Having put in a truly Hemingway-esque shift at Caffè Gilli last
night, The Rake team have been back on the (admittedly shaky)
ground at Fortezza da Basso today, scoping new brands for future
seasons and further strengthening relationships with the brands you
love to shop today. Many questions were posed over an aperitivo or
six last night, such as why is a negroni called a negroni, and why,
if there are 400 billion birds in the world, do you see so few dead
ones? The team got to the bottom of the former, but are none the
wiser on the latter. If you happened to be at Pitti today and saw a
group of men looking skyward, say hi to The Rake team. Anyhow, I
digress. A cracking day for sartorial menswear inspiration it was
too. This is what we learned...
Someone let the dogs out...
...Which is an editorialised attempt to say we saw a hell of a
lot of houndstooth. The pattern was everywhere and in all guises,
from the classic monochrome style to more intricate iterations
contained within check patterns. It's predominantly an outerwear
pattern precisely because it's so striking, so if you're against
bold colours, going for a houndstooth in a black/white or muted
earthy tones is an excellent alternative.
Who's for Herringbone?
Not satisfied with houndstooth, Pitti goers were keen to add
another pseudo animal-derivative to their pattern collections, this
time in the form of herringbone. More subtle than houndstooth,
herringbone tends to look fantastic in autumnal tones such as
browns, greens and greys, all of which bring out the best of the
chevron design. One of the best herringbone pieces we saw all day
was this outstanding coat on the shoulders of one Luca Rubinacci,
who smartly offset the light-grey pattern with a tonal blend of
blue and finished with a flourish of red silk. Hats off to you,
I want to say that at Caffè Gilli last night, a young Florentine
urchin dressed in Eggshell White or whatever that brand is called,
strolled into the bar, bravely declared that the tie was dead, and
quickly turned on his polyurethane heels to make for the exit. But
even before such blasphemy had been digested by all, 10 strong
sartorial types had already hoisted the delinquent up by his
drawstring trackpants and were admonishing him with the differences
between a half-Windsor and a four-in-hand. But I would be lying.
The point of this gambit is to reinforce the fact that the tie is
indeed flourishing, especially the bold geometric pattern styles.
We saw some crackers around Pitti today.
If in doubt, join the navy
Despite what I've just said about houndstooth, herringbone, and
geometric print ties, there are times when good old navy blue will
tick every box. It doesn't have to be boring either. We saw some
stunning examples of chaps wearing nothing but navy from head to
toe, and looking very elegant to boot. Which brings me on to the
navy blazer, which is a non-negotiable piece of kit. Every man
should own at least one style because it is so dependable and
versatile. If you're in any doubt, take your cue from one of the
best-dressed guys we know, Mr Shuhei Nishiguchi, who makes the
ordinarily earthbound combination of a navy blazer and jeans look
somehow like they fell to earth from menswear Valhalla.