Taking a Fashion Tour of Florence
Florence’s pretty streets are giving the shoppers who usually head straight for Milan another gorgeous fashion location to consider. Florence does the classic styles as beautifully as the rest of Italy and the combination of this elegance with fine art, medieval architecture and world class food make it a destination of choice for many discerning tourists.
Florence is also becoming much more of a trend setting city. The influx of young fashion forward designers including those for wedding dresses and concept stores are making the capital of Tuscany a tempting base for the industry’s future makers. Bespoke clothing shops, innovative boutiques, a strong artisan community and the powerhouses of Italian fashion are combining to make Florence a must visit.
Rinascente on the Piazza della Repubblica
This department store is located at the very centre of Florence’s commercial and historical district. All the international brands can be discovered conveniently inside and the building boasts fabulous views of the impactful Piazza Della Republica from its rooftop terrace bar. The streets around this Piazza are mainly full of Italian high street shops and is perfect for teenagers looking for something a bit different to the UK high street.
The Oltrano district, located south of the River Arno, is where shoppers looking for pieces of Italian craftsmanship should head. The concentration of artisanal shops in this area is high. Handmade jewellery, ceramics and marbled notepaper are amongst the delights being sold in the attractive streets.
The pinnacle of handcrafted fashion is produced at Antico Setificio Fiorentino. Tourists and locals alike adore the silks that are created using traditional Florentine techniques and on the original looms.
Luisa Via Roma
This shopping street is home to a huge number of designer high end shops and luxury boutiques. If you are looking for stunning designer dresses by Chanel or a Mulberry handbag or even the latest wedding dresses from the big fashion names, then the Luisa Via Roma is waiting for you and your credit card.
Luisa Via Roma is also the name of an iconic department store on this street. Opened by a French lady in the 1920’s wanting to bring Parisian style to Italy in the form of a hat shop. This original store has since developed, with the help of the owner’s visionary nephew, into a place where new designers, styles and innovations are brought to the streets of Italy. They were the first distributors of Kenzo clothing and their futuristic designer dresses in the 1960’s and continue to break new names in fashion to this day.
San Lorenzo Street Market
This market is actually split into two sections. For fashion, leather goods and gifts shoppers should focus on the stalls on the streets outside the Mercato Centrale, they are open from Sunday to Thursday so plan your trip around these days if you want to visit. Designer dresses are rare if non-existent at San Lorenzo but you are guaranteed to find a butter soft leather jacket or cute little shoulder bag in coloured leather. Gift shopping is so easy amongst these stalls which re-stock from nearby warehouses so if another size or colour is needed they will happily check for you.
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum
This beautiful museum, based in a medieval palace originally built in 1289, is entirely devoted to this legendary shoe designer and his life’s work. Some of the most revolutionary progressions in shoe design and making were pioneered by Ferregamo, metal reinforcement of the stiletto heel is just one of these. He began his career in 1920’s Hollywood making shoes for the actors and actresses but later came back his native Italy. He chose Florence as it was famous, even then, for its skilled craftsmen. The evolution of footwear over one hundred years is explored in this incredible building and the vast collections within it.