Ready to Wear: The Italian stallion lives and breathes

By Susannah Frankel
Sunday 23 October 2011 07:51

Marooned in Florence, Italy (it's a dirty job), with nothing better to do than people watch.

There are, of course, many worse places to do so. Here you'll find some of the finest-looking human beings on the planet. Not least, it's worth noting that well over half the population (female) has very good hair. Big, dark and curly. Fabulous – to use the word advisedly... Make-up too is abundant. Rule number one: any girl over 12 wears a face-full.

Also remarkable: despite sunny skies and temperatures over 20 degrees the indigenous population is wearing Puffa jackets, knee-high boots and gloves. Only the tourists are stripping off – vests, visible bra straps and scorched skin makes them immediately identifiable – and look nothing short of uncouth by comparison.

At first glance, the ubiquity of the Louis Vuitton tote here is surprising, even by wealthy northern Italian standards. It soon becomes apparent that these are counterfeit, as touted by excitable street traders on every corner. As well as Louis Vuitton, Burberry check, Hermes and Prada copies are all very much in evidence, laid out on blankets and then swept up in seconds upon sightings of i vigili, out in force to call a halt to any such activities. They should concentrate their efforts on the world's worst ever buskers instead. "I believe I can fly-aye-aye...!"

As for the men, there's an awful lot of Ronaldo-esque, stone-washed denim on display, and muscle-bound torsos only thinly veiled by tight T-shirts – tucked into jeans please... Yes, the Italian stallion lives and breathes in designer sunglasses (everyone wears them) and carrying glossy leather man-bags that would make the average British heterosexual male blush.

Finally, and this applies across the country, here the colour pink is not just for girls. We have The Financial Times, Italy has La Gazzetta Dello Sport. Settling in with the locals of an evening to watch the football – surely this nation's favourite pastime – and Palermo's palest-rose strip that perfectly matches the pink paper is certainly rather fetching. Both linesmen and referees at Bari-Napoli, meanwhile, eschewed the usual fluoro-yellow, opting instead for shirts and socks best described as cerise. What with their lovely big brown hair (it's not just the girls who are blessed in this department) a young Engelbert Humperdinck springs to mind.

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