Sydney tailor P. Johnson joins the stylish men at Pitti Uomo 2016

This week marked the 89th edition of famous Florence men's fashion fair Pitti Uomo, which carried the theme 'Generations'.

Clearly this was a doff of the felt fedora to the fact that the style of past generations has never been felt so strongly in men's fashion.

As much as it can feel like a dress-up party, an official theme seems superfluous to a fair that has grown as organically as Pitti Uomo.

Pitti – which is still by and large a trade show rather than a fashion festival – has become a sort of pilgrimage for those who have pledged their sartorial loyalty to classic tailoring. While sportswear and more casual takes on classic menswear have begun to return to the fore, it seems any young man set on imitating the look of 1930s idle rich will always find a home at Pitti.

Scroll through the gallery for the looks of Pitti 2016.

Call it peacocking, it's a large part of what makes this fashion mega-event as successful it is.

But amongst the young dandies dallying about the Fortezza da Basso, doing their best to suppress their anguish that a photographer (even a part-time blogger) might pass them over, other people have much more serious matters to contemplate.

Australian connection

None more so this time around than Patrick Johnson of P. Johnson Tailors. After gathering a growing reputation for its sartorial yet sporty, louche yet comfortable suits, Patrick and his business partner Tom Riley entered the Australian Woolmark Prize, and won.

This brought them to Florence where on Thursday morning Australian time they presented their collection on the catwalk along with six other finalists for the $100,000 International Woolmark Menswear Prize. Unfortunately for P. Johnson the award went to the Indian designer Suketdhir, but Patrick maintains the experience was an extremely valuable one.


"It was a really good experience for us," says Johnson. "Being specialist custom-makers it's a bit of a different experience putting together a collection, but nevertheless it gave us good exposure.

"I think we were always in with an outside chance. It was a very clean, very minimal collection that was about using the light and colours of Australia and innovation around merino wool to create of what I see as the future of men's clothing," says Johnson.

Bucking the trends

While many around the world applaud his minimalist take on classic men's style, he might have a tougher job convincing the Pitti peacockers set on grabbing their moment of internet fame to pare it back. Not that he would care.

One man, who's come to Florence for 13 years and is always immaculately dressed, though never in need of the reassurance of the camera lens, is Tim Cecil, managing director of Henry Bucks.

With over 30 suppliers to meet in three days, Cecil's visits to Pitti are always flat out.

"I'm pretty much head down when it comes to the show … I'm looking for things that we know sell well with the people that we work with, so I don't have a lot of time to walk around," says Cecil.

The Cecil family history with Pitti is as long as the fair itself with his uncle being present at the first ever edition in 1972.

History repeating 

"He's seen it all," says Cecil.

"It its interesting talking to him because you tell him about new and exciting things that are happening and he says, 'yeah, I remember in 1974 they were doing the same thing.'"

Right now though, says Cecil, labels are looking much further back for inspiration.

"I was looking at this German tie designer that we've worked with for many years and they had a very old catalogue from an old UK department store Welch, Margetson & Co. The catalogue was from 1931 and as I flicked through some of the things being presenting now were available back then.

"So trends go in circles and it's interesting to see the whole cycles of things. There's nothing that is new, it's just reinterpreted for a new market, which is sort of comforting in a way," says Cecil.