Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Art & Clothes

A few days ago as I was walking home I came across a store window that caught my attention.  Anytime I see contemporary art or unusual clothes I am always intrigued.  But in this case I was even more interested by the idea of both in one space. Art and clothes are essentially my two favorite things in life, so what could be better than a boutique with an art studio or an art studio that also shows clothes? Not much for me.   So I went in and introduced myself to Sheila the owner who is from Denmark to find out a little more about her fantastic shop.  From the moment I met her the passion and professionalism for what she does was obvious. She was very welcoming and eager to share her concept with me and show me around the store.  She talked in great detail about each artist and designer and why she chose their work for the store.
Absolutely adore this look!

The name itself is very straightforward, Art & Clothes is exactly that, but it could easily be called Art Clothes as well. As soon as you walk through the door you can sense not only the quality of the work but also the creativity of the designs at the same time. These are not pieces that will be found on every corner and are for those that see fashion as a form of artistic expression not merely something to wear.  These are pieces that are made with a fashion forward confidant woman in mind who wants something unique and even custom made.

Everything is made by hand by local designers or designers who have once lived in Florence.  The space is both a showroom and a ready to wear boutique.  The work of both Anne-Mari Pahkala and Veronica Spadaro are on display to see and feel but can be made to order in as little as 3 fittings.  And what that means is not only the size can be changed but also the color, the length or possibly even a detail or two.

There is also a ready-to-wear line by Paola Pucci who specializes in recycled and re-used materials to create an incredibly sophisticated style which is casual yet glamorous at the same time. 
There is also a unique jewelry collection on display and again there is an obvious artistic flair to each piece.  Some which appear to be miniature sculptures only to find out that they are actually quite wearable and quite extraordinary, but again, always handmade. Local jewelry designer Sabrina Bovani As well as Indian sisters Preetika and Pika who have combined their formal jewelry design education with their Fashion design education to create this beautiful line of bone and marble jewelry called Pretty Stoned.

The work of a local artist Sabrina Bovani working in metal and found objects is also happy to make adjustments or moderations or even custom pieces made to order. The concept is that even though the artists are creating the designs; you as the wearer are able to make it your own unique, one-of-a-kind piece.

And then there is the other half of the store, which becomes a contemporary art gallery and studio. The paintings on the walls compliment the contemporary clothing on display and at the back of the shop there is a painters studio where you can find Raffaello Mastroberardino working on his own paintings or giving private art lessons to students from all over the world.

As Shelia knows there are not many outlets for contemporary artists in the midst of the Renaissance masters of Florence so her idea is to give them a space where they can show their work. She definitely has an eye for talent and quality, as well as a great sense of style. 
If you are in Florence it is definitely worth checking out. You can find the store on Via dell'Agnolo 50/r or head over to their fabebook page and follow the rabbit! 
The mannequin in the window is always wearing a rabbit head so it will be easy to spot!  As Shelia explained she has become quite obsessed with changing the Rabbits clothes, you can see all of her outfits by 'liking' her facebook page.


  1. What a fantastic fusion of art forms! I wish this was done more often, I love the idea that the viewer gets to experience or at least glimpse the artistic vision that went behind creating pieces rather than just selling items on a hanger.
    Although its slightly different, this is one of the reasons I love the V&A museum in London. Fashion, sculpture, painting, photography, design, islamic pottery etc, are all housed and shown alongside each other, which gives the viewer a far richer visual experience and education. Rather than the cold categorisation of, 'This is Art' and 'This is Fashion' and therefore they must be seen in two separate places.
    Beautiful images as well, and I thought your point about contemporary artists in Florence needing a space to express and exhibit their art was very interesting, It had never crossed my mind. It must be incredibly frustrating for contemporary artists, when the rest of the world comes to Florence to admire its past, while they try to examine the here and now.

    I am really enjoy reading your blog, especially how your opinions and views as an artist effect your writing and subjects.
    best wishes,

  2. Thank you for your comment Jenny! It really is true that we don't usually get a chance to see the processing of the artists ideas unless we intentionally seek it. My mission right now is to explore and write about as much contemporary art/fashion/craft here in Florence as I can find as well as announce any show openings. Hopefully we can create a bit of a 'stir' about some pretty great work that is happening in this city.

    I still have yet to visit London but the V&A museum will definitely be on my list! That sounds fantastic. Thanks for that! I am currently reading a great book dealing with these ideas of 'what is art' and who says so, titled "Rethinking Decoration' by David Brett, very interesting so far, it is amazing how connected it all is yet, you're right, the 'high art world' and the fashion industry do their best to separate it.

    Thank you for stopping by! I look forward to your future comments!


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