Pitti Uomo: Hot Trends For 2016

The Pitti Uomo men’s show, held in Florence earlier this month, is an important stop for many high-end companies, particularly with the men’s shoe market undergoing a revolution.

“Men’s shoes will continue to lead the market with innovation and creativity. And sneakers will only continue to get bigger,” said Eric Jennings, VP & fashion director of menswear, home and beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue, who attended the show. “[For fall], there will be more experimentation, but less embellishment and flashiness.”

With sales on the upswing for many brands, expansion is top of mind for the year ahead. Read on for vendors’ takes on new trends, key markets, new collaborations and more.

Tim Little
CEO and creative director, Grenson
Trend watch: “The mountain boot is big at the moment. It’s something we have done in the past and are reinventing now. The dressy shoe is also becoming bigger for us again. We have quite a few customers who are getting back into dressing smartly. They’re actually wearing suits again and looking a bit slicker.”

Archival looks versus new designs: “It’s a real balance, because you can’t do too much. We don’t just want to become like a museum, where we just borrow old things that people have done before. The company has to move on. [As a 150-year-old brand], there is always an element of what was in the past that we bring through.”

Brunello Cucinelli
Founder, Brunello Cucinelli
The importance of shoes: “I have always thought that you can tell if somebody is dressed properly from their footwear. Shoes do make the difference. Even if you are wearing a basic T-shirt and denim, the right shoe immediately shows what kind of taste you have.”

Pascual Blanco
President, Magnanni
Growth areas: “The U.S. market is probably our biggest target. We are [expanding] within our current accounts because our distribution is pretty extensive. Other markets that are growing fairly well are Northern European countries, like the U.K., and Japan and Hong Kong. China is one of those markets where we are on hold because it’s like a roller coaster. We are focusing most on the more mature countries.”

Key challenges: “All of the political and economic conditions could impact the distribution and the business, but we are a very stable company, so we don’t foresee too many changes.”

Overall market trends: “In menswear, it’s hard to foresee trends because everybody is testing things and trying something new. For us, the sneaker world is still important, even though it’s trending down. For us, the dress [shoe] has always been important. I see a little more trend for casual dressing.”

Mulo x Norman Parkinson Collaboration
Mulo’s collaboration with Norman Parkinson.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

Tobias Cox
Founder, Mulo
Collab alert: “In March, we’re launching a collaboration with British photographer Norman Parkinson. For the ladies, it features three images from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s that were featured in Vogue. The leather and printing are fantastic.”

Making the brand year-round: “We introduced a winter version of our summer loafer — the same silhouette as the summer shoe in leather, nubuck and linen. For women, we debuted a number of materials. We also have some loud, bright colors, as well as gold snakeskin-printed leather and other new prints.”

Celebrity wish list: “Leonardo DiCaprio and [Vogue Paris editor] Emmanuelle Alt.”

Matt Germaine
Partner, Android Homme
Growth ambitions: “I see us opening up more of Europe. We started out in the U.K., and people are hearing about the brand throughout the rest of Europe. We just started shipping to the Netherlands, and we are going to go into Germany next season. We want to continue to expand distribution, but at the same time keep it tight so there is an aura of scarcity about the brand.”

Celebrity wish list: “The easy answer is Kanye West because he has the most influence, but probably also Abel from The Weeknd and Travis Scott.”

Louis Leeman
Founder and creative director, Louis Leeman
Key challenges: “Every day is a challenge. With shoes and production, there are so many things to deal with, always something new to take care of.”

Color story: “[I’ve] wanted to incorporate bright colors, and I think about doing that, but somehow, we always shy away from it. We’re more muted, which fits with the menswear trend, but I would love to do more color one day.”

Celeb support: “We got lucky, because we’ve had many, including Robert Downey Jr. and Jared Leto. We like to work with celebrities who are fashion-forward. Lenny Kravitz might be a good fit.”

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