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Wool a summer fibre at Pitti Uomo 90

20 June 2016

As the who’s who of menswear descends on Florence for the iconic Pitti Uomo trade fair, Janet Prescott was on location to take note of what we’ll be wearing come spring/summer 2017.

Black and white coat with classic design but light summer weight, all wool, Hardy Amies.

Wool confirmed its place as a summer choice at the dapper and lively fashion shown at Pitti Immagine Uomo 90, an event full of exuberance, would-be stars previewing startling dandy looks outside the exhibition, and packed fashion shows. All demonstrated the variety of design in the mix for Spring/Summer 2017 and the importance of menswear as a driver of dynamic fashion, with an increase in international visitors and exhibitors. Vitale Barberis Canonico held a late night chic party in the middle of Florence’s iconic Loggia del Porcellino to celebrate a new 21 micron Merino wool fabric developed with chic Florentine label Eredi Chiarini. 

Increasingly, wool takes its place in important collections for spring/summer. Among lightweight blends wool was an ingredient chosen for quality and reactive features bringing coolness or warmth; valuable extras for jackets, formals, knitwear and casuals, as well as Merino base-layers.

Cantarelli interprets the blues in a pure wool suit with classic styling.

Blends of various fibres enabled different surfaces which added to the decorative vibe; knops of white cotton with black Merino wool, 3D looks, stripes, checks and fancy stitches.

Lubiam’s dandy look won them this year’s Pitti Uomo prize, with their wool jacket with cotton knops.

Summer parkas, long coats, and this year’s lightweight field jackets mostly had smooth gabardine surfaces, sometimes with waxy coatings. Light jackets were simply styled with clean lines and 70s influences, plain or patterned, put together in eclectic layers. Summer tweeds included lightweight wool in classic patterns like houndstooths or Prince of Wales checks.

Directional suit jackets are skinny with a shrunken look, worn short and fastened tightly with one button, mainly colourful, in fabric designs such as windowpane checks or stripes. Trousers are straight or tight and narrow and sometimes in very bright colours such as mustard yellow.

Digel shows skinny looks and mixed fabrics including wool, teamed with colourful trousers.

Jackets were both unlined or part lined, in bright colours and patterns many with wool content, such as gingham checks. Dusty rose and light orange, blue, yellow and green predominated and were arranged together on many stands for maximum artistic effects such as banks of Merino mix sweaters.

Colour bombing by Lyle and Scott with a Merino blend lineup.

There was little that was strictly formal: collars left open, jackets are light and unstructured, and the look is young, deliberately putting unusual items together. At the same time the sartorial Italian man is not neglected: worsted blazers, smart slacks with immaculate finishes, smooth styling in single and double-breasted versions.

Tombolini with a football theme and a Merino/silk blend.

In the same vein was a relaxed, equally suave topical Cuban beat look, with a cool 1950s note, jackets featuring light-coloured wool fabrics, peaked lapels and a soft drape. Tailored shorts, just on the knee in contrasting fabrics, were the almost universal way for the young to wear a suit. 

Richard James of Savile Row: The Cuban look in Merino wool with 1950s tailoring theme.

Sportswear continues to make its mark in performance demands, ultra-casual details and cool designs based around knits, where wool is a natural component in the summer mix.

Fancy work on a summer wool jumper by Pringle.

Photography: Vanni Bassetti.