Pitti Uomo 105

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

For menswear enthusiasts, there is no place on earth quite like Pitti Uomo. Beyond being a prestigious international trade show for menswear that takes place biannually in Florence, Pitti Uomo has evolved into a unified dynamic community that blends creativity, style, connections and unforgettable events, immersing participants in its vibrant energy, in one of the many stunning historical locations that a city like Florence has to offer.

Gents Cafe was born as a digital community, and the strength of it certainly lies in this – it would be impossible, otherwise, to tie together so many people from all over the globe and allow them to share their common passions regardless of distance and time zones. The value of real-life connections, however, remains key. And Pitti Uomo is definitely a unique opportunity to hang up with members of our community – to the point that, year after year, we can now call each other friends with many of them.

And so, earlier this month, I was on my way to Florence once again. As soon as I got in town, I could breathe the lively energy that always sparks during Pitti. With hundreds – if not thousands – of well dressed people roaming the streets, all exhibiting their very own distinctive style and all enjoying the amazing framework of one of Italy’s most charming cities.

I quickly caught up with the rest of the crew: Federico from Milan, Niki from London (she also curates all of the Gents Cafe’s music playlists), John-Paul from Liverpool and Gents Cafe’s contributor, and Ata, a photographer originally from Turkey now living in Florence.

It was the first time that John-Paul, Ata, and I met in person; we only hung out virtually through Gents Cafe. But it was like meeting old-time friends. And that’s what I love the most about community.

Scenes from our morning stroll towards the Fortezza.
Taking in the beauty of Florence one view at a time.

Now, if you plan to attend Pitti in the future, a precious tip I feel like giving out is to make sure you stay in the very center of the city – it may not seem like the best choice, money-wise, but that’ll make sure you’re at walking distance from all the events and relevant locations, and most importantly that you can stroll across the breathtaking heart of Florence as you make your way to the shows, stopping for a coffee in one of the charming old cafes or feeling like a little child while admiring the magnificent carousel that is the Antica Giostra Toscana.

When the counter looks like this, you know the bar is a good place.

That’s what we did in the mornings, as we moved towards Pitti Uomo’s main venue. Among the cafes, you can’t miss Caffé Cibreo, opened in 1989. The atmosphere of this place is that of the avant-garde bistros of the late 19th century, furnished with objects found over various years of “cultural” explorations around the city. The beautiful red velvet armchairs are, in fact, those recovered from the Teatro della Pergola when it renovated the auditorium, the wood paneling on the walls is vintage, and the coffered ceilings are the original ones.

Edoardo and Parziv joined us for breakfast.

Long day ahead: we could definitely use the proteins of a focaccia al prosciutto!

Being there for work, I obviously tried to squeeze in as many booths as possible, eager to discover new brands and meet new people. And, of course, I took the time to greet those that I already had the pleasure of collaborating with and that you might know from some of the past interviews, like UNIMATIC, Tela Genova and Alessandro Gherardi.

From 9am to 4pm, most of the time was spent at the trade show inside the Fortezza da Basso for meetings. Behind every great product and brand, there are always great people with fascinating stories. And it was nice to have the opportunity to listen to them.

But, as I said, Pitti Uomo is much more than the actual trade show. Around 6pm, shortly after the gates of the Fortezza da Basso are shut, visitors spread across the city and the more leisure part for the whole Pitti Uomo experience begins. The evenings and nights in Florence are spiced up by the best parties, that to some brands are just as important as the actual business meetings held before.

We spent two nights in town, and went to three of these gatherings – torn between the desire of attending as many as possible, and the fear of not enjoying any were we to rush from one to another. As it soon turned out, we made the right choice, and had a great time every evening.

The vibes of the venue perfectly matched Scarosso’s new collection.

The host of the first night was Scarosso, a young but already established Italian shoe brand that successfully blends timeless handcrafts and contemporary gentleman style, both in formal footwear and in elegant sneakers. For this edition of Pitti, they launched a new collection of boots, created with celebrated designer Warren Alfie Baker; once again, they brought together a vintage inspiration and a touch of Rock’n’Roll soul – a style that perfectly matched the venue of the party with its red velvet sofas and curtains surrounded by mirror clad walls.

The Negroni has become the menswear drink, and Scarosso knows it well.
Live music made the night even better.

For the second night, Niki invited us to the Salon of Excellence event in Palazzo Gaddi – a presentation of eight brands involved in the world of men’s tailoring at different levels. The party hall was stunning: a masterpiece of late renaissance architecture, hidden – in pure Florentine style – behind a sober and almost unassuming facade. Sipping a well-mixed Martini under the towering ceiling covered in frescoes and decorations really made us feel like in a movie.

Cheers to the timeless beauty of Florence!

Our event selection could not miss one of the most energetic parties of Pitti Uomo: the Negroni-fueled WM Brown party at Villa Medici, that started as Matt’s one-man show and quickly turned into a flamboyant evening as the music grew louder – and even our friend Brian of He Spoke Style joined the orchestra after being handed a saxophone.

Naturally, Matt was not shy on Negronis at his WM Brown party.

Brian Sacawa, founder of He Spoke Style

Time at Pitti runs differently, and dinner is never served before 9 pm. Florence boasts numerous authentic trattorias and osterias where you can be assured of delicious food. Take, for instance, Antico Ristorante Paoli, the oldest restaurant in Florence, a historic meeting place for intellectuals such as Leoncavallo, Puccini, Marinetti & Pirandello. Set in a highly evocative location, renovated in the early decades of the 1900s in “pure fourteenth-century style,” this restaurant’s centennial history unfolds, dating back to 1827.

As you might have guessed, we indulged in a delightful 1.3 kg Bistecca alla Fiorentina while sipping on a superb red wine.

Antico Ristorante Paoli, the oldest restaurant in Florence

Ops, finished! 🤌

Once again, Florence was a blast – three days packed with unforgettable moments.

As always, meeting old friends (alongside the new connections we made) and having the time to enjoy our common passions was absolutely precious. Rest assured that many exciting new contents will come to your inbox in the next months.

We hope our brief report will transport you to the energy we experienced there and, hopefully, inspire you to join the Gents Cafe family for Pitti Summer next June: see you there!

Photo credits: Ata De Çin

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