Lagerfeld, Simons and Rubchinskiy the big draw cards at Pitti Uomo

24 June 2016

A photo exhibition by the great Karl Lagerfeld, a fashion show ode to Florence by Raf Simons and guest designer Gosha Rubchinskiy turned heads at the 90th edition of Pitti Uomo, as Janet Prescott reports.

Guest designer Gosha Rubchinskiy nods to 80s sportswear. PHOTO: Vanni Bassetti

As the world’s sartorial gents gathered for the 90th edition of Pitti Uomo, Merino wool’s leading role in fashion was highlighted on the catwalk. Fashion fizzed and strutted its stuff with great confidence, leading and interpreting in a more uninhibited way the themes and trends for 2017 noted in the main hall - fabrication, colour, texture, and costume.

Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld unveils a collection of photos in an exhibition in Palazzo Pitti.

The various shows started with the formal viewing of Karl Lagerfeld’s photography work at the Fondazione Pitti exhibition, in the hallowed setting of the Palazzo Pitti. His images can be seen as the contemporary expression of an age-old artistic impulse to interpret the famous beauties and celebrities of the time just as the old masters did, and to catalogue the artistic language of an era, something only a master of the medium can do.

Raf Simons’ return to Florence.
PHOTO: Giovanni Giannoni.

Notable shows included the hot ticket for Raf Simons, presenting his collection ‘Florence Calling’ for SS17 in the city that he says holds a special place in his heart. There were various neutrally coloured fabrics - including boiled brushed grey wool cut into perpendicular and asymmetrical shapes for blanket-like ponchos and offset coloured digital images (making a fortuitous link to the Lagerfeld photos) featuring Robert Mapplethorpe photography - were printed on shirts, forming a creative canvas.

Fausto Puglisi’s Roman soliders.
PHOTO: Proj3ct Studio.

A show with colour, elements of rap street fashion, tattooed Roman soldiers and boxers in studded leather contrasted with gaudy floral boxing robes, women strutting in leathers and shiny fabrics - the juxtaposition of beauty and threat - woke everyone up at the Stazione Leopolda, the old railway station. The tableaux under a red hellish light beneath the arches produced living pictures for the audience to stare at, the tension relieved by the intermittent arrival of different models threading their way through the statues; dramatic inventions by Fausto Puglisi for this Pitti Italics Special Event.

Pitti menswear guest designer Gosha Rubchinskiy’s creative world had echoes of 1980s sportswear: Old-fashioned sports logos on sweatshirts and trackies; the use of young models to slouch in and out, in a very effective, and ultimately stylish, show; red wool caban coats; white and navy sweatshirts; and long wool fantasy jumpers with a definite air of post-Soviet Eastern Europe pleased the many international and Italian fans.

Smooth, light wool on show by Lucio Vanotti. PHOTO: Proj3ct Studio.

Lucio Vanotti one of the Pitti Immagine Who’s on Next discoveries, and showing under the Pitti Italics has a simple and pared down style. He is renowned for choosing fabrics with meticulous care, tailoring fabrics, including very simple, smooth light wool fabrics, unadorned, in cream, navy, brick, with long coats and easy trousers for men and women, geometrically conceived, chic and elegant.

VisVim the Pitti Immagine Designer Project by Hiroki Nakamura featured retro American-inspired workwear with a high tech input, born of the designer working with fabric producers, including his characteristic sporting footwear. The result was a clean, fresh look pointing at the important interface between function and fashion, historical workwear, sportswear and streetwear, which is a major influence in forward thinking.