Wednesday 12th June

| BY Richard Gray

Givenchy: Menswear SS20 (at Pitti Uomo)

The incredible Giardino all’ Italiana on the outskirts of Florence was the setting for the Givenchy SS20 menswear show under the creative direction of Clare Waight Keller the British designer and charged with reissuing all lines. Through the garden’s circuitous and beautifully kept box hedges, models walked 57 looks. These formed the designer’s first entire men’s runway collection. It was called ‘Nouveau Glitch’ – a jerk in the system. It formed a creative narrative, which ran through the clothes and accessories smudging digital prints and “accidentally” fusing together traditions, old and new. Translated, this meant soft tailoring (exquisite) SB3-jackets; double-breasted too. And a softer shouldered sports-style jacket: it’s a piece that is, at once smart but also casual. No matter how cliched that sounds: this dead easy, no think-time required, men’s jacket, is big business. It works. It’s easy. It’s fuss-free, and men buy them, on repeat. Two at a time.

More fusions, when a pin-stripe jacket met a wide trouser in one look. It formed a silhouette we last saw in about 1990, when young Johnny was off to his Saturday job in Manchester’s Eastern Bloc Records, wearing his dad’s best jacket with a pair of really baggy jeans. The whole show riffed on these witty “timehop” fusions. Accessories spoke to hardcore techno rave days. One long-strap mini bag, worn low, was a winner. And those trainers! A collab between Japan’s Onitsuka Tiger, and they’re on sale now, until, of course, they sell out, which they probably will. However, you’ll have to wait for all that brilliantly executed “technical-wear”, says Givenchy. The lightweight coats made from “Korean fabrics” were the kind of easy, cool buy, if it’s not your season for suiting. Searching for a cab after the show, buyers from a very large chain of American department stores, a breed of big money spenders, who usually guard their thoughts after a show, said of the collection: “We can make a lot of that work for our customers, quite easily”.