In 2015, the old location for Florence’s iconic Eredi Chiarini closed, and then moved to a new location a few blocks away. I’ve not been to the new one (hopefully, I’ll go next year), but the old one was definitely memorable enough to merit a posthumous review. Eredi Chiarini used to sit nearly directly across from Luisa via Roma, seemingly in stern reproach to the excess of the latter store, which is best described as Zoolander goes to Ibiza circa 2000.
The first year I went to the modern, social media and blogger inundated incarnation of Pitti Uomo, I did not go to Eredi Chiarini. Or rather, I did not get into the store, which is one of the few that actually had a line to get in. Never a fan of lines, I skipped it for a full year, peering in long enough only to see that they carried Church’s shoes and Ralph Lauren clothing and had a lot of dark wood and winding staircases.
The next year, I did wait in line – I either had more time to waste or I just couldn’t deal with Luisa via Roma again – and I was rewarded with that characteristic buzz and click that tells you that you have been chosen.
The old store was built in the style of haberdasheries of decades ago, with a narrow lobby guarded by mannequins in tasteful tailored and casual clothing, yellow-lit and warm. A narrow staircase lead to a small, patinated wood- and leather-adorned room, with sneakers from Pantofola d’Oro and Buttero display ed on the wall to the right; and to the left, shelves of Church’s shoes and other English and American makers. In the main room, there was more wood, and more racks and shelves of shoes and clothing in the Italian-preppy style, which integrates iconic English (Drake’s, Church’s, Trickers, Derek Rose) and American (Ralph Lauren, Alden) brands with Italian tailored and casual brands. The overall vibe was an Italian version of a mythical Anglo-American haberdashery. Much like Italian American food, it was both distinct from its original inspirations, and very enjoyable. And frankly, a great respite to the white-and-chrome severity of more… modern stores.
The Sartorialist, whom we have to thank as the premier chronicler of #menswear in the mid 2000s, called Eredi Chiarini one of his favorite stores. There is certainly a lot to like about it for any aficionado of Italian tailoring, with the enviable, though wallet-hurting, choice between Kiton, Attolini, and Caruso, just to name a few; or classic casualwear – you could easily make up an outfit with Drumohr knitwear, Joseph Cohen jeans, and an Esemplare coat, to blend with the enviably well put together Italian throng that would pass to and fro between Eredi Chiarini and its much gaudier counterpart across the street. I could easily see about 95% of Styleforum’s “Classic Menswear” readers and posters being fans of this store, (the remaining 5% being the real holdouts that either pine for a high fidelity representation of preppy, or Italian tailoring purists.)
If asked to outfit a man for a week at the tradeshows, (one day I may go back to Florence purely for play), and for a bucolic weekend over on the hilly side of Florence, or further out in Tuscany, and if money were no object, I’d very confidently make Eredi my one stop shop in Florence. It is certainly among the best handful of classic menswear stores in Florence, and perhaps the best “overall” store.
I’m not sure whether I’ll have a chance to visit the new store this coming winter, but if I do, I’ll see if the “sala denim” in the new store can match the charm of the old.
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