Wednesday 8th January

| BY Dino Bonacic

Brioni: Menswear AW20 at Pitti Uomo

No one does classic as well as the Italians do. And last night was a demonstration of excellence in classic ideas, as elaborated by Brioni and their 75th anniversary show. Shown on the schedule of the Pitti Uomo fair in Florence, this was sort of a homecoming for the Italian heritage brand. In 1952, they were the first ever men’s fashion house to stage a catwalk show inside the Sala Bianca at the Palazzo Pitti, paving the way for many others that followed. In fact, Pitti Uomo has since become somewhat notorious for the incredible settings the guest designers uses as the backdrop for their shows, with each venue bringing its own rich history into the conversation.

Last night’s setting were the haunted, candle-lit halls of Palazzo Gerini, a Renaissance-style 15th century palace originally owned by the Gerini noble Florentine family. For AW20, Brioni’s collection was shown in a format that paid homage to the origins of the venue too. Set inside the dark rooms were pockets of music, performed live by different orchestras demonstrating the real context of their traditional tailoring. A quartet in the first room, a trio in the next… So on it went, an experience worthy of a grand concert hall which allowed for an intimate indulgence into Brioni’s world.

After quite a tumultuous period of trying out something new, this celebratory collection confirmed how well classic ideas work with Brioni’s craftsmanship. A simple white coat worn by a bassoon player was so exquisitely made there was something poetic about it. Suits that work both in a casual and the most formal of settings allowed for their wearers to express their individual personalities. Precise lines of both single and double-breasted jackets in muted, earthy tones carried the kind of perfection that everyone could use in their wardrobes. And one particular piece, a sky-blue suit worn by a bassist in the grandest room, even nodded to the origins of the brand, with a wide-legged trouser silhouette throwing it back to the zoot suits of the 1940s. Somewhat of a grand finale, a room with just one musician behind a grand piano, showcased the most formal of ideas – a perfectly-executed black tailcoat tux. Like a holistic experience turning everyone into a suit-lover, Brioni just proved modernity can sometimes be an excessive luxury you don’t always need.

Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.