Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the Street….Old World Retail, Florence

When I walked by this shop in the blazing, late-afternoon sun of Florence, I thought “why does this seem so romantic to me?” I realized that it looks so different to my eyes because, as Americans, we would never see a retailer cover up the merchandise.

We would put some ugly orange gel in the window before we ever covered up the product.

I know it is such a cliche, but it is refreshing to see some things still done the old fashion way, even though I’m sure this place isn’t air conditioned, which is not refreshing at all.


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  1. French Basketeer

    July 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    "Old World" is indeed so refreshing!

  2. Mary Sue

    July 13, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Where I live there are a few boutiques that have blinds in the window that they always put down during the afternoon.

  3. The Photodiarist

    July 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    It may be refreshing, but it's not consumer friendly – but that's I suppose why you find it refreshing:-)

  4. Román Iglesias

    July 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    in Spain happen the same…
    hate this ugly orange paper lol


  5. Anonymous

    July 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    It is all about fabric. That's why I think you find it 'romantic'. It reminds me of the special embroidered square of fabric my mother uses to cover her apple strudels! It's practical yet simple and elegant as well as being respectful of what has been crafted for purchase.

  6. Sarah Dee

    July 13, 2010 at 5:45 pm



  7. Dana

    July 13, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I also prefer the old fashioned way most times.

  8. jayar moten

    July 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    It does have this nostalgic romantic scene type of feel to it. Sort of like it is some noir film love scene back when people referred to women as damsels.

  9. Anonymous

    July 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    There is an ice cream palor by me that still does this on summer afternoons. in NEW JERSEY!

  10. Rhofy Evaldez

    July 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Cute. I love tiny retail shops.

  11. Peachy

    July 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    It's so sweet. And also, white should, in theory, reflect at least some of the heat :-s

  12. ITSOLA

    July 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I think more stores should look like that. It gives a sense of mystery and it would make other more curious of what's inside!


  13. Lee Oliveira

    July 13, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Love Florence. Some of the shops there are so wonderful.


  14. Michelle

    July 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I love the feel of this picture =}.

  15. Alexandria

    July 13, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    That is refreshing and classy! :)

  16. sanmiguelense

    July 13, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    More than anything it is so Fiorentino! Bella!

  17. The Original Swedish Blonde!

    July 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Makes me think of old Hollywood movies… :)

    Lovely picture and writing Mr.

  18. d

    July 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    We do that in Argentina as well

  19. Cazenove Agricole

    July 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Might be a fabric shop…

  20. thwany

    July 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  21. nyc lu

    July 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    i agree, so romantic! and probably hot as hell ;)

  22. John Wesley

    July 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Love the shop, love the photo, and love the truth in Sart's every single word.

    Black edging around drapes is so damn chic!


  23. A Mezcla of Things

    July 14, 2010 at 12:09 am

    So true!
    I'd be so curious as to know what's inside. That's the technique; mystery is alluring.

  24. James Campbell Taylor

    July 14, 2010 at 12:42 am

    I lived in Florence for years without A/C — now I'm subjected to it all day long. At the end of the day it's a relief to leave the office and walk out into the warm wet evening air.

    I'd personally be very happy to live without air-conditioning: the constant temperature changes do terrible things to your skin. I think a lot of Americans are so used to A/C they think they can't live without it. There's no substitute for the cool breeze of an open window, and nothing wrong with a little sweat.

    Love the blog.

  25. L.L

    July 14, 2010 at 1:28 am

    It looks cute, but I admit that I wouldn't go in the shop without being able to know what the store was selling..

  26. Valentine

    July 14, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Very cute and authentic…

    -the diary of a fashion stylist-

  27. Anonymous

    July 14, 2010 at 2:35 am

    i think that in italy we can mix practical and chic in a very unique way…this shoot is the practical chic demonstration!

  28. Alex

    July 14, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Am I totally off base if I say The Sartorialist has done this before, posted a photo of a store where the merchandise is covered? I seem to remember that the other photo was in color, and that the fabric was hanging on the inside of the windows?

    @Cazenove Agricole: It seems to be a shoe store.

  29. Liza Ramli

    July 14, 2010 at 3:48 am

    I'm intrigued by the name 'Tip Tap' and would take a peek. Alsolove the way it's vertical on the narrower side and so well embroidered or stenciled. You can tell this is not make shift but just the way they deal with the sun. Charming!

  30. Antonio_Libero

    July 14, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Here in Italy is often used to put these protective curtains on the windows.. i like black/white photo!


  31. M

    July 14, 2010 at 4:35 am

    I mean it LOOKS really refreshing.
    and good.
    thumbs up for this
    and thumbs up for you for recognizing and blogging this.

  32. Davidikus

    July 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

    It is tempting to see this as old fashioned but in many parts of this world, this is just common practice, if not recent practice. I remember that someone in Singapore started to do it in his (food) shop when I was there and everyone in the vicinity followed. In the US, I have also seen shop windows cover with gigantic posters of the items on sale. Arguably, it was usually during sales, to free up the space used to display items in the window.

    In any case, this brand is rather new, if I am not mistaken, so it's not really an old-fashioned habit.


  33. RahaAzad

    July 14, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I saw this bag and I couldn't stop thinking about all your photos with a bike in them:)


    July 14, 2010 at 5:25 am

    love this picture :D


  35. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    July 14, 2010 at 5:39 am

    gorgeous shot.

    It's so bloody hot in Italy right now. I don't blame the store for covering up their windows.

    I adore the fabric. It makes me more curious about the store than a orange gel would.

  36. Me.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:05 am

    I wouldn't have a care for the heat- All part of the 'old world' atmosphere I think.


  37. Anonymous

    July 14, 2010 at 6:16 am

    It's funny it's like the new D&G's publicity campaign atmosphere.

  38. Bec

    July 14, 2010 at 6:31 am

    I really love the commentary you have made on the last few photos. It really brings out the moment of the photo

  39. l'habitué

    July 14, 2010 at 6:45 am

    I love that someone still notices these beautiful things, it's such a shame that this type of details are disappearing. Thanks for remembering them.


  40. Tha Whore

    July 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

    it's so cute, more shops in the western world should be like this. x

  41. Anonymous

    July 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Thank you…Just lovely…makes me want to move there!…ty…L

  42. esdelope

    July 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

    This is so charming – I so like to think their inside having an Italian Siesta. I also love the ducks out front of the shop.


  43. Anonymous

    July 14, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I love the name embroidered in different ways on each sheet, with the black border. Seems to be a shoe store, called appropriately tip tap. Old fashioned is missing in the world where everything is for convenience and cost effectiveness. It can be horrible.

  44. Jenn Kelly

    July 14, 2010 at 11:32 am

    It makes one want to go in there, so desperately, to see what treasures are inside.

  45. Laurent

    July 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    AH! European flair! Simple, practical solutions that enhance.

  46. a french girl

    July 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    For me, covering up the merchandise means the retailer cares about it and, by the way, about the customer too. That's very delicate.

  47. Anonymous

    July 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    to me this reminds me of how Europeans treat thier work place like their home.

    Like for example the shopowner here is sending a polite message that it is bloody hot and since he has to be there ALL day, he is seeking some reliefe behind these BIANCO sheets….but still open for business….so c'mon on in.

  48. Juan Manuel Trejo Sánchez

    July 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Sart, did you walk into the store?

  49. Lin

    July 15, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Wonderful photo, and I agree very romantic. The little detail my eyes went to automatically before I noticed the windows were covered though were the ducks! Love those ducks, what a nice little addition down there!

  50. AlexandraPearl

    July 16, 2010 at 4:01 am

    It makes you want to go into the shop to see what they sell… very mysterious.


  51. indigo warrior

    July 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    In this visual age, it's the ages-old thing. What we don't see is what draws us in. The mysterious makes us curious. (c:

  52. Anonymous

    July 19, 2010 at 2:49 am

    on a note of pure practicality, hanging curtains outside the window is much more effective in keeping the heat of the sun out… so it's not only lovely design, but also helps cool the shop.

  53. dana

    July 19, 2010 at 7:03 am

    is that embroidery on the sheets?
    imagine: someone must have measured the windows, chosen the right fabric…haute couture for windows. if that is not romantic, what is?

  54. bushbaby

    July 19, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Isn't this to do with some kind of allure … covering something can make it more intriguing … would love to see the uncovered …

  55. Anonymous

    July 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Italian stores are always deceptive – the exterior gives but a hint of inside.

  56. Carolina

    July 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I know so well this place…
    When I was a child, my mother is used to buy my little shoes there…

  57. revamp

    September 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I also like this. The thing that makes it appealing to me is that the fabric is not tacky and its white! which makes it look chic

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