Pitti Uomo: Day 2
My room is right next to the hotel kitchen, and I’m up at 6:30 after three hours of sleep. Furiously listening to ocean noises on my iPhone wins me another two hours, but then it’s up and at ‘em. All for your sake, dear reader. Unlike @unbelragazzo, my scullery dorm has no view of Brunelleschi’s anything. Or any view at all. Instead I have wooden shutters and a window that doesn’t open.
Still, there is breakfast, and after that, The Feast. But first I have to go back to the hotel because I forgot my chapstick.
The crush outside of the Fortezza is still the crush. It's almost a relief to make it through the press entrance and into the pavilion. Feels like coming home. Pitti is a safe place. There is no shame here. Four or five seven-foot-tall sirens in multicolored turbans and ten inch heels stand outside the entrance like giant parakeets. There's a birds of a feather joke here somewhere.
I head to the pavilion and check out some label called SeaGreen, designed by the guy behind Tatras. It’s a Japanese take on LA surf culture that shows off a lot of interesting knits, soft pants and shirts. I pull out my camera after chatting to the rep, crouch down, and realize that I’ve forgotten my SD card in my laptop back at the hotel.
Play it cool. Admit nothing.
I make a show of fussing with dials and make a frowny face at the lighting. I put the DSLR away. I take out my phone, take some quick photos. I can feel their eyes on me. I do that kneeling photographer pose like a true professional. I tell them I'll be back later sometime, to take “more pictures.”
I run to the hotel, writing on my phone as I go. I take a lot of notes, and I'm amazed that I don't get hit by traffic. I'm starting to get warm. Maybe a sheepskin bomber was the wrong choice - but everyone I see is in knee length down coats and yards of scarves. I can’t change my jacket now! They’ll recognize me.
It’s okay. I'll sprezz it out by rolling up the sleeves to show off my tiny forearms. Sup artishard. The hotel concierge laughs at my second return. At least I have time to take some measures to prevent blisters.
I make it back to Pitti. Some asshole is smoking a Sherlockian pipe that has at least as much curve in it as his mustache. Two other guys have ridden their fixies into the pavilion and are rocking helmets in the same colors of the sirens' turbans.
I stop at TS(S), Comedie Humaine, and am unable to resist saying hello to a guy who makes ponchos. His name is Angelo, and he is a weaver. He's the best. I check out Ten C, and suddenly it's time for lunch.
Some dude stops me and asks for a picture. I pretend to know what WGSN is. I hope the Internet can't see how sweaty I am. At least I have my chapstick. Lips are feelin’ pretty good. In the end, I don’t think I made the streetstyle edit, which is actually a bit of a relief.
I meet David at the crowded press buffet, tell him that I’m going to post something about last night’s dinner. His eyes go shifty.
“You wrote something about dinner?”
“Oh yeah,” I say
I get up in search of tiramisu. My jacket pulls my chair over. It's loud, and people stare. I pick it up all nonchalant-like; no big deal. The tiramisu is delicious. David and I discuss the game plan and Styleforum in general, and agree that LA_Guy is an aggressive G-chatter before heading to the Press Room for coffee.
After a pick-me-up of espresso, we walk to the Central Pavilion to properly catalogue La Portegna and look at their leather goods. It's really impressive stuff, and the story behind the brand is wonderfully romantic.
Afterwards, David and I split up and I head back to the contemporary collections. Yuki from Monitaly and Yuketen talks to me about the new season, and I also look at MIDA, a brand I've never heard of. It's designed in Italy and produced in Japan, a mix of technical and natural fabrics that feels very easy and sporty. “Free time clothes,” is how it is described to me.
Next is Harris Wharf, where I talk to the designer and her brother; maybe the friendliest people I've ever met. For some reason, they want me to put their pants on the floor when I take a picture, because another photographer was doing it. Whatever, I think, I’m making Connections. The floor pictures don’t come out well.
After saying hello to the U-Ni-Ty squad (of one) again, it's over to Tatras and back to Mr. Hare, to ask him more questions about shoes and shoemaking and Life. He's another character, and obviously cares about his product. He loves to talk about shoes, too, and his easy manner makes it a fun interview.
My sheepskin coat is turning me into a puddle. I need air, so I take the opportunity to sit on the wall (a wall, really, it's not the wall), which is really difficult to do without falling. The wall is actually a death wall – the stone is incredibly slick, and I sort of have to sled up and down it when I want to sit down. It’s time for the brand map. I've been going in circles all day.
Then it’s back to the Press Room, to tweet something and to pee somewhere there isn’t a line of eighty dudes trailing out the door and looking like a still life of an acid trip. I run into David, and he tells me that he has a plan for The Wall.
I get impressively turned around looking for MISMO, which is actually back where I came from before I made it all the way over to the Press Room. I see three of the sirens again, and follow them down the catwalk towards the “Touch!” (not “Happy,” then) Pavilion. They draw cameramen like flypaper, and, if placed Louboutin-to-Louboutin, would have a collective height of about 50 yards.
After a great talk with Adam from MISMO and some quality examination of his products (which have a wonderful heft in person), it's Go Time. Somehow David has procured cigars and Jack Daniels. Why, I have no idea, but here we are. The camera is out. The Wall is prepped. This is it, people. This is real. The peacock has landed.
We take a photo as the sun disappears and the deranged pigeon baby wails in the background. Seriously, who the fuck thought that was a good idea?
I am left to my own devices after the show, and go back to the hotel to write up the day's events. By the time I decide to eat it's 10:45. My body feels strange. I can’t tell if I’m starving or bloated. I have forgotten that I am not in Spain, where this would be early for dinner. The concierge is not hopeful. He wishes me luck.
I find an open place and walk in, only to be turned away. Too late for dinner.
"Is anywhere still open?" I ask.
"Mister pizza," they say.
"Yes, Mr. pizza. Turn left. You'll see it." They give me looks of pity.
Mr pizza is what you would expect. I order a slice of pepperoni and a slice of sausage. It is returned to me, hot. I opt to sit at the tall barrel tables, on a high chair. It makes me feel powerful; a man in control of his destiny. I am eating at Mr. Pizza because I want to, not because I missed dinner. My taste buds are not convinced. The pizza is 60% grease, 30 percent salt. I decide not to contemplate the other 10%
Even so, there is a magic to eating out alone that always exists despite the surroundings. It gives you time to reflect, whether on the atrocity of a bad pepperoni pizza and the Jackson 5, or on a day at Pitti Uomo.
I have learned a lot over the last forty-eight hours, not just about fashion and the brands I'm covering, but about style. I don't care what people wear, as long as it makes them happy. It makes me a little sad to see the people who force sixteen different pieces together in order to stand out in the crowd. You can't stand out here. It's impossible. Whether you're wearing a Rick Owens headdress, skirt, and hiking boots, or a robin’s-egg blue cashmere chalkstripe double breasted suit with orange socks and unbuttoned double monks, there's too much going on for anyone to care.
I don't believe in authenticity. Just do what you like, Styleforum, and do it for you.
Day three tomorrow. The clock is ticking.