When I mentioned to friends and colleagues I was going to be in Florence for part of my honeymoon, I was told by many "you MUST go the the outlet mall outside Florence." Say no more! When I heard the outlets consisted of Prada, Dolce and Gucci…I was in like Flynn! My poor, new husband knew there was no escaping this task. Thankfully he understood this was important (ahem) research so he held on to his manhood and wallet tight!
The first thing I did when we arrived at our hotel in Florence was ask the concierge, where and how to get to the outlets. (I’m not joking). Considering Italians drive like lunatics, we thought it better (and safer) to take the tour bus. The package we chose would take us to the Prada outlet and then on to The Mall (Gucci, YSL, La Perla, Tod’s, Armani and the like). We would be back by 2pm at which time I told my husband, "we will do whatever you like." Which basically meant…see another church (or "AFC)."
Our first stop was Prada. After years of not being a fan, I am currently of their handbags, shoes and glasses and I love Miu Miu so I was moderately excited. We drove to a small hill town called Montevarchi about 50 minutes outside Florence. In the middle of nowhere is a large white industrial building with no signage, but a big parking lot. We had either arrived or were being taken to our deaths. Had we driven, there was no way we would have found Prada, er Space (as it’s called).
I wanted to take more pictures, but the guards had guns. I was actually very impressed with the layout and sheer number of items available. There was Prada, Prada Sport (mens and womens), Miu Miu and Jil Sander. It was set up exactly like a regular store, only you couldn’t take items from one department into another which made it difficult to show say, your husband what you were contemplating.
Upon further searching and inspection I realized I was seeing items that were at least a year old. In fact, I found a pair of Prada pumps I remembered from Neiman’s two years prior. Furthermore, having a size 39 foot, I was out of luck in most styles. The handbags were the real disappointment. I refuse to pay so much money for nylon and there were virtually no leather bags.
I concluded the prices were still very high (they claim up to 50% off) particularly for Americans while the rate of the Euro is so high. I was going to have to find an amazing deal in order to bite. I left with a nylon makeup bag for a gift for someone in my "Space" bag. Prada proved to be a miss in my eyes.
Next stop: The Mall. Another hill town, but this time an outdoor mall. Located in Leccio Reggello, this looked to be a lot more fun. I headed straight for Gucci. Apparently I was not the only one with this plan. If there were great items to be had, someone else already had them.
I noticed old accessories and apparel at Armani, Marni, Bottega, Valentino and there were not a pair of Tributes or a Muse to be found at YSL. Not that I care so much if items are from a season or two past (let’s face it, I still wear items I purchased then), but to pay so much? No thanks. For example a pair of Bottega shoes from last fall were only 25% off the original price.
Now, where I did see value…was for men. My husband faired better. He purchased a great pair of driving moccasins from Tod’s and pants from Armani. I on the other hand, left with panties from La Perla which at 9 Euros a pair, was my best bet.
Mind you, the Miu Miu bag I had coveted at the store in Florence looked a lot better by the end of the day. They say outlet shopping is hit or miss. While I missed at the outlets, I hit the regular stores.
First group of photos:
1. The Prada Outlet 2. A Miu Miu top 3. The Space bag
Second group of photos:
1. Tennents of ‘The Mall’ 2. The view 3. Armani outside 4. Armani inside 5. Marni 6. I can’t remember.
– Lauren Dimet Waters, Editor-in-Chief