Florence, Tuscany with its architectural and artistic masterpieces attracts millions of visitors each year.
Florence is considered by many as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but is also renowned for being the city that gave birth to Haute Couture.
The latest trend is to combine art and fashion: for example, an outlet in Reggello, in the province of Florence, has decided to revive its image with a gallery of Florentine and Italian fashionably dressed statues.
When the Fashion Wears the Art
With the economic crisis of the twenty-first century, it became increasingly difficult to finance the maintenance and restoration of Italy’s great artistic, archaeological, and architectural heritage.
Florence recently developed a new system to not only subsidize and promote art, but also revive “Made in Italy”: to marry art with fashion and ensure that one sector helps the other, vice versa.
For example, during the restoration of the Baptistery of Florence in Piazza Duomo in 1957, the scaffolding was covered with a giant scarf designed by Emilio Pucci representing the same Baptistery, but as seen from above. Pucci Monumental is the name of the installation that is a burst of color extending over 2,000 square meters.
Conversely, the House of Gucci has embarked on a project to upgrade a historic artisan company. Richard Ginori specialized in the manufacturing of porcelain. Today, the company is experiencing a renaissance with the financing and collaboration of the fashion house founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence.
Also, the designer Stefano Ricci has decided to fund a project to replace all the lights on the Ponte Vecchio.
Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman of the fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo, has donated 600 thousand euro to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence for the restoration of eight rooms.
The latest idea regarding the marketing and promotion of companies, Arcoretail, consists of reviving the outlet Fashion Valley in Reggello with an art gallery (copies of human size) coated with Florentine and Italian clothes and fashion accessories for sale in the outlet’s shops.The first statue to be dressed will of course be Michelangelo’s David.
Florence, the Capital of Art
The historic center of Florence has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city, with its immense architectural, sculptural, and literary heritage, has the appearance of an open air museum.
The city was at its peak under the dynasty of the Medici family, which ruled the city from 1434 to 1737. During the fifteenth century, the Medici family gathered in its court the best intellectuals, philosophers, poets, and artists of the time.
Here geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci, who painted the Mona Lisa in Florence, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Poliziano, Galileo, Machiavelli, and many others produced their painting, sculptural, and architectural masterpieces.
Consequently, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, the cultural, political, and artistic movement that thrived from the late Middle Ages (XIV) to the Modern Age (XVI).
Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Duomo, Piazza Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Pitti, Piazzale Michelangelo, and the Boboli Gardens are just a few of the must-see places for anyone who visits Florence.
As for museums, the Uffizi Gallery is definitely the main museum in Italy; however, the great masterpieces of world art can also be found in the Palatine Gallery in the Pitti Palace or the Accademia Gallery on Via Ricasoli.
Florence, the Capital of Fashion
It might come as a surprise to some that Haute Couture was born in Florence. Designers the likes of Gucci, Enrico Coveri, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Patrizia Pepe, Emilio Pucci, Ermanno Scervino are all Florentines whose fashion industries have spread throughout the world. Closely related to the fashion world is also one of the fashion accessories made of leather. In fact, in Florence, there is a long tradition of hand fashioned skin and leather. In and around the city there are many schools that teach how to work from skin.
The center of Florence, with its boutiques, designer shops, and traditional outdoor markets, is ideal for those who love shopping.
The most famous shopping street in Florence, which contains luxury hotels, is Via Tornabuoni. For those who do not want to give up the pleasure of quality fashion for fear of spending too much, a few kilometers from Florence is located the Outlet District in Reggello), a destination for tourists who love Made in Italy clothing at half price.
In recent years, however, as in Paris and London, small and large stores containing Vintage Clothing have arisen in Florence, fashion from at least 20 years ago. They are much appreciated by students of fashion designers inspired by historical collections and by tourists who are fashion experts.
Fashion Schools in Florence
The important fashion school Polimoda – International Institute Fashion Design & Marketing, one of the best fashion schools in Italy and in Europe, has its headquarters in Florence.
Also in Florence is the Italian Academy of Art, Fashion and Design, an institute where you can attend courses in fashion design, industrial design and furniture, graphics, photography, drawing, and painting.
Finally, the historic School of Leather, founded after World War II, is located in Piazza Santa Croce.
Fashion Events in Florence
Every year festivals and prestigious fashion fairs that are very important to the international scene take place in Florence. One of these is Pitti Immagine, which is held twice a year (in January for the winter season and in June for the summer) at Fortezza da Basso.
But there are also several related events: dinners, fashion shows, and exclusive parties are scattered throughout the city.
Perhaps the most effective synthesis of art and fashion in Florence is the Galleria del Costume, located in Palazzo Pitti. It’s the only museum dedicated to Italian fashion and its history: here one can retrace the detailed history of fashion as it has evolved over time, with a collection of over 6,000 artifacts including antique clothing, accessories, theatrical costumes and film, and of course numerous examples of prestigious Italian and foreign designers such as Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Gianni Versace, Emilio Pucci, Ottavio Missoni, Martin Margiela.
There is also the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Palazzo Spini Ferroni on via dei Tornabuoni, where is exposed a part of the collection of over 10,000 shoes made by the fashion house Ferragamo, as well as photographs, newspapers, sketches, wooden models of a few feet of celebrities.
Since 2008 Florence has added the Museum Capucci, which focuses on sculpture-dresses designed by fashion designer Roberto Capucci for the Venice Biennale in 1995.
In 2013, the Gucci Museum was inaugurated in the beautiful fourteenth-century building Palazzo della Merchandise next to Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza Signoria.
Further, vintage clothing and armor are on display in the Stibbert Museum. Not far away, in Prato, one can find the Textile Museum, in existence since 1975.
The purpose of this new trend is to combine the learned Florentine love of art with the most venal love for shopping and to contain Beauty in a single glance.