Kolor, the brainchild of Japanese designer Junichi Abe, was the featured brand at this season's Pitti Uomo. Part of the reason designers seem to love being invited to show in Pitti - and the same reason critics and buyers savour visiting the trade show - is the chance to travel to a beautiful city and enjoy experiencing fashion in a historical place like Florence, filled with incredible architecture, food and frescoes. Pitti's organisers are skilled at incorporating the heritage of the city into the fashion events - see Valentino's S/S 13 show in the Giardino Di Boboli or Peter Pilotto's presentation at the Palazzo Borghese, where their intricate embroideries and prints were clashed against the building's imposing frescoes.
It's appropriate then that Abe was exploring the joy of travel in his S/S 14 collection. He was looking both at the happiness that being in Florence brings and the easy spirit and style of Hawaii. The latter was the more obvious inspiration given the prints, but the opulence and magnificence of Florence came through in those beaded leather sandals - a dandyish touch to an otherwise understated collection. But then Abe has never been the kind of designer to show off. He's built his name on his incredible ability with fabrics and a love for texture and finish. Wisely then, to stop the prints from becoming the main show and overshadowing his craftsmanship, he'd kept tones and colours muted. The florals and leaves printed on shirts, shorts and suit edges seemed like they could have been re-appropriated from old garments rescued from foreign vintage shops. Indeed, the whole collection had an easy make-do vibe, nodding to the kind of relaxed, un-planned outfits one throws together when on holiday. So shorts came oversized with paper-bag waists, while deliberate crushing-effects on tailoring suggested that pieces had been hastily un-packed from a suitcase for a day of adventures. Those perfect coats and those innovative double-hem patchwork shorts had a quiet vibrancy and elegance to them that will speak to men that care more about living a good life full of good things and new experiences - from travel to clothing - than looking polished or on trend.