A sense of style is vital to Tuscans, who take great pride in their dress and appearance to
ensure their bella figura (good public face). Dressing impeccably comes naturally to most
Tuscans and for most Florentines, chic is a byword. Indeed, it was in their naturally beauti-
ful city that the Italian fashion industry was born and bred.
Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo got the haute-couture ball rolling in the 1920s
with boutiques in Florence. And in 1951 a well-heeled Florentine nobleman called Gio-
vanni Battista Giorgini held a fashion soirée in his Florence home to spawn Italy's first
prét-à-porter fashion shows. The catwalk quickly shifted to Florence's Palazzo Pitti, where
Europe's most prestigious fashion shows dazzled until 1971 (when the women's shows
moved to Milan). The menswear shows stayed put, though, and top designers still leg it to
Florence twice a year to unveil their menswear collections at the Pitti Immagine Uomo
fashion shows and their creations for bambini (kids) at Pitti Bimbo.
Tuscany continues to inspire fashion and the fashionable. Take American actor and
dandy John Malkovich, who chose the Tuscan town of Prato to create his designer fashion
label Technobohemian ( www.technobohemian.it ) .