A Fashionista's Guide to Italy
Tue Mar 2014
Fashion finds its home in Italy, through the awe inspiring art and architecture, stunning natural scenery and careful reservation of historical landmarks. Combined, these features have served to inspired generation after generation of fashion designers and enthusiasts.
It is Italy’s cities which hold the greatest inspiration for fashionistas of all tastes, through street style and the range and diversity of stores and boutiques on offer.
Holiday-makers looking for influence for their next collection, more than a few shopping opportunities and a peek into fashion history would be served well by a trip around Italy’s greatest cities.
As the massive capital of Italy, Rome is a hub of fashion of all styles. The filthy rich and fabulous mix with student style; tourists bring influence from across the world while even Italian military uniforms and religious dress look nothing short of stunning.
Set against the Romanesque architecture and landmarks the city is famous for, it can often feel as though you are walking through a great piece of art. Classic style in the form of fur coats, knee-high boots and huge designer sunglasses are the timeless uniform of the city, while the younger population bring an element of high-fashion punk into the mix with cheap band t-shirts worn with structured denim and distressed leather.
The high fashion shopping opportunities are almost limitless in the city. The likes of fashion veterans Fendi, Valentino and Bulgari all originated in Rome and as a result the city is home to their flagship stores. The area surrounding the Spanish Steps is best known for designer fashion, with Prada, Armani, Versace, Gucci, Chanel and countless others presenting their pieces within the flawless boutiques.
Of course, high street, independent and flea shopping is available in massive abundance for those looking for a truly original piece to wear at home. Via del Corso is a mile-long street with several side-streets hosting a wide variety of high-street and mid-fashion stores such as Diesel, along with several of Italy’s finest department stores.
The Porta Portese is one of Europe’s most celebrated flea markets and any fashion lover cannot afford to miss it. Based in the southern area of Trastevere, there is quite literally everything on offer. Home wear, clothing, art work, jewellery, antiques and much more can be found at amazingly low prices, meaning everyone can afford to take a piece of Romanesque style home with them.
The simply astounding city of Venice is an amazing place just to look at. The daring structure of the city should be enough to convince you of the determination and sheer confidence of those who produce some of the world’s most daring fashion and art living in the area. The city is visited time and time again by the world’s top designers as inspiration, with the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, Dior and even Rolex finding inspiration from the primped streets, outlandish art work and, of course, the water-filled streets.
Much like the city itself, the Venetian designers combine their classic Italian design with daring modernism and contemporary twists. There is a definite colour palette that runs throughout the majority of Venetian style; forget garish boldness and instead opt for opulent depth in gold, red and plum.
Godi Fiorenza is perhaps Venice’s prime high fashion boutique from designers Patrizia and Samantha Fiorenza as they epitomise the classic style of the city. Silk meets wool in daring dresses whilst their inspiration includes teddy bears, ruinous buildings and men’s tuxedoes.
For those looking for something a little different, Banco Lotto 10 is a non-profit boutique which features the high quality wears produced in a women’s prison in Giudecca. The garments are of an incredibly high standard and made with the finest materials on offer in the city, while every euro spent goes back to the prison to further the women’s training and reintegration.
Any budding designer should also visit Luigi Bevilacqua, the fabric store founded in 1499. Its wears are legendary the world over thanks to the range and quality provided here. The store itself is beautiful with warehouses and showrooms open to the public and luxurious material such as velvet, silk and satin on offer.
What the bloggers think:
Karen, Blogger @ Scarlett Fashion
“Rome is perhaps my favourite city in the world. Putting aside the splendour of the historic surroundings, I adore it for it diversity in Fashion. In Rome, there really seems to be no boundaries. You are free to express yourself with what you wear.
Italians are so overtly ostentatious, with their very bold style. They have few reservations when it comes to clothes. With Rome being one of the main fashion hubs in Italy, the city is just a catwalk for every Italian. They love to be watched and they are great to watch.
Rome is also an amazing place to shop. Many would think that it is expensive, but I found the clothes remarkably reasonable. You can fantasise in the Prada, Guggi or LV window, but there are also some beautiful shops that are the same price, if not cheaper than the UK. I recently bought a beautiful handmade leather holdall in Rome, it is now my lifelong friend.”
Maria, Blogger @ Fashion Infatuation
“Once you’ve found your way to Saint Mark’s square with its Italian Gothic architecture basilica made with beautiful gold mosaics, you’ve also found your way to the posh area of Venice. This is where you’ll find the fancy shops of all famous Italian designer brands such as Prada and Fendi, but also exquisite French fashion such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
Although these Italian and French fashion brands are very sought after in the whole world, I feel as if you can get your hands on these designer pieces anywhere. The shops are beautiful and worth a visit, but what you really want to do when in Venice is vising all the independent fashion boutiques. Again, you really can’t use a map for this, but just enjoy a stroll around the picturesque streets and you’ll be sure to come across more than a handful of them.”