Luisa Via Roma (Florence, Italy)


luisa via roma florence
Despite my current city of residence, there's one thing I can identify with more than anything else: living in an area that lacks a huge choice of brands or stores. Having previously lived in places that featured your typical high street stores, a small selection of vintage outlets and perhaps an even smaller percentage of interesting indie boutiques, shopping would tend to get boring... fast. Which is probably why websites like 'Net-a-Porter' have proven to be so successful. Procrastinating at work usually meant browsing such online-stores, because even if you're not looking to buy - it's quite nice to peruse items by designers your local department store doesn't stock. My biggest temptation came when a friend introduced me to Luisaviaroma.com, a website that unlike NAP at the time, stocked goodies by Lanvin, Ann Demeulemeester or Nicholas Kirkwood, labels I had no way of accessing back then. And when the online sales started, I splurged on my very first pair of Lanvin flats (which to this day have gotten more wear than any other I shoes own). It's probably one of the reasons this boutique holds a special place in my heart and why having spent too much time drooling over their online stock, it's always nice to see the actual brick & mortar store that started it all.

luisa via roma boutique florenceThe 'Balmain Bikers'.

Long before the Internet existed, in 1930 to be precise, Luisa Via Roma opened its doors in Florence. Initially a hat boutique founded by Luisa Jacuin, a Frenchwoman married to a Florentine, it was her son who started expanding the business by adding clothes and opening a factory for their production. It is currently still a family business run by Luisa's grandson Andrea Panconesi. Because of its name, most people tend to think the company is based in Rome, but the store name is a result of its location on 'Via Roma', a few steps away from the famous Duomo in the heart of the city. Long known as the Italian capital for ready-to-wear fashion, even Florence wasn't prepared for some of the avant-garde designers Panconesi discovered. One of his favorite stories was how he came across Kenzo in the 70s in Paris, but had trouble getting rid of the items he bought for the store, as his clients just weren't ready for the style yet. Of course these days the business is thriving, not just because of its great selection of local and select international labels (80% of the brands stocked are Italian), but creating an online store in 2000 proved to be a stroke of genius. The web-shop now receives over 40 000 visitors a day: 80 orders are processed daily with average sales of 500 EUR per order. The majority of the consumers are attracted by the more competitive pricing of Italian brands (10-20% lower than in most countries), free shipping and the fact that the boutique tends to offer new-season collections before anyone else.

luisa via roma florence store luisaviaromaThe entrance area featuring a very snazzy bench and lots of cool jewelry, including pieces by Delfina Delettrez (top left), Jade Jagger (lower left), Iosselliani (top right) and Antonini (lower right).

As appealing as online-shopping is though, nothing quite compares to being in the actual store. For one, Luisa has a reputation of having the best shop windows in the city. And as I approached the large archway with two big LCD screens hovering above, I could see why: three very chic mannequins were completely clad in Balmain and hanging out near a motorcycle. The interior was just as luxurious - at least in terms of the pieces you could find. The decor was modern and white, not even remotely resembling a hat shop from the 30s, but because it was buzzing with people and the staff were incredibly friendly, the atmosphere was neither intimidating nor cold. And the first distraction was provided by the glass cases which housed a multitude of beautiful and edgy jewelry, including some amazing pieces by Delfina Delettrez.

luisa via roma florenceThe Rick Owens area.

luisa via roma florenceBalmain (left) and a few overly trendy mannequins (right).

Checking out the merchandise was very pleasant: SAs would keep their distance while you browsed, but the minute you'd turn around seeking help, they'd be by your side. As a constant reminder of their online empire, computer screens embedded into the walls could be found throughout the store allowing you to peruse their website via a touchscreen. I never bothered going online though (I can do that at home), mainly because my attention was caught by the Rick Owens corner near the entrance, which showcased most of his leather jackets and a nice selection of his wedge boots. The adjoining shelf was every Balmain-lovers dream-come-true: more blingy boots than one could possibly take in, and a few of their bags which I found slightly underwhelming.

luisa via roma florenceThe airy main section of the ground floor with a few comfy sofas and lots of thigh-high boots.

luisa via roma florenceAnimated screens ran along all the walls (left) and one of the many shelves filled with shoes & bags (right).

The main section of the store featured a good mix of brands ranging from Giambattista Valli to Alexander Wang. The space felt quite open, probably because of the smoked glass skylight, which allowed a glimpse of the restaurant's garden patio situated a floor above (note to self: don't wear a short skirt when seated there... ). The items one should really be looking for, are the limited edition collaboration pieces designed specifically for the store. These included thigh-high embellished Zanotti boots, a wool & leather Rick Owens jacket, suede Haider Ackermann leggings or a turquoise snakeskin Pauric Sweeney bag. All of these are also available online of course.

luisa via roma florencePart of the shoe corner - this one focused mainly on Louboutin, incl. the lace-up red ones (top right) and jeweled-heel snakeskin boots from Diego Dolcini (lower right).

Shoes were displayed throughout the store - my significant other was quite taken with the black lace-up OTK Louboutins which have been everywhere lately... that is until he saw the price-tag. But if you thought this wasn't enough, there's even a separate shoe corner to satisfy any footwear cravings you may have. The opposite end had what looked like a jewelry department for some of the the pricier pieces. This is also where many of the more luxurious evening dresses were located.

luisa via roma florenceThe high-end jewelry counter (left) and a few beautiful evening gowns (right).

luisa via roma florenceThe first-floor patio/terrace belonging to the restaurant.

To avoid further distraction, the men's department is a good place to go (at least if you're a woman), which can be found a floor above. As previously mentioned Luisa also has a restaurant and coffee bar, which can be a nice place to relax if you've browsed too much. Menswear included more Rick Owens, a lot of Lanvin (including a gorgeous suede jacket) and some funky boots by Gianni Barbato.

luisa via roma florenceThe menswear area, which also featured an impressive selection of shoes.

Heading two floors down to the basement level, I can't say I found anything that tempted me too much, as this is where most of the sporty and streetwear gear was displayed. Anything from multi-colored Moncler puffa jackets to Juicy Couture tracksuits hung from the racks. An entire sneaker wall showcased a nice selection of Converse (including another limited edition model), Adidas and Asics footwear.

luisa via roma florenceStreet- and sportswear in the basement.

My shopping ban prevented me from getting anything and if you manage to leave the store without spending any money, kudos to you, because I can see how women might lose control of their credit cards in a place like this. Of course the one big problem is that even if you do restrain yourself while browsing the boutique, there's always the online-store waiting for you when you get home...

luisaviaromaSome of the limited edition collaboration items available in-store and online (images: Luisaviaroma).

Address: Via Roma 19/21r, 50123 Florence
Opening Hrs: Mon-Sat: 10:00-19:30, Sun: 11:00-19:00
Luisa Via Roma Homepage & Online-Shop

59 comments:

  1. Hey Honey,

    I never seen those red lace up CLs before...Awesome...red leather with red sole...

    Don’t forget to enter Ellington headband GIVEAWAY, Honey!

    X♥X♥

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  2. it looks absolutely amazing! the presentation and variety of brands are spot on -- just something that looks so appealing to me!

    and i want a pair of lanvin flats. i am on the prowl now that you mentioned it!

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  3. it's like everything chic under one roof.
    the shoes corner are to die for!

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  4. Hello to youuu on a late thursday evening.
    Awwwh... so nice to see you do a post about Florence´s most fabulous store ;)
    And guess what... I went never upstairs and didn´t know before they have a restaurant outside!! Aaaaahhh! That´s so typical for me ;)
    LVR has for me one of the best collections but I honestly have also to say that some of their shop assistants are .. I don´t want to say unfriendly... but somehow ..... curious, I remember I was once told trying the last RO jacket (it was such a small size and a too fitted) to loose a few pounds and the jacket should be fine. Thank you ;)

    Had to smile about your chocolate advent calendar and your husband ;) Too cute!!!

    GOOD NIGHT & SWEET DREAMS!

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  5. I just love the window display of the Balmain bikers! I would love to go to Italy one day!

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  6. OMG. Balmain Bikers?! Rick Owens???!!!!!!!! I am printing this post. Amazing

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  7. and this looks utterly amazing xo

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  8. can someone transport me there please.....

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  9. Those red lace up CLs would make me a very happy lady! Wow those are such a great statement shoe!

    I am so jealous of you! Ahhh your travels are incredible

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  10. awesome pics...ahh, thank you soo much for giving me the award...it means a lot to me :))

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  11. That looks like such an amazing store. I love it when sales associates will leave you alone while you browse. It is great that they are then there when you need assistance.

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  12. Ahhh Italy seems like a very nice country . Must be so beautiful :) Love the store dear ! The clothes , the designs , and the shoes ! Haha . Thanks for sharing ! Have a nice day !

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  13. PPh er, I would have found it seriously difficult to resist a splurge!

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  14. I've ordered OTK boots twice and returned them twice. I just don't see that I'm going to wear them often enouogh to justify the expense. My husband is shocked every time he sees them going back to the post office!

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  15. Ahh....you're making me want to go back to visit so bad!! xoxo

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  16. I imagine I could spend ages browsing the Balman and shoe areas. In fact, I'd probably be charged rent - I'd never leave! :)

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  17. Hi there-wow, what a place, both in store and online, you've really given us all a fantastic review and what damage could you do if let loose with the credit cards, LOL-an unlimited budget is what you want here, it looks totally gorgeous! Have a great weekend!!

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  18. Oh I've so been there so fun!!! Love that store
    http://pinacoladakisses.blogspot.com/

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  19. love your blog darling
    keep it up!
    so inspiring, beautiful
    love it!
    thanks for sharing
    and thanks for the sweet comments

    -cma
    check out my blog @
    cosmicaroline.blogspot.com

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  20. Loving your blog! I've been to Florence and it's very beautiful
    -The Trendy Fashionista
    http://thetrendyfashionista.blogspot.com

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  21. SEE! this is exactly why i wish i was a multi-millionaire.

    i want those black boots in the last picture.

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  22. Your blog is always so much fun to come and visit. Thank you for showing, this amazing shop.
    Your Lanvin flats would be lovely.
    This must be like paradise walking around here and yes, my credit card would need to be tucked away, as it would be so tempting seeing all the gorgeous clothes, shoes and bags.

    Happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  23. I enjoyed so much this virtual shopping tour with you in Florence...such gorgeousness!

    Cheers: Evi

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  24. Awesome shop, I really like their online store, not only because what they offer but also because the design...for some reason I think it looks good :)
    Thanks for the pictures, have a nice weekend!

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  25. I've always had a hig opinion of Italian shoes. Your post reinforces that presumtion. The red boots rock!

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  26. Let's write correctly, shall I... sorry about the repetition, but I wanted to correct my mumblings...

    I've always had a high opinion of Italian shoes. Your post reinforces that presumption. The red boots rock!

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  27. congratualtions on managing to keep up your shopping ban - i couldn't do it!!!

    English Rose x
    http://iamanenglishrose.blogspot.com

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  28. nowtakeitorleaveit is back and is waiting for you again :)

    Kisses

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  29. shopping ban would be impoooooosssible for m

    myglitteringcreation.blogspot.com

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  30. looks quite heavenly in there :) hope you're having a great weekend! xo, Mel

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  31. Oh I loved reading this post. I'm a huge fan of Luisaviaroma (although have yet to make a purchase - stupid budgets) but had no idea there was an actual store. Thanks for sharing!

    And I agree about sitting a table to eat - it's just way too formal. I just can't get comfortable and when I'm home, it's all about comfort.

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  32. Wow, I think visiting the brick and mortar version of this store definitely has to be on my bucket list. In fact, I'm inspired. I've going over to the website right now...

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  33. Its so great to see clothes displayed in the shops that I so rarely get to visit!

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  34. love the window display of the bike. who knew bikes could be so chic ; ) thanks for the link ! stop by whenever you like : )

    xx
    Louise
    http://thefwordonline.blogspot.com

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  35. all of these pics make me long to go to italy! :D

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  36. I love Balmain ! the windows are amazing... just like here in Paris !
    Have a great Sunday*°*°*°*°

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  37. Thank you so much for your comment. I think we think alike on quite a few things! This store looks amazing and it is so interesting to read about it. I love that I can find info here that is so hard to find anywhere else.

    xoxo
    Rachel

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  38. wow, absolutely amazing! the windows, that wide variety of brands... love it.
    have a great day, darling.
    xoxo

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  39. Hey there. How are you today? Thanks for your recent comment on my blog. I did have a great birthday. I hope you've been enjoying the weekend. Take care. Have a great week ahead. Cheers!

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  40. -falls over- I can't BELIEVE I was in Florence and I hadn't gone or even seen this store. I was even in the Duomo!! Ah well, an excuse to make a return =) And another reason why Florence has become one of my favorite cities!

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  41. wow all of those stores look amazing! great pictures!

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  42. I don't know why I visit your blog because it makes me way too jealous haha :).. Ahh I love it.. Just wondering do shops ever have a problem with you taking photos of the store? In New York, quite a few places were a bit fussy about it! :) x

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  43. OMG, i must visit this place ASAP!!!!

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  44. I first heard about this store from the byanboy. And then Martina also mentioned it in her Florence post! I didn't get a chance to look at their website until now coz I always assumed that they're way out of my budget! Was surprised to see that the sale items are somewhat *affordable*! ;) Wonder if they're going to take the VAT discount if shipping to the US?

    I agree with you on your previous post. I prefer Florence too (tied with Venice) over both Rome and Milan. And if we get a chance to go back to Italy, we'll stay longer in Florence and hopefully shop at LVR!! ;)

    ...Between this and the Balenciaga in Cannes, my travel/shopping wishlist is getting long, thanks to you!! =D

    Glad to hear your Florence adventure was very relaxing for you. Have a great week!!

    PS - About the blogging blues, I'm sure it'll pass. Enjoy the sample sales!! Holidays are just bad for our budget, haha! =)

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  45. oh.my.god.
    must.go.there!

    great blog i love it!
    -zarna
    http://zarnasrunway.blogspot.com

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  46. Another amazing post, and another amazing adventure for you! I'm so, so jealous of all the incredible places you get to see and the shopping you get to do!

    ♥ Hannah

    ((LONDON--ROSE.BLOGSPOT.COM))

    xx

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  47. I love Italy. What fantastic pictures! :-)

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  48. Dying over the red lace-up boots!

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  49. What an amazing post. It was such a treat to read! I'm a first time visitor to your blog, but its really amazing and its definitely going on my blog roll. The pictures are lovely too! I can't wait to browse through your other posts.
    -Marz


    http://marznoventa.blogspot.com

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  50. Oh, God, have I missed your phenomenal reviews! This is one of the best I think, mainly because Luisa Via Roma happens to be one of my favorite on line sources of high end clothes. They always have fantastic sales at the end of each season, you can also join Luisa Via Roma on Facebook to be updated on everything new. The store sounds even more spectacular. My heart skiped a bit when I saw divine white gown by Givenchy on one of your pictures - I am in love with it for months now!I am currently in the prpoccess on negotiating a deal with Luisa Via Roma to create beutiful hats for the next Fall-Winter season. I had no idea that originaly Luisa Via Roma opened as a hat boutique!I would love to visit and actual store :-) Thank you for an amazing review!

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  51. such a beautiful presentation. would love to go there!

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  52. a really well-thought out store, love the balmain bikers, haha. i've never shopped on the online site before. love the cafe/chill out area. and the thigh high boots... sigh. i don't think i'll ever end up getting a pair but its nice to look at them anyway! xoxo

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  53. i absolutely couldn't live without online stores. not just for blog, but they are my total orientation.
    I didn't know about louisa store. I thought it was just online. well I always learn something smart from you :)
    xoxo
    Nina

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  54. Oh yes, this sounds like my dream store. The jewelry and Rick Owens sections alone are amazing. Love those red lace-up boots too!

    xo, Becs

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  55. You made me laugh with the Margiela book, most of the times he wants to be invisible so it was a success afterall, wasn't it ? ^^

    Oh and with LVR you litterally make me DIE !!

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  56. It is definitely my favourite store in Florence!!! I love love love love it!!!
    and the shop assistents are soooo cute....
    i want to shop at luisa again!!!

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