Rome’s historic artisans
Stroll through Rome’s centro storico and it’s easy to be captivated by the beauty of incredible sites like the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Fontana di Trevi, not to mention the more than 900 lovely and majestic Roman chiese (churches) and basilica to explore. And strewn throughout the historical city centre are the artisanal Italianissimo shops which make Roma so unique, many with a legacy firmly woven into the city’s rich history. These Historic Shops of Excellence are interspersed with other like-minded family-run businesses which have been around for centuries and passed down through generations.
The front of Schostal’s boutique in Rome, in the elegant Via Di Fontanella Borghese
Schostal’s and sartorial elegance
Located a short walk from Basilica San Lorenzo in Lucina and the historic café Ciampini, Schostal 1870 is one of those traditional, quality artisanal boutiques that for 150 years has gently held its place amongst some of Rome’s most elegant merchants. Tucked into Via Fontanella Borghese, the bottega storica romana (historic Roman workshop) is unique to the Campo Marzio neighbourhood, joining other celebrated Roman businesses in the rione (neighbourhood). The store offers beautifully hand-crafted nightwear, dress shirts and knitwear for men and women, along with gentlemanly necessities including ties, handkerchiefs, intimates and hosiery.
“We create items for those who seek a classic and timeless style. Classics have no time”– Andrew Bloch Fiorelli
A family business
Impeccable Italian style is at the heart of this Made-in-Italy family business, which was recently passed down to Andrew Bloch Fiorelli, the 4th generation to assume the role of owner and general manager. A must go-to for many, the likes of Harry Styles, director Wes Anderson, dancer Benjamin Pech and Il Signore di Italianissimo himself, Roberto Sciò frequently pass by to stock up on much-loved items, such as pyjamas, as does much of the Sciò family. With a high number of return clients (a steady log of measurements is regularly updated), it is also often a stop upon arrival or pre-departure for many international travellers visiting the Eternal City.
Impeccable Italian Style
“We create items for those who seek a classic and timeless style. Classics have no time,” notes Fiorelli, a young man himself. The shop also specializes in restitching timeworn cuffs and collars, as well as traditional monogramming. Other sought-after products include refined work socks woven with filo di Scozia (Lisle Cotton Yarn) and fetching men’s boxer shorts. A few years ago, they began offering kids and baby items including multi-generational pyjama styles and they’ve had a recent boom in “work from home” pyjama sets and robes.
While offering the utmost in classics, the shop recently began innovating their staple knits to entice a younger, more contemporary audience. Modernizing a look involves small touches like removing a chest pocket on a cardigan or trimming a bottom cut, along with choosing colours and materials which appeal to a more youthful generation. “The launch of the square tie, fashionable and elegant, is a bit younger and sportier,” explains Andrew. “Most were used to the traditional silk tie.”
The History of Schostal
As Fiorelli and his team design for their 21st century clientele, they remain rooted in the store’s historic past. Founded by two Viennese brothers, Leopoldo and Guglielmo, they opened their store, Schostal, in the heart of Rome in 1870, right on the cusp of the Risorgimento and Italy’s unification. While the shop enjoyed a great following, the Austrian Jewish brothers were forced to flee Rome prior to WWI and passed the shop along to their manager, Lazzaro Bloch, who was also Jewish. With the arrival of Mussolini’s dictatorship and the enforcement of strict racial laws, Lazzaro’s son Giorgio inherited the shop and convinced authorities that the word “Schostal”, though deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, was really an acronym which stood for “Societé Commerciale Hongroise Objects Soie Toile Articles Lainage” (Hungarian Commercial Company Specialized in Silk, Canvas and Wool Articles). Giorgio’s quick thinking and name change on his id saved the family business.
While the shop remained closed for two years during WWII, they avoided having to transfer the shop’s title unlike many other Jewish shop owners in Rome. As Andrew recalls, his grandfather passed on the kindness to his clients. “My grandfather was focused on price and relationships with customers,” he notes. “He was adamant about giving a respectful price to clientele and reopened with pre-war prices while every other store did post-war prices due to inflation.”
21st century Schostal remains true to its earnest philosophy of hospitality and elegance as well as its original Via del Corso shop design, which the family of warehouse-like inventory presentation, where shelves and boxes of shirts, socks and accessories line the walls. Unpretentious and timeless, clients are taken care of as soon as they come in and everything is at the ready, available for clients to peruse. “Some are inspired, while others have never seen a concept shop like this,” says Andrew.
ISSIMO x Schostal
Schostal’s collaboration with ISSIMO focuses on items which reinvigorate the brand with a more youthful approach and appeal to women, as well as a younger clientele. The partnership has culminated in the design of a timeless unisex night shirt, with a smaller fit and size to account for women and a bit more casual with two pockets. Available in ochre yellow with white stripes or soft tobacco with Bordeaux line piping, the night shirt can also be used as a fun beach cover-up. For a chic beach outfit, add your favourite accessories including a stylish belt, a sprinkling of jewellery, and your much-loved sandals, grab a beach bag and Andiamo (go)!