Pitti Uomo is always an extraordinary melting pot of ideas and experiences - a menswear Mecca of unparalleled significance - in the words of the trade show's Secretary General, Mr Alberto Scaccioni 'it exists to democratise men's fashion'. A noble endeavour indeed, and one which I am rather pleased to report seems to be ever more fulfilled season upon season. Quite apart from the increasingly impressive array of brands travelling from all over the globe to display their wares, and the world-famous displays of sartorial swagger that abound in the central plaza, the trade show has gained a reputation for bringing impassioned men's style aficionados together, unifying different communities who share a commitment to beautiful menswear.
Whether it be the gathering of Pitti's sartorial greats for a spot of street style snapping courtesy of remarkable photographers like Mr K.E. Guerre (see our feature on the Pitti All Stars for more), the inspiring dinners hosted by Mr Scott Schuman, or impromptu coffee clubs in age-old Florentine institutions, Pitti is above all a place to enjoy some time shared with likeminded individuals. This is perhaps the greatest value of the show itself - its one of few places on earth where those truly passionate about beautiful clothing and accoutrements can come together and indulge in their passion.
I was rather thrilled then, this January past, to be invited to attend an entirely new form of Pitti gathering - an informal supper with nineteen other individuals heralded as the '20 under 30' - a group of gentlemen singled out as the next generation of sartorial influencers. This dinner was the first of its kind and the brainchild of four remarkable men; Mr Jake Grantham and Mr Alex Pirounis, both lynchpins for The Armoury - arguably one of the most discerning establishments in luxury menswear, the exceptionally talented menswear photographer and founder of 1000 Yard Style, Robert Spangle, and finally, bespoke authority and journalist, Mr Paul Fournier.
The dinner was hosted at Trattoria Cammillo, on the south side of the river, in thoroughly unpretentious, comforting surroundings. Guests were allowed to drift in casually, sit down to eat and let the evening unravel at a leisurely pace - resulting in an atmosphere that felt thoroughly creative and accommodating. But why choose to host such an affair, and perhaps even more intriguingly, what qualified each participant for inclusion? Paul Fournier, the group's paterfamilias explains: 'Fine menswear is a small world; over and again we see the same faces. They all deserve their success and their place in the spotlight - they have worked hard to be there. But nonetheless, we feel that there is an emerging generation that has also contributed hugely to the renaissance in luxury menswear.'