A place with such beauty brings with it a high standard of personal presentation. While wondering the streets you’re often assaulted with the amount of information you have to visually absorb, and surprisingly this isn’t always from architecture or history.
One of my favourite hobbies is to people watch. I love to analyse what a person is wearing and fabricate a story on that, like what does provoke a person to wear a thick flannel shirt in the middle of summer? Or reading the carefully placed buttons on a backpack declaring chaos on the government. I had plans this weekend to roam about London and gain some style inspiration, but the ‘great British summer’ had other plans for me. So as I’m currently sat here watching ManForHimself’s Street Styled series, I’m reminded of my recent trip to Italy.
Italy has always been a place that is blooming with style, whether that be with the buildings, landscapes, fashion or language, and after spending a week in Bologna, Florence and Pisa, this was all definitely solidified for me. Quite frankly, I was blown away with the sheer beauty of Italy, there are small details everywhere, flowers placed on windows, rustic fixtures that have aged perfectly with the buildings and statues everywhere you look (literally, everywhere). All of this helps solidify an attitude that is truly infectious, and is carried with the up-most pride by everyone Italian you encounter throughout the cities. Something that unapologetically exclaims ‘Yes I am Italian, and we not only created beauty, but we maintain it’.
The Italian influence on fashion has been extraordinary for me. My first exposure to the world of high-end fashion was Gucci, with the infamous red and green stripes across bag straps and belts, I remember thinking that it was a fantastic way to play with colour, and add a certain edge to an outfit without trying too hard to stand out. I knew that when I landed in Italy I wanted to exercise this amazement and explore what the fashion could offer me, so quite boldly I dropped my bags off at my (stunning) air-bnb, and headed straight to the nearest Gucci store. I played this off as an excuse to practice my Italian, I’d be studying for a few months and I’d gotten to a place where I could at least have a very basic conversation, but of course the real reason I was so interested in Gucci was that I was buying an Italian brand in Italy, and they had just released their new sunglasses which are all now made in Japan, and come with the very luxurious velvet case in a multitude of colours. Thankfully the trip was a success, and I managed to score myself a pair of wayfarers.
Of course my time in Florence was filled with art, history, culture and a lot of food, but one of the most notable experiences I had was the Gucci Museum. To be honest I didn’t expect a lot from this, I had already visited the first Gucci store in Florence earlier on that day, and wasn’t impressed as the store is nothing more than a regular store in a historic location, however I was quite surprised with what waited for me inside this wonderland.
This place was full of everything, from bags made in the early 1900’s, Marc Jacobs best collections, and even a car completely customised in a bespoke ‘Gucci package’, and keep in mind this place was 3 floors tall, with about 10-15 rooms in each floor. Luckily I went early on in the day, and it was completely empty, so I really got a chance to inspect the clothes, the detail and the magic that has collectively crafted this beautiful brand. To say I was like a kid in a candy store would be a severe understatement.
Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos of this wonderland, truth be told I’m not sure if you’re even allowed to take the photos, but being able to experience the stark difference between the history of fashion then and what it is now is mind boggling. Most, if not all of the items I saw were handmade, hand-stitched, dyed, cut and constructed by specialist ateliers, whereas now a lot of the items are mass produced and constructed in solid but speedy processes, often leading to a lot of quality control issues, but this is another topic for another time.
All in all, if you’re every wondering about Tuscana, and if you should visit, I would urge you to do it as soon as possible. Everything, and everyone is beautiful, full of life, history and flavour. You really can’t go wrong.