Why big labels are ditching Fashion Week in favour for Pitti Uomo

It was Christian Louboutin's first time showing and Tommy Hilfiger's second year in a row – if anything was guaranteed at Pitti Uomo it's that major menswear designers around the world are reconfiguring their season launches to put the Florentine trade fair at the top of their priority list.

The new seasonal drop by Tommy Hilfiger this week put the "American jock" aesthetic on the streets of Florence.

The emphasis was on iconic shapes – think denim jackets of yesteryear tempered with vintage Sailor Jerry tattoo motifs by way of patches and paint applique of hearts and daggers for a retro vibe.

Dubbed the 'Hilfiger Edition' it showed bold sport colours and American '80s heartthrob smiles with plenty of stripes in his nautical-meets-heritage mish-mash.

Hilfiger clearly sees the importance of being on ground with heavyweights in the buying world, liaising with them and gaining attention away from Milan Fashion Week, which runs a week later.

Held inside the historic Fortezza Da Basso, it showcased the brand's recent renaissance via digital media and video clips.

Ritualis Spiritualis

Hugo Boss also chose Pitti to launch its new menswear and womenswear collection, drawing some big front row names including M.I.A, while Gigi and Bella Hadid's brother Anwar walked the runway.

According to Hugo Boss designer Bart De Backer, the Ritualis Spiritualis collection is inspired by notions of voodoo, art and culture- think Jean Michel Basquiat.

"We found a lot of photographs of Basquiat wearing designer brands in a very unconventional non-precious way," says De Backer.


"It was like he did not care about the value. This image of the artist wandering around in his own bubble and creating his own dress aesthetic was the starting point of the show. This was an attitude we found very inspiring," he says.

Vintage inspiration

The Hugo Boss menswear collection is concerned with easy dressing, offering oversized and relaxed pieces in abundance.

"We looked back at the HUGO collections from the '90s and found tailored pieces with very strong shoulders. They were the starting point of our suit shapes," says de Backer.

"We took out the complete inner construction and moved the balance of the jacket to the front. We also transferred this silhouette to the shirts," says Backer.

There's a pyjama look taken from the Basquiat movie while white coats replicate art canvases and stripes are vintage in spirit.

English sensibilities

Paul Smith's PS label returned to Pitti for a preview of the SS18 collection after a successful run with his winter range in January this year.

An intense rush of oceanic blues in various shades was a bright breath of fresh air. Inspired by Japanese counterculture and coastal surf scenes, the range swerves between bright knitwear, outerwear and contrast colours in shirts.

Casual hats and oversized mailbags are the new must-have accessory while the arrival of an octopus motif combs the ocean floor of his new collection.

Leading the way

J.W. Anderson was another designer who came to Pitti to try a new approach with buyers. Launching its menswear line seven years ago, it has a reputation of being one of the most exciting on the London fashion scene.

Anderson, who is also the Creative Director of Loewe, put on a runway show that saw models strut in muted trench coats with a hint of military, a clashing of vertical and horizontal stripes in T-shirts while prints featured heavily in shirting and knits.

The aviator bomber returns in beige with patch work on the back, oversized jeans with patches and bleached effects hint at '90s culture while and patterned shorts worn with printed shirts was a popular look.