The minute you meet Marco Meacci of Dexter you know what’s in store. A dapper gentleman, equal part smart and stylish, he oozes 1940’s fashion flair. The fitted waistcoat and tailored jeans slightly rolled to show tan leather Oxford shoes, if I wasn’t so sure it was 2014 I’d feel I was in Florence of a glorious past.

Marco is the brain behind Dexter, a small fashion space near the bridge of Ponte Santa Trinita, full of Italian made clothing for men and women. For Dexter only houses Italian brands, many taking on a vintage twist with a design nod towards the 1940’s and 1950’s. Yet the collection of denim, checked shirts, waistcoats and felt hats filling the cozy store are anything but old.

Having an international background in the fashion business the collection at Dexter reflects Marco’s personal style. Starting his career at OLIVER in 1980, at the time the go-to clothing store in Florence, he later took the post of head of men's department at RASPINI, the Florentine fashion company established in 1947.

But it was time abroad in Seattle, USA, as style and textile consultant for Union Bay Company on their RE-UNION brand and then working with Japanese designer and stylist Yohji Yamamoto which really developed Marco’s own style ideas. Yamamoto is not only a master tailor but also an artist having collaborated with the legendary German director Wim Wenders.

After years of working for others Marco decided to “open my little own boutique” as he puts it in 2009. Today Dexter’s Italian made brands grace the rails: Tela Genova, whose jeans are made in the Marche textile district, make up the large denim selection with detailed cuffs and optional braces; shirts by Milan-based, Deperlu, offer soft flannel cotton pieces easy to dress up or down depending on the occasion.

For women, Alysi, a Roman designer, whose collection of bold patterns on silk tops and cotton trousers make for a clashing statement look. Phisique du Role, a Florence label creates basics including simple t-shirts plus skirts made from sweat pant fabric. Then there are hats by Stondo Firenze and a collection of beaded jewellery from local artisans housed in a wooden display cabinet.

Marco is working on his own label that will launch in 2015 with a men’s collection, so the number of Italian designers in store will continue to grow.

Jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon inspired the store’s name, a musician of the bebop era and arguably the ideal musical accompaniment to the clothing styles hanging on Dexter’s shelves: classic, stylish, a little smooth. Within this small space on via Maggio it’s easy to be drawn in by the fashionable fabric and stylish items folded on wooden shelves. It’s clothing to create a personal fashion statement of your own. 

Words: Nardia Plumridge

Pictures: Sofie Delauw