Pitti Uomo 106: All You Need to Know

Pitti Uomo marks the 106th edition of the industry's greatest gathering in Renaissance Florence, with The Rake's insider guide.

Pitti Uomo 106: All You Need to Know

For over 50 years, the resplendent sights of Florence's Duomo Cathedral and the historic Fortezza da Basso have formed a Mecca-like backdrop for the menswear industry's biannual pilgrimage. Every January and June, some 30,000 buyers, designers, journalists, and diehard fans descend upon the Tuscan capital for the four-day spectacle that is Pitti Uomo. This iconic menswear trade show invokes images of sartorial splendour as the year's upcoming collections are unveiled against Renaissance architecture.

The origins of Pitti Uomo can be traced back to the visionary pitch of founder Giovanni Battista Giorgini in the 1950s. Giorgini sold American investors on the idea of the first "High Italian Fashion Show" to be held in Florence. His pioneering event not only planted the seeds for what would become the preeminent menswear fair, but also helped cement "Made in Italy" as the globally recognized mark of quality craftsmanship that it is today.

While those initial showcases featured both men's and womenswear, it was under the stewardship of former director Marco Rivetti in the 1990s that Pitti shifted its focus solely to menswear. This move emphasized the inclusion of top global designer talents like Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto, and Giorgio Armani alongside Italy's best artisanal brands. Pitti's trajectory as the world's premier menswear destination was solidified.

Today, that global perspective continues stronger than ever as Pitti Uomo prepares for its 106th edition taking place June 11-14, 2024. Approximately 790 brands from across the planet, with 43% hailing from outside Italy, will unveil their spring/summer 2025 collections throughout the fairgrounds' varied exhibition areas like Fantastic Classic, Futuro Maschile, Dynamic Attitude, Superstyling, I Go Out, and more. Special sections will also spotlight sustainable and vintage clothing.

Leading the impressive lineup of special events is legendary British designer Paul Smith, who will return to the Pitti stage with a major runway presentation of his spring/summer 2025 collection on the fair's opening day of June 11th. Pitti's Guest Designer will be French wunderkind Marine Serre, who has been dubbed among the most compelling new talents on the Paris runway circuit. On June 12th, the 31-year-old Serre will make her official menswear debut with a special fashion show at the historic Villa di Maiano, unveiling her first men's collection. 

Of course, no discussion of Pitti Uomo is complete without mentioning the unparalleled historic scenery and delectable dining of Florence itself. The quintessential Pitti experience extends far beyond the Fortezza's walls into the city's charming medieval streets, picturesque Renaissance piazzas, and traditional wine bars.

The Florentine cut of tailoring has more in common with British country styles than its Southern Italian counterparts, designed with an understated elegance suited for the rolling Tuscan hills. Classic purveyors of this distinct look include renowned houses like Liverano & Liverano, a must-visit for attendees.

No visit is complete without indulging in a hearty bistecca alla fiorentina, the succulent T-bone steak cooked over flaming grills that is a local signature dish. Well-known addresses like Il Latini and Trattoria Sostanza draw fashionable crowds with their perfect renditions. Those seeking innovative Tuscan cuisine should book a table at three-Michelin-star Enoteca Pinchiorri or make the short trip to Arnolfo in the picturesque hill town of Colle di Val d'Elsa.

On-the-go visitors can seek out Florence's legendary sandwich shops for quick refueling between shows. All'antico Vinaio offers overflowing schiacciata flatbreads or panini stuffed with prosciutto, cheese, and seasonal toppings. More daring palates can hunt down a lampredotto sandwich - the traditional Florentine street food of stewed offal and greens in crusty bread from antica carts like I Pollini.

When the sun sets over the Arno River, Pitti's well-dressed crowds emerge for the nightly aperitivo ritual. They flock to glamorous hotel bars like the classic Harry's Bar and the Ferragamo-owned Hotel Lungarno for craft cocktails and Negronis. Chic lounges like Bitter Bar with its 1920s art deco vibe and Sabor Cubanos with its 1950s Havana decor keep the night going with live music until the wee hours.

For a luxurious home base, guests can book the historic Helvetia & Bristol which has played host to Grand Tourists since the 1800s. The centrally located hotel offers modern rooms, an indulgent spa, and access to the acclaimed Cibreo restaurant. The opulent St. Regis offers unmatched luxury and white-glove service in the heart of the historic district.

With its world-class restaurants, idyllic wine bars, lavish hotels, storied sartorial heritage, and of course, the pageantry of the biannual menswear fair itself, Pitti Uomo 106 celebrates la dolce vita and the finer things in a way only possible in Florence. This June, the menswear marathon will commence once again as the industry makes its celebratory pilgrimage to this Renaissance capital of style and elegance.