Italy is a country known for its artisans, especially in the world of footwear. The country has birthed some of the industry’s greatest names, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod’s, to name a few, but a new wave of artistry is emerging, one of more edgy, contemporary design, yet with the same savoir flair and respect for the heritage of its shoemaking predecessors. At the forefront of this new footwear revolution is GIABORGHINI, a brand that looks to the future with its cool, yet comfortable, designs bursting with creativity and avant-grade. At the helm is founder and creative director Barbara Borghini, who founded the company in Rome in 2016, to not only to create striking footwear, but to create a company based on empowering women and the community. Today, most of its workforce is women, and the brand has gone from strength to strength, including dropping limited collaborations with the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Today, Barbara calls the beautiful city of Florence home but spends much of her time travelling the globe. Read on for her stylish guide to Florence, the perfect GIABORGHINI pieces for travel, and what’s always in her suitcase…
You were born in Rome, but where is home for you?
I was born and raised in Rome, but now I reside in the spectacular Florence – a historian of beauty and excellence in artisanry, especially for shoes.
If someone wanted to visit Florence, how would you sell it to them?
I would tell them it is a spectacular city, rich in history and very unique. Two incredible landscapes are fused together: the historical city, that of the Renaissance period and the nature one, that of the Tuscan Countryside, where you are immediately reconnected to nature.
If someone had 24 hours in Florence, where would you send them?
To the Uffizi to see the Primavera by Botticelli. I’d also recommend they take a stroll from Piazzale Michelangelo to the church of San Miniato – the most breathtaking view of the city. Shopping on the left bank of the city is also a must, “Oltrarno zone”, where all the artisans and antiques are, followed by drinks at Giardino Bardini and dinner at Atelier dei Nerli. If you have more than 24h hours in Florence, then take a trip to the Chianti-shire road and enjoy the incredible Tuscan Countryside.
What is a hotel you’ve stayed in recently that’s completely wowed you?
The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida – I adore the architecture and the specific pink nuance they have used. The hotel has been a destination since 1947, when it first debuted in Palm Beach’s post-war construction boom. It was a favourite with Judy Garland, Lena Horne, John Lennon, Sophia Loren, and Frank Sinatra, so there’s a real feeling of old-world glamour.
GIABORGHINI is all about empowering women and showcasing the best of Italian craftsmanship. Why were these factors important to you when launching you brand in 2016?
Women have always been my primary source of inspiration. Every woman has the ability to adapt, renew and be versatile in all circumstances of their life. I find the innate nature of women so intriguing because it varies so vastly. Through GIABORGHINI I will be able to give voice to many women, including the ones who do limited collaborations with the label, like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, that sign their limited edition to the precious hands that make them. 80% of the GIABORGHINI workforce is women, making an engine that is at the same time, the inspiration and the fulfilment of this desire.
What are some key pieces for a summer wardrobe from GIABORGHINI? Do you have a favourite piece or style for travel/vacation you can’t travel without?
The GIABORGHINI Perni 11 in black leather is perfect for the flights through to the whole vacation – whether it’s relaxing or city sightseeing. My other summer wardrobe must-haves include; Costume Livy L’Atelier, Maxi Straw Bag by Alaia and T-shirts by James Perse.
What’s first in your suitcase when you’re packing? What pieces can you not travel without?
The GIA shoes, of course, and then sunscreen!
Do you have an in-flight (or mid-travel) routine?
What’s in your handbag?
The Solar Infusion Cream Bronzer by Rose INC is my go-to – it’s the perfect tool to look always naturally bronzed and fresh. I also always have Hourglass lip pencil, silk hair ties by Slip and my iPhone charger, of course!
Where’s on your travel list this year? Any new destinations or old favourites?
Noto in Sicily, I go every year – I love the Baroque architecture. Then I went to Capri for my friend Silvia Tcherassi’s opening of the new boutique. August I will be Sardinia, for me, it’s the best seawater. At the end of August, I will go to Comporta (Portugal) to relax and stay more in the wilderness. I would love to go to India for the winter holidays
Where is a destination that you visited and fell in love with?
For work, I love Paris, where I spend almost half the time now. It is so charming; it feels like a second home. I love going through the antiques, the cafés and shops there.