Pitti Final. June 2012.

Dear Rowley,

Wouldn’t you just die without Florence and Pitti Uomo twice a year to look forward to? I am sitting on the rooftop terrazzo of the Tornabuoni Beacci hotel with a bottle of prosecco and an acqua frizzante at the ready for Better Half’s imminent arrival from Palazzo Pitti. The sun is just becoming gentler, the view would make a nun kick a hole in a stained glass window and I am feeling terribly Kylie Minogue: lucky, lucky, lucky. Perhaps I’m a latterday Eleanor Lavish from Forster’s A Room With A View¬†and should be penning a racy novel about lust in the meadows of Fiesole entitled Under A Loggia. Quite frankly, I’ve been under far better in Florence over the years I’ve been coming to Pitti.

Speaking of racy novels, have you read Fifty Shades of Grey? It is apparently a sexual awakening tale involving a virgin and a silver fox in the spirit of Anthony Andrews inducting said virgin into the pleasures of mild S&M. Perhaps I should pen Fifty Shades of Gay.¬†Reminds me of Royal Ascot a couple of years ago when Suzi Perry and I were commentating. We went live after a pre-record about Vivienne Westwood that mentioned bondage. I say to Suzi, ‘of course S&M is perfectly appropriate in Car Park Number One’ to which she replied ‘only if you keep your shoulders covered’. Priceless. I hear Miss P is doing a splendid job riding solo this year at the Royal Meeting. God bless her and all who sail with her.

I feel so terribly at home and at ease in Florence and at Pitti Uomo. Armed with camera, laptop and two packets of Diana Azzura, there’s not much missing from my perfect day except for Better Half who cried off today to go sightseeing though I can tell you the Anderson & Sheppard gang saw some sights at the Fortezza today. We have sourced the most marvellously masculine, elegant polo shirts for No 17 Clifford Street and cashmere/silk three button sweaters that come in the most glorious colours and will rock it out underneath a bespoke A&S coat. Quite frankly, as Garland said at her Carnegie Hall comeback concert, ‘I don’t never want to go home’.

So we’re not. Better Half and I have the weekend in Florence or on a beach if we can get a good recommendation for a seaside resort not infested by nouveau Russians showing off their Aussie Bums. To be honest, I’d be very contented to stay in Florence and have a lovely time catching-up with my Italian Mama Sibilla della Gherardesca. I bought the Contessa a lovely lobelia in the Piazza della Republica flower market that I sincerely hope she plants in tonight when the sun has set. Love lobelia, don’t you?

The most amusing moment of the day at Pitti Uomo was on our polo shirt stand. There was a particular yellow colour way called Titti. Set me off right away. I said to Audie ’40 years in the business darling’ Charles, ‘what’s that colour code?’ ‘I think it is titti’ she replies. Anda was off like a shot looking for titti. I asked the lady on the stand if she could show us titti. By the end of the exchange both Italians and English were bent double with tittilation. Well, everyone loves a bit of titti.

We had a prosecco break in the Piazza della Republica at 3pm before the A&S team had to get their flights. Then it was up, up, up to the Tornabuoni Beacci terrazzo to pop prosecco and write to you. If the waiter is indulgent I will ask him to climb the table for two turret and take a picture of Better Half and I. We must have about four photographs to show for 12-years together. It is always the way at Pitti that one heads for the hills without saying goodbye to the Pitti family. I am sure they are all quite ready to see everybody off then head to their country houses for the weekend.

I am not hugely enthusiastic about heading up to Milan for the few shows I have to attend. It is always a pleasure to see Elizabetta Canali and I will drop in on Etro and the Alexander McQueen/Huntsman presentation. But once that’s done, it’s a boozy lunch with my former Rake editor Christian B. Barker somewhere fun and then home to Bloomsbury Square. It is a strange anomaly in Florence that I love it so much but always feel that it is time to go home when I leave. Perhaps this is because the beauty of Florence is such that British protestants really shouldn’t be exposed to it for too long or god only knows what may be the result…probably the English Cemetery and a burial with full h0nors and a feu de joie.

Better Half has now arrived just in time to take a snap of the pink Oliver Spencer herringbone jacket he made for me many moons ago and the devastating view from the terrace of the Tornabuoni Beacci. Of course, it goes without saying I wish you were here.