By Cristina Ferro
Florence is the city where the Italian fashion system was founded. In Florence you can find a world made of highly skilled artisans and their expertise: In fact, its history and traditions made it possible to create the perfect network for an emerging fashion market.
Florence is still a great place for menswear shopping. We have great boutiques and workshops where tradition is at its best. Here’s a selection of menswear boutiques for menswear shopping to visit during Pitti Uomo:
Let’s start with the most iconic and famous boutique: Eredi Chiarini is a must-visit place for menswear shopping in Florence. As far as I can remember, It’s always been a landmark for gentlemen as well as for young professionals. I remember our dad and older brothers used to buy their garments from Eredi Chiarini when I was a little girl in the 80’s!
This amazing clothing store opened in 1970; shortly after, they began to manufacture jackets, pants, shirts, and suits in line with the style of Italian and British accessories such as ties, bags, umbrellas, hats and shoes that they carry in store.
You can get your tailored garments done at Eredi Chiarini, as they collaborate with the most prestigious Italian tailors and offer a great selection of fabrics.
Address: Via Porta Rossa 33/R Firenze
Tie Your Tie
Many of you may be familiar with Franco Minucci. He started working in menswear as an agent for some of the most important brands in the early 80’s. Through the years, he developed a personal fashion aesthetic that came to fulfillment with the opening of his own menswear shop, which offers the highest quality merchandise, in 1984.
After Mr. Franco Minucci founded the Tie your Tie Shop in Florence, he established its factory of marvelous artisanal ties. His inspiration for the shop comes from the concept of “beauty and simplicity”, and his values can be found in the details of these gorgeous creations, as well as in the highest quality items selected for his menswear boutique.
Ties are definitely the key player here, especially the “Sette Pieghe”, the original sevenfold ties.
Mr. Minucci says that the inspiration for the Sette Pieghe comes from the colors and designs from mid 19th century fashion. The Sette Pieghe ties were a great success as soon as they were released and still are made by hand using fine cloths provided by world-famous suppliers.
Address: Piazza de’ Rucellai 8r Firenze
Liverano & Liverano
Liverano & Liverano is one of the most important tailoring houses in Florence, as well as one of the few remaining from an era where dressing well was not considered a flair, but rather a requirement for any respectable man. The Liverano brothers’ business started at the end of the 1960’s in Florence, in Santa Maria Novella. Twenty years later, they moved the business to Via de’ Fossi, where it is still located today.
It’s not uncommon to walk inside and find Antonio Liverano in the house, at work at the cutting table. This is what made him one of the most respectful and admired personalities in the modern Florentine tailoring scene.
The Florentine tailoring style is all about slightly extended, soft, and generous shoulder, short jacket bottom, wide chest, low positioned pocket to create a V-shaped jacket whose bottom borders are cut away. This is still Liverano’s signature style.
The Florentine tradition requires a three-button configuration, and in the tailoring house they always remind their clients of the golden rule: with a cutaway style, you need to close only the central button!
In Via de’ Fossi you will find tailors who have worked with Liverano for over 40 years as well as some young, equally skilled ones.
Address: Via de’ Fossi, 43 Firenze
Piero Puliti started his career in fashion in Florence, working in the trendiest menswear shops if the 1970’s. After a few years, he started his business as a fashion designer, creating his own prêt-a-porter collections.
Later on, his love for menswear brought him to open a shop of his own in the heart of downtown Florence, not far from the Duomo and Piazza Della Signoria. He still runs a small, marvelous boutique where his creations and his taste and style in decorating spaces are manifest to the visitors; in this small boutique, his vision and creations are crystal clear. Piero is known to be one of the best tiemakers in town.
Address: Via Del Corso 51/R Firenze
The leather industry is one of the most important ones in Tuscany; we are very proud of our leather artisans, and some of them stand out for being of a kind in terms of quality and style. Dimitri Villoresi is one of those.
Dimitri runs his workshop in Oltrarno, where he personally stitches his creations. Dimitri’s workshop, DV Bags, is a charming place that is hidden away from the main touristic areas and guided tours.
Dimitri Villoresi can be considered a visionary poet and an artist. He is one of the pioneers in the movement that looks back to true craftsmanship: he only uses the traditional tools of a by-gone era, and none of his creations ever see a sewing machine. His instruments are the cobblers’ knives, awls, scissors, needles, and thread.
The Dimitri Villoresi workshop is also a training center: here, the old art of leatherworking is passed on to the new generations through individual, personalized courses.
My favorite bag is La Sporta, a traditional “shopping bag” suitable for daily use. As Dimitri says, “it is an open container where you just put your things straight in and they stay there”. Such a pure and essential design for men and women alike!
Address: Via dell’Ardiglione 22 Firenze
Here’s another designer from team Oltrarno! Marina is an artist who runs a beautiful studio in Oltrarno, in Palazzo Guicciardini, in the heart of the coolest district in Florence. Her handiwork focuses mainly on painting and the creation of amazing pieces of furniture and homeware objects. Through the years, she has taken inspirations from the most diverse fields: food, science, and nature.
Marina also is a skilled goldsmith. If you get to know her, you’ll love her jewelry. And her men’s collections are just as inspiring and creative as the rest of the items you’ll see visiting her atelier.
Her cufflinks remind me of a shackle (perfect for sailing lovers!), physics and its formulas (Quantum teleportation formula), the shape of Santo Spirito church, Nautilus fossils, champagne corks, musical notes (specifically the Chroma), and finally the latest creation: the Bond-inspired shape of a Martini cocktail.
You should visit her studio and experience this connection between fashion, arts, and science!
Address: Via Santo Spirito, 14 Firenze
If you lived in Florence and you were looking for high quality, timeless, and classic pieces for your wardrobe, you would likely be a regular customer of Bernardo’s, and an acquaintance of Andrea, the owner. I know more than a man who has made of this tiny menswear boutique their #1 choice when it comes to menswear shopping.
Bernardo is a small, charming boutique in Via Porta Rossa, exquisitely piled in 23 square meters or less. In such a tiny space, they manage to carry so many great clothes! The store has existed for over thirty years and it’s known for the excellent selection of brands and the great customer service: clients are cared of and advised by Andrea and his employees.
Bernardo also offers an excellent custom-made tailoring service. Indeed, the most peculiar trait of this boutique is the precision they have when helping a client. This is why gentlemen in Florence have always considered it one of the best places for menswear finds and true Made-in-Italy classic pieces.
Address: Via Porta Rossa 87/r Firenze
Not far from Bernardo, walking through the streets around via Tornabuoni (the luxury goods shopping street in Florence) you might take a turn and find yourself in a totally different universe. It’s a colorful place that reminds me of wildlife, history, and traditions: it’s the world of TACS Casentino.
You may know that Casentino is a valley located in Eastern Tuscany north of Arezzo. It is famous for its naturalistic beauty, wild forests, Etruscan sites, Romanesque churches, and Medieval castles, as well as for the traditional fabric that takes its name.
The production of the panno casentino started in the mid 19th century, and with time, its manufacturers developed the techniques to give the Casentino fabric its peculiar characteristics: the traditional ricciolo (curl), and the soft hand with an irregular surface.
Originally, Casentino fabric was often dyed in colors we wouldn’t expect to see today; the most typical color was a very bold red. Today, we all know its most iconic colors are bright orange and green, but maybe not everyone knows that these tones were the result of a mistake occurred in the dyeing process!
In this small boutique, you will find every model and color of coats and accessories in Casentino, as well as collections in fustian and cashmere.
Address: Borgo Santi Apostoli 43 R Firenze
Cristina Ferro is an image consultant based in Florence, Italy. You can visit her official website here.