Uniform non uniform.

Never uniform.

The men’s suit is still what it was in the 19th Century. In principle, it’s a practical, dignified garment: it has to be adaptable to any working situation (except manual work, obviously)». This is what Roland Barthes wrote in 1967 (The Sense of Fashion, Einaudi).

The previews of the fall/winter collections 2018-19 show that something is beginning to change; men have an enormous desire to renew, invent new distinctive traits, to search for a studied singularity in their style, a prerogative that only the dandies could allow themselves. The game is remixing the fundaments of elegance, which obviously puts one of the most classic items of masculinity in the spotlight, the shirt.

An important element of the men’s wardrobe, from symbol of classic elegance to the most across-the-board item to wear to the club or a party.

In times of crisis the shirt remains a certainty even for the shop window, as numerous buyers confirm. Friedman identifies three traditional ways of wearing it: 1) open but always with a soft collar 2) casual: unbuttoned, tucked into trousers with sleeves rolled up; 3) outside trousers, this being recommended – it must be said – only for the under 30s or artists. «For everyone else, the shirt has to be tucked in ».

Then there are the new ways of wearing it, the ways presented at Pitti93 in an attempt to convince men to take the same kind of care in their style as Cary Grant, David Niven and Clark Gable, unsurpassed symbols of elegance in their silk shirts. The secret of being contemporary — apart from little tweaks like taking it in to emphasise a physique du rôle under matching outfits or leaving it a little more generous to conceal — is mixing the cards.

High and noble: that’s the soul of the Pitti93 Robert Friedman capsule collection.

Above and beyond the excellence of the materials and cut, it’s the “new dandy” ideas that really make the difference, like the arresting combination of the various patterns, or the asymmetric embroideries on just one shoulder. Bold but compact: the final result is an outfit with virtually “unlimited” harmony, to create ad personam.

Robert Friedman offers a new style for those who have what it takes to personalise it. As if you were going to your tailor with exactly the shirt you want in mind.

The colours and patterns wander between warm, vivacious shades, always understated, with blue and black as the guides, with optical-illusion striped prints where the stripes disappear and reappear somewhere else on the surface or change nuance and intensity. The creative details of the new dandy.