Dispatches from Spring ‘14

Pitti’s Greatest Hits

Highlights from the semiannual street style bonanza in Florence that—who knew?—also happens to be a pretty cool menswear trade show.
Photos: Tyler Thoreson

Michael Williams: An argument for function over fashion.

The first thing to remember about Pitti Uomo: It’s a trade show, where buyers and vendors from all over the world convene not to take in runway spectacles, but to do business, and in the process to determine what you’re going to see in stores — and to a large extent what you’ll be wearing — nine months from now. But Pitti isn’t just any trade show, it’s an Italian trade show, and that’s what makes it such a street style bonanza: The Italians break out their finest duds, which brings out the best in the rest of us, including U.S.-based superstars like Justin Doss of GQ, Suitsupply’s Nish de Gruiter, Matt Singer of Bergdorf Goodman, and, of course, Gilt Man alumni Josh Peskowitz and Nick Wooster.

The second thing to remember about Pitti Uomo (at least the June edition): It’s hot. Very, very hot. Which is why, surrounded by all the preening peacocks and dapper dandies, it was refreshing to encounter A Continuous Lean founder Michael Williams kitted out in a polo, shorts, and New Balance running shoes. M Dubs may not have caught the eye of Tommy Ton in that getup, but his outfit was a reminder that the real point of Pitti is to see, not be seen.

Here are a few of the best things I saw at this season’s show — many from brands we currently feature on Gilt, some from up-and-coming brands that I hope we can feature someday soon. Check out the slideshow, then let me know what you think in the comments section.

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