to Tateossian accessories - ruthenium, gunmetal, ion-plating, chrome-plating etc. This particular collection features many signature and classic designs - but when given a new coat of colour, the image portrayed is very different.
Collection of Tateossian cufflinks
Pleasant conversations, fashion labels to feast our eyes upon, all under the Florentine sun - we already miss the air of Pitti. Until next time!