It’s not just a hat, It’s art for the head
executive summary by darmansjah
WANDER INTO the historic neighborhood of San Frediano, just steps from the Boboli Gardens and Palazzo Pitti, and you will find a narrow shop, Cappelli Antonio Gatto. Here, some of the simplest materials-felt,straw-come alive in the hands of Gianni Gatto, a sculptor of hats.
“I discovered my masters in Florence’s little markets, where I found hats by such legendary Florentine designers as Pietro Frnceschini and Gigi,” he says. The fashioning of hats has a long lineage in this city where the Renaissance blossomed; 16th-century portraits show members of the aristocratic Medici family sporting gable headdresses and red caps.
Gatto attributes his inspiration to family members.
“As a child, I would hide under sacred vestments being embroidered by my aunts. Watching their fingers dance on the cloth. I memorized how to do basting stitches.”
Gatto’s workshop, a short walk from the goldsmiths of Ponte Vecchio, is a favorite with style arbiters. Tellingly, he always keeps in mind the person he designs for.
“A hat by itself is incomplete,” he states. “It’s the person who completes it, by wearing it in a certain way, giving it a soul and a personality.”
Cappelli Antonio Gatto, Piazza de’Pitti 5. Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Prices start at $165. www.antoniogatto.com
Antique Silk – Antico Setifico Fiorentino – Silk fabrics-damasks, taffetas-woven on vintage looms continue a craft that first flourished in Florence in the 1300s. via L. Bartolini 4 www.anticosetificiofiorentino.com
Leather Goods – Sculoa del Cuoio – Founded to teach orphans of World War II a trade, the School of leather specializes in bags, belts, and wallets. Piazza Santa Croce 16 www.scuoladercuoio.com
Ornamental Trimming – Passamaneria Valmar – Decorative trimmings for drapes, cushions, and other furnishings fill this one-of a-kind shop. Via Porta Rossa 53r www.passamaneriaonline.it