London’s swagger-serving Martine Rose came to Florence aiming to pay homage to the city and Italian culture without treating it as a postcard, as she noted during a preview.
She cast locals and the usual too-cool-for-school pack and took over 16th-century loggia for her Pitti Uomo display, decking it in saffron yellow carpeting and covering columns with mirrored tiles.
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She embraced her fetish for characters, channeling ‘90s punk boys sporting daring mohawks and sleazy fiftysomething types of cinematic reference and had them sport thrift gear injected with her inventive take on Italian tailoring and her twisted idea of cool.
Rose clearly has a knack for manipulating silhouettes and is widely regarded for having been a major influence on the oversize, distressed and vintage-flecked men’s look.
At this show, trained eyes couldn’t miss subtle details that turned thrift shop-appropriate attire — think ‘80s double-breasted leather jackets and the craftworker’s red shirt and black tie uniform — into modern pieces.
They pushed the boundaries of proportions and highlighted the men’s physique through a subtly sensual and almost fetish-y eye that was both captivating and discomforting.
Low-rise jeans barely covering the buttock cleavage were paired with pinstripe-slicked shirts and neckties, the latter accentuated by snazzy metal clips; overcoats had perky raised shoulders and wide lapels, while cable knits with standup collars looked like they owned the models’ bodies.
A suburban dad trying his best to look cool vibe came across in the fringed 1990s nylon sweats with fringes running across the arm lines paired with leather workwear pants, while techno ravers in London’s Docklands came to mind when the all-denim look, the round-shouldered jacket tightly nipped at the waist, hit the runway. A few women’s looks thrown into the mix hinged on the same references.
Backstage, the designer was palpably emotional. She said the show “was a real tribute to Italian culture” with music scouted among local New Wave bands from the 1970s and 1980s and cosmic house culture celebrated her own way.
It made for yet another community-focused display where Rose distilled her fantasy about decades past, managing to add currency for the present.
Launch Gallery: Martine Rose Men’s Fall 2023