On a quiet corner of the Sant Ambrogio district is a shop rather unexpected. Through the simple glass doors of Société Anonyme is a fashion hub of European brands offering contemporary looks not usually found in Florence.

The store is also very deceptive. Once inside, the first part of the showroom is brimming with the stores own Société Anonyme label, rows of  garments made in Florence under the design talent of storeowner Massimiliano Giannelli. These garments sit alongside an array of labels from France, Belgium and the U.K. to satisfy any fashion lovers buying desires. But then you discover the rooms go on, and on, into another clean, white space full of fashion treats to own. Société Anonyme is a space to explore. 

Established in 1999, Société Anonyme could easily be found on the streets of Berlin or the East End of London. But here it is, on a quiet street in east Florence with brands to suit all wallets. From Topshop to Kenzo, Maison Martin Margiela to Comme des Garçons, there is something for everyone depending on your taste.

Massimiliano was one of the first students at Polimoda during its inaugural year in 1986. This fueled a passion for fashion that has seen him create not just his own brand but also an international showroom of labels for sale. Four times a year he visits Paris for the trade shows and twice a year to London. For his own label, inspiration comes from Japan and Belgium with clean lines, loose fitting shapes and volume not normally seen in Italy. In a country of classic tailoring, low crotch trousers aren’t the norm.

Massimiliano isn’t against a classic look but he tells me during the 1980’s Florence fashion was much more liberal with a passion for individuality which now is hard to find. Florence was the fashion capital before Milan took the title, back in the days when big name design houses came to Florence to show their collections. Today, he feels, fashion is more uniformed and the shop fronts generic. So at Société Anonyme he has created a concept store to encourage individuality. 

The stores eponymous range of easy wearing yet tailored men's and women’s clothing sits perfectly with their ankle boots and a recent handbag to add to the portfolio. The use of wool including tweed features heavily for the current season with 1940’s inspired trousers and skirts for women and a denim range for men plus sweaters made from soft lineapui wool yarn in vibrant colours, perfect for the coming winter months.

Beyond clothing the store also features accessory brands with bags from Côte&Ciel of Paris whose rucksacks are designed to fit smartphones, tablets and laptops in stylish architectural shapes. While FREITAG use recycled truck tarp repurposed to create stylish backpacks and messenger bags. There are also sunglasses to try, alternative shoe brands displayed alongside suitably styled clothing and even cologne on sale too.

As for interiors, the store has an industrial feel: clean, sparse and white with lots of natural night. Concrete floors, metal clothing racks full of garments, neon lights and untreated wood walls give an airy feel and a create a sense of flow to the rooms to navigate what’s on offer.

In a city than some feel has lost its fashion edge, Société Anonyme is proving otherwise, keeping the independent spirit alive in this corner of Sant Ambrogio, Florence, and Massimiliano's own design talent showcasing Italian fashion can be created beyond the classic lines.

Words: Nardia Plumridge

Pictures: Sofie Delauw