Don’t be blinded by that fashion capital Milan, remember that Florence has also birthed many a fashion icon including shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli and Patrizia Pepe. To pay homage to these leaders of design there are two excellent museums to visit.
- Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Pizza Santa Trinita, 5. The museum is state of the art full of touch screens. The information is timeless: such as how to make a quality shoe from start to finish. And Ferragamo’s researches into design and innovation, his patents for that infamous 1970s cork wedge etc are fascinating. There’s a small entry fee but the money goes to a scholarship for the next generation of designers. The price for a pair of Ferragamos is a little higher but your feet will thank you.
- Galleria del Costume, Palazzo Pitti. One of the galleries at the massive Pitti Palace, this has 6,000 pieces of clothing from the 16th century on. You’ve seen how the Medici lived and the art they commissioned, now you can see what they wore while enjoying their splendors – and when they died: their funeral clothing is here. Seeing it all in the magnificent rooms they inhabited is a bonus, as is the entrance to the fabulous Boboli Gardens which is included in the ticket price.
Now that you’re inspired, you could enroll at Polimoda, Italy’s top fashion school which is in Florence, or you can head into the designer shops and splurge or to the markets for some of the more affordable leather goods for which Florence is so famous. Close to the central Mercato Nuovo (New Market) La Rinascente department store has a great range of designer fashions, some of them actually affordable.