Pitti Uomo street style elicits A LOT of responses: some glowing, some thoughtful, some bored and some straight up confused. This Business of Fashion piece, published on their new "Menswear Hub," points to the bi-annual convocation of swag lords as a critical factor in the recent boom in the global menswear market and the growing acceptance of a "modern form of dandyism." This isn't that outrageous of a claim, nor is it inaccurate. If you're under-25 and have been interested in #menswear for any amount of time, I can safely say that you've scoured Pitti Uomo images since the day you signed up for Tumblr.
The proliferation of street style from the Florentine trade show and the rise (or resurgence, depending on your age) of Neapolitan tailoring coincided with one another too simultaneously to deny that the men of Pitti have had an enormous impact on how a certain subset of men dress themselves. Street style in general can be heralded as a great moment in the so-called democratization of style—democratization in a way that only fashion could imagine: Instead of seeing clothing impeccably styled in photo shoots or on the runway, these were images of "real people." Except, most of these "real people" were fashion industry insiders: buyers, stylists, photographers, those with the ever-coveted title of "creative" before their name.
In its early days, street style was still primarily focused on the women, which made sense since women were mostly driving traffic to style websites and blogs. And that is why Pitti Uomo is so important if one were to trace the evolution of #menswear—Pitti is unquestionably all about men and their style. And it's filled with individuals who, at the end of the day, often dictate what trends get translated and sold at the retail level. The fact that Pitti Uomo is first and foremost a venue for business transactions added a level of credibility to the participants and their outfits. But, as the years went on, it became some sort of hybrid trade show/Comic-Con, with both professionals AND fans intermingling in a way that you simply do not see in womenswear.
Some traditionalists bemoan the rise of Pitti street style. They see individuals getting dressed with the intention of attracting the eye of a photographer. They see the show descending into a gauche display of crass individuality and—yep, that word again—peacocking. But I agree with Robin Mellery-Pratt. No matter your ultimate conclusion on the style of the individuals at Pitti, taken as a whole—as a collective group—the explosions of color and seemingly over-the-top outfits are key in taking menswear to a new—if you'll indulge me for a moment—next level. Does this mean that my neighbors are all gonna go buy suits with peak lapels and put on eleven different bracelets at the same time? Or wear straw fedoras? No, probably (definitely?) not. But, then again, even fucking eBay is out here stressing the importance of fit. And if eBay is picking up on the single most salient point that our obsession with tailoring provided, you know Pitti Uomo has already made waves.