I’m not really a Fashionista. In my world view high fashion clothes are for the size 6 and below crowd. Since I am WAY beyond that I don’t even go shopping for clothes in Florence. However, our dear friend Beverly (in the center), who has introduced us to most of the Florentines and expats that we have met here, asked me to join her at the Atelier of her friend Paola Quadretti (on the right. Paula's mom is on the left and our friend Linda is in the background).
Once you use the word “Atelier” you have moved way beyond Nordstrom’s.
Paula’s Atelier is located in the Frescobaldi Palazzo, in the Santo Spirito neighborhood. The Palazzo has many businesses on the ground floor. Paula has an office and showroom; her work room, where the clothes are hand made, is on the floor below; and, she has rented a huge apartment adjacent to her space that she will be renting out. She also has a retail space in Manhattan. Here’s her website if you are in need of unique gorgeous clothes http://www.paolaquadretti.com Paula wanted Beverly to see the apartment since it was just recently re-furbished.
Paula’s showroom is small and understated. It is not meant as a full scale retail space.
Paula was there with her mother who, I am told, assists in the production of the clothes.
We looked through the racks and the photos of the current collection then the real fun began. Paula took us downstairs to the workroom. I didn’t even ask to take pictures because they are working on their next collection and, although I doubt that anyone reading this blog would be running off to her competitors with the pictures, best not to tempt fate when one is doing you a favor.
Even though I am not a Fashionista, I am not immune to beauty. Paula had the most gorgeous, and I do mean gorgeous, fabrics, all in bolts, leaning up against the wall waiting to be made into something wonderful for the skinny rich crowd. She showed us her hand drawn sketches for next year with swatches of the fabric stapled onto the paper. Silks, finest of wools, cashmere, hand made lace. It was really UNBELIEVABLE. It almost made me want to go on a diet to be able to buy something but I would need stomach stapling surgery to get into those clothes. I know that they make things to order, but how embarrassing to have an entire bolt of fabric used for one item when most customers would only use a foot or 2 of fabric to cover their emaciated bodies.
After salivating over the fabrics and gorgeous clothes it was time to see the apartment. The entry door is just steps away from the entry to Paula’s Atelier.
There is a grand foyer and a bedroom with in suite bath on the ground floor before taking the steps up to the main apartment.
One goes through the frescoed foyer leading to the living room and ball room. Yes, there is a ball room.
I’m not sure that we actually need a ballroom, but, it might be nice to have, just in case.
The living room is huge with Frescobaldi original family portraits in triple life size.
There are 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths in the upstairs section.
A master the size of a New York apartment.
The ceiling is a thing of beauty.
The second bedroom was a thing of beauty as well.
Of course there is a kitchen. The help has to have some where to prepare the food. And, if you are renting this apartment, I assume you will have “help”.
The dining room is modestly appointed. I’m sure that it can accommodate more than 6 at the drop of a hat.
So, if you are thinking of coming to Florence and are in need of a ballroom, I’ve got just to spot to recommend.