Smart Dressing

The Jackal’s Pitti Uomo 93 – when will the peacocks learn?

Menswear’s biggest trade fair is always a worthwhile experience, but seldom have the infamous Pitti peacocks looked more passé

We’ve just returned from The Jackal’s first proper Pitti Uomo, and as always the fair provides a melting pot of different fashion influences, exciting discoveries and inevitably, disappointments.

There’s always a lot to look forward to, whether that’s discovering new things or catching up with old friends. Highlights at this show ranged from some sterling presentations by designer brands; Corneliani’s forthcoming autumn/winter collection by Creative Director Stefano Gaudioso was remarkable – all soft textures, big, flowing raglan coats and clever cashmere sportswear.

Pitti Uomo 93, Jackal magazine

Corneliani AW18 is promising a sophisticated, softly textured collection, blending tailoring and sportswear

In the same vein, Z Zegna’s latest alpine inspired collection was dynamic as ever. Again, the house has placed a strong emphasis on rich textures over bold patterns for winter and is continuing to blend louche tailoring with form-fitting sportswear. Highlights included an oversized emerald green alpaca greatcoat and a series of quilted parkas in bright yellow, green and purple respectively.

There were plenty of British style gems to be found too. While we’re talking of parkas, Gloverall’s new collection was a great find. It’s made up of sensibly priced, clean-cut duffel coats and cord harrington jackets – all made in London. In an inspired move, Crockett & Jones is introducing lightweight chunky soles to some of their more utilitarian models and Richard James’s autumn/winter collection was likewise impressive. Capitalising on the ‘70s moment that menswear’s enjoying right now, it’s inspired by the glory days of the British nightclub scene – rich, earthy colours reign supreme. There’s a saffron yellow velvet bomber dropping next autumn and some funky printed silk shirts that have more than a touch of Mick Jagger about them.

Plus, the Richard James double-breasted suit is fast becoming a British style cult piece – instantly recognisable thanks to its four-by-four button configuration and broad, full-bellied lapels. For AW18, Richard James has cut its double-breasteds in smooth plum and ‘Benson & hedges gold’ gabardine (again, a fun ‘70s reference). These suits simply beg to be worn out on the town with a dark rollneck.

Zegna, Pitti Uomo, Jackal magazine

Z Zegna's alpine inspired collection was an impressive spectacle, deftly mixing technical outerwear with tailored pieces in heavy winter tweeds

There’s plenty more that we were pleased to see, but, unfortunately, not everything at Pitti brought such joy to our hearts. There’s one thing that remains less than satisfactory – the peacocks.

For those who might not be familiar with this rarified breed of delusional scatterbrain, the phenomenon of the Pitti peacock is the worst thing to happen to menswear since someone put socks and sandals together. The term refers to those narcissistic individuals who rock up at the show with nothing to do other than wander about in dismal outfits in an attempt to be photographed for their own pitiable vanity. It’s a culture that runs counter to everything that’s grounded and intelligent about men’s fashion. The problem is perhaps best explained by this excellent mockumentary from Aaron Christian. It was made last summer, but it still rings true.

No matter how you approach your clothes, there’s nothing stylish about matching burnt orange trousers and hat-bands, lime green jackets or tartan-trimmed ivory short-suits. Yes, these looks attract attention (although none of the street style photographers we know have any interest in peacocking) but they’re pure affectation. Worse still, they detract from those individuals at the show who express something genuine with their clothes.

So, here’s a word to the wise. If you were at Pitti wearing an obnoxious hat, a neon suit or your too-tight coat loose over your shoulders, do yourself a favour and cut it out. Style is about subtlety and a sense of comfort and authenticity. It’s not about showing off.

Pitti Uomo seems to be taking itself more seriously than it has done in recent seasons; more brands are showing and there’s a positive energy about the fair. It’s a trade show after all, and its primary reason for being is so brands can connect and find ways to work together. It’s about time the peacocks learned this lesson. So, if you know one, tell him to wear grey in June instead. You never know, he might get photographed that way.