Contemporary vintage collections in Florence


Contemporary vintage collections in Florence

Martine Bonjes

February 10, 2022 – 3:19 pm

Even those uninterested in fashion and design cannot escape the liveliness of Italian vintage in Florence. At almost every corner of every major shopping street, you can see, smell and feel the pinnacle of Italian fashion history. Every second Sunday of every month, vintage lovers shop at the market in piazza Santo Spirito rummaging through piles of tangled clothes, hoping to find a piece of jewelry to complement their growing vintage collection. Scattered throughout the city are several shops whose owners have a clear vision of the objects they would like to sell to customers and those they would prefer to donate or sell to museums educate the next generation of fashion passionate. In doing so, they transcend the title of vintage boutique to become the real fashion museums.

The first leg of our tour is Giratempo. This hidden design store opened its doors four years ago, after many years of selling gems at various vintage fairs in Italy. This little shop is located in piazzetta Calamandrei, where Stella and Cesare will lead you down a narrow staircase that descends into a basement, the walls covered in leather jackets and sequined tops. At the bottom of the steps you’ll find the real showroom: a collection of handmade designer pieces, like a goose-down jacket from Versace and dangerously high stilettos from Pucci. Most of their items are for sale, but there are also some star pieces that Stella stages to seduce French vintage lovers. For example, a small French corset from the early 1900s, which she uses to show her clients the glory days of French design history. Stella is happy to show you the detailed lace structure and vulnerable inner lining of Le Cristal Defusé. Giratempo is a small family business; don’t be surprised to find Pietro, Stella’s brother, showing you around. In this way, the store is typically Florentine: a city where families have ruled for centuries and where Stella and Pietro will rule for many years to come.

Souvenir by Albrici

Souvenir by Albrici

Recollection by Albrici, Medici waistcoat

For those who want to immerse themselves in an era before the 1900s, the exceptional antique shop Souvenir by Albrici in via dei Serragli is the ideal solution. It’s hard to describe this designer paradise as a vintage boutique since it would be more appropriate to define it as a small museum of antique fashion. Not only did Beatrice Albrici, the owner of the shop, bring a large part of her collection to an exhibition on Emma Bardini (1883-1962) at the Museo Stefano Bardini a few years ago, but she also plans to donate several of his objects at Italian Museums of the Future. For example, there is a black dress, which was custom made by Christian Dior for the 18th birthday party of Béatrice’s friend. Beatrice seeks to inspire and educate a new generation of design students and shell out with his collection. One of Beatrice’s favorite items is this antique garment from 1770s France, the time of Marie Antoinette (1755-93). According to the former owners, an intricate handmade floral vest on display was worn by later members of the Medici family. Recollection by Albrici focuses primarily on Italian haute couture. The heyday of the Italian fashion industry took place between the 1950s and the 1980s, with names such as Valentino, Ferragamo and Pucci reigning supreme. It is easy to find the labels and creations of these designers, their pieces taking center stage in the window or displayed on the countless mannequins. According to Beatrice, the creativity and design motifs intrinsic to Italian fashion designers declined sharply after this period. In the 1970s, when Beatrice was growing up, the industry quickly felt the effects of American style, which had seeped into the Italian clothing industry as the fashion industry went global. Italian ragazzi no longer wanted the polished Italian look, but yearned to emulate the freshness of the American schoolboy. It wasn’t long before they were walking around in a pair of baggy blue denim jeans and a pair of aviator sunglasses propped up on their noses.

The Buttero Vintage

vintage butter

The Buttero Vintage in Mercatino delle Pulci

One way to end your vintage hunt is to stop at the colorful shop The Buttero Vintage in Mercatino delle Pulci. Daniela loves the colors, smells and frivolity of the 1970s and she remembers the smell of her first vintage hunt when she was 15. Daniela was inspired by the different regions in which she lived, from Piedmont to Sicily and central Tuscany, where she resides today. . Although Daniela’s greatest passion is the history of newer design, her shop offers an extraordinary pair of Victorian shoes and 1930s embroidery pieces. Be warned that you will need deep pockets to buy these clothes: their final destination could be in a museum.


The owners of these vintage shops/design museums have the power to teach a new generation of art historians and design students about the origins of the fashion industry. An example is RAGAZZ, whose Florence-based label focuses on women art and design collectors and tells their stories. According to the managers of the brand, the collectors and owners of these Florentine vintage shops can be seen as contemporary cultural mediators between the fashion industry and the cultural heritage of museums. It shows that women play an active role in all kinds of artistic disciplines, such as buying, selling and collecting. Telling their stories puts these inspiring women in the spotlight and will thus strengthen the fourth wave of feminism.

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