All About Italy (USA) - - Fashion - Kevin Rozario

One can get blasé about new re­tail venues or re­vamps. They ap­pear all the time. But rarely does one of Venice’s great land­marks be­come a shop­ping haven of the type that duty free re­tailer, DFS Group, opened in Oc­to­ber 2016.

The Fondaco dei Tedeschi, dat­ing back to 1222, has a prime lo­ca­tion on the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge and was once a base for the city’s Ger­man (Tedeschi) mer­chants. An ex­cep­tional ren­o­va­tion by Dutch stu­dio OMA, guided by renowned ar­chi­tect and town plan­ner Rem Kool­haas, has breathed new life into the his­toric build­ing. Fur­ni­ture de­signed by Jamie Fobert that cel­e­brates el­e­ments, tex­tures and forms of Venice, has given the in­side as much ap­peal as the out­side. Red es­ca­la­tors and gold fin­ishes cer­tainly pull no punches – they add a wry touch of deca­dence to the re­fined ar­chi­tec­ture. Now called T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, and the first flag­ship store of DFS Group in Europe, the ex­pan­sive shop­ping of­fer cov­er­ing 7,000 square me­tres has had to live up to its en­hanced sur­round­ings. ‘Made in Italy’ and in­ter­na­tional brands have been care­fully cu­rated – it is not burst­ing at the seams with prod­uct… space is a lux­ury here, some­thing Vene­tians know all too well with cruise tourists over­run­ning the town at cer­tain times of the year. It helps that DFS is ma­jor­ity-owned by lux­ury goods con­glom­er­ate LVMH Moët Hen­nessy Louis Vuit­ton. The ground floor is ded­i­cated to Vene­tian and na­tional ex­cel­lence so, as well as Gucci and Bot­tega Veneta bou­tiques, there are cor­ners ded­i­cated to lo­cal ac­ces­sories and jew­ellery, along­side del­i­catessen, wines and gift­ing ideas from top re­gional pro­duc­ers. The AMO by Ala­jmo res­tau­rant oc­cu­pies the court­yard, with dé­cor de­signed by Philippe Starck. The menu from Mas­si­m­il­iano Ala­jmo, the youngest chef ever to gain three Miche­lin stars, rein­ter­prets clas­sics of Vene­tian and Ital­ian cui­sine with a con­tem­po­rary touch. Take the red es­ca­la­tor up to the first floor for woman’s fash­ion, jew­ellery and ac­ces­sories fea­tur­ing Bul­gari, Dami­ani, Fendi, Lan­vin, Max Mara, Tiffany & Co, Valentino and more. The sec­ond floor en­closes an area ded­i­cated to lux­ury watches from Cartier and Hublot, to Omega and Pan­erai. Here, too, is men’s fash­ion from the likes of Bri­oni, Burberry, Ermenegild­o Zegna, Mon­cler and Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo. Woman’s shoes stamp their mark on the third floor with some spe­cial de­signs from René Caovilla, Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, Aquaz­zura and Giuseppe Zan­otti. Fac­ing this space is a full-force beauty of­fer. The fourth floor hosts the skylit Event Pav­il­ion where art ex­hi­bi­tions and a cal­en­dar of cul­tural ini­tia­tives are hosted. From here a ter­race with panoramic view on the whole of Venice com­pletes what many might con­sider an inim­itable shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi on Calle del Fon­tego dei Tedeschi in Venice is open ev­ery­day from 10am to 8pm.


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