Four imaginative design duos in Florence
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Four imaginative design duos in Florence

Thu 12 Jan 2017 10:24 AM

In a city long celebrated for its inherent abundance of familial artisans—from multi-generational bookbinders to dexterous father-and-son marblers—it comes as little surprise that a new epoch of fratelli creativi is emerging with increasing vibrancy onto Florence’s independent-design industry. Equipped with a penchant for artistic innovation and holding court streets away from the city’s main tourist tracks, the very existence of these professional pairings recalls some of the greatest sibling partnerships found in recent fashion history, from the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte to the Catenacci brothers of DSQUARED2, thus giving the oft-used term “family business” entirely fresh, 21st-century connotations. From individualistic eyewear purveyors to millinery master-craftswomen, their respective aesthetics are as varied as can be imagined. The constant that unites them all is a highly industrious work ethic and a seamless ability to think—and create—outside the box; one which has rightly awarded them an abundance of domestic and international praise.


Michele + Francesca Chiocciolini Michele Chiocciolini

Ph. Michele Chiocciolini

Bona-fide Florentines Michele and Francesca Chiocciolini founded their evocative Santa Croce atelier in 2012, laying the foundations for an inventive handbag label that fuses unique design structures (a probable nod to Michele’s background in architecture) with inspiration points stretching across the globe. Having garnered multiple features in style publications for his timeless Heart Backpack and New York City-inspired designs (Vogue Italia is a notable fan of both), this season’s colourful offerings have found influence far closer to home. Leather bags imbued with the sentiment of postcards variously recall the Chiocciolini family’s village of origin, Castagno d’Andrea, their beloved Florence and Marciana Marina on the island of Elba. Website


Elena + Emiliano Lenzi
I Visionari 

Championing an ethos that encourages consumers to “open your minds, and your eyes too”, I Visionari was conceived by brother and sister eyewear aficionados Elena and Emiliano Lenzi. The former boasts over two decades’ worth of experience working as an eye specialist, while Emiliano’s expertise in website affairs, encompassing graphic design and photography, results in a winning combination quite unlike any other Florentine optician’s. Whether perusing their vibrant selection online or exploring their streamlined San Frediano boutique, one can instantly sense the impeccable attention to detail, internationally resonant outlook and passion for innovative design that permeates each new collection. Trailblazing brand newcomers and established eyewear labels are chosen with equal levels of pride, from the couture-esque creations of Anna Karin Karlsson to Pawaka’s Indonesian shades and spectacles. Website


Ilaria + Veronica Cornacchini + Matteo Gioli  – Super Duper Hats

Ph.Casey Griffin

Super Duper Hats, the brainchild of Cornacchini sisters Ilaria and Veronica alongside Matteo Gioli, may only be entering its seventh year of existence, but these independent milliners have clocked up a considerable number of industry nods (and a rapidly increasing fan base to boot). Concocting a perfect fusion of artisanal heritage and forward-thinking designs, they have visibly spearheaded a rebirth of headgear appreciation, one that shuns any “classical” connotations in favour of personality-filled wares. Their first rise to fame arrived upon winning Pitti Immagine’s “Who Is On Next?” initiative in 2013, a feat that placed them permanently on the radar of Vogue Italia and the late, great Franca Sozzani. In the three years that followed they have crafted thousands of masterful hats in their Florentine studio, employing the highest calibre of traditional methods, and cultivated stockists from Los Angeles to Tokyo and all else in between. SS17 sees their multi-hued collaboration with Vivetta take to the shelves, and then—quick as a flash—to the streets. Website


Daria + Anastasia Zhilyaeva
February 1st 

Even the staunchest of minimalists would have their sartorial beliefs tested by February 1st, an enchanting womenswear label established in Florence by Russian sisters Daria and Anastasia Zhilyaeva. Drawing inspiration from all manner of fairytales and majestic legends, there was never a question as to whether or not the siblings would work together. Anastasia readily followed Daria (her elder by five years) into studying fine arts and later fashion design, with both possessing near-identical tastes in artists and designers. Their creative relationship epitomises the beauty of kinship in the fashion world: a similarity in design preferences and a harmonious contrast in skill sets. Expect a multitude of unusual, ethereal garment details in February 1st’s new-season collection: the dynamic duo have teamed up with Russian embroidery artist Lisa Smirnova, whose kaleidoscopic works are a perfect match for February 1st’s idiosyncratic nature. Website

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