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Feature: Vintage Room: From the world to Foligno and back


A classic marching band jacket

A classic marching band jacket


A trip to Italy proves that there’s always room for vintage love. 


By Amel Gaaloul

Tunis, Tunisia 

 

This summer I was lucky enough to return to a small town I had once visited when I was a student: Foligno, in the Italian province of Umbria. Also known as Italy’s green lung, the region proved to hold many treasures: from architectural vestiges to breathtaking natural landscapes, my trip also featured many exciting and enriching human encounters I have been longing to tell you about ever since my return to Tunis.

 

 

fabulous vintage handbag

Fabulous vintage handbags

 

Glam cat accessory

Glam cat accessory

 

As small as Foligno is compared to megapoles such as NYC, Paris or London, the stories I came across and the languages I had to juggle with during my short stay there suddenly made me feel as though I was at the center of the world. Little Foligno, with its 57,700 inhabitants, had suddenly become the theatre of an international rendez-vous, with people flying in from all over the world for my friend Fiona’s wedding.

 

 

Gorgeous green Pucci dress

Gorgeous green Pucci dress

 

Another brilliant Pucci piece.

Another brilliant Pucci piece.

 

 

Of the many inspiring people I met there, there was Valentina. Dressed in a bright pink tight-waist vintage dress, Valentina was sitting next to me at the table at the wedding lunch and we got chatting. I told her how much I admired her style and the very personal touches she had brought to her look. As the wine and conversation flowed, I found out she runs a vintage shop in downtown Foligno called VINTAGE ROOM.

 

 

Vintage Room owner, Valentina Trabalza and her associate Lilli Porter

Vintage Room owner, Valentina Trabalza and her 'associate' Lilli Porter

 

Classic beaded dress in sunshine yellow

Classic beaded dress in sunshine yellow

 

 

Originally from Foligno herself, Valentina studied cinema and worked in television production in Rome before she moved to Brussels to “explore” herself, as she put it, and throw herself into the unknown, far from the Italian umbilical comfort zone. There she studied the art and craft of jewelry, which she says woke up her creative mind. After travelling some more, and taking on other artistic ventures along the way, she decided to move back to Foligno and open her own space.

 

 

Vintage Room

Vintage Room

 

Eye-catching barbershop-esque jacket

Eye-catching barbershop-esque jacket

 

 

Beautifully described by Valentina herself as “a kind of nest where visitors come in, feel at home and are free to scroll their fingers through all the different times represented by the clothes and accessories on display”, the shop is more than just a vintage store: “My ambition is to give people a chance to be creative, to invent their own style… It’s a kind of parallel world where the hustle and bustle and the laws of fashion don’t exist.”

 

 

Vintage Room

Vintage Room's mannequins brings fashion to life

 

 

Valentina picks the items herself around Europe: Brussels, London, Barcelona… to name but a few of her favorite shopping destinations: “It’s a kind of call… it’s a kind of intuitive moment… When I see something… it’s just right to buy… I imagine the atmosphere around that dress or bag or shoes…and if it feels right i buy…. I also have clients who have requests and the hunting is sometimes ruled by those wish lists.”

 

The display window at Vintage Room

The display window at Vintage Room

 

 

The shop also serves as a stage for punctual events Valentina curates: concerts, vintage songs karaoke nights, jewelry exhibitions… It’s a lively place where History passes through, inviting passers-by to own it or reinvent it.

 

That’s what I love about fashion: it’s not about what you wear or what brands you buy. It’s all about the stories.

 

If ever you’re in the area, go check out Vintage Room for yourself, or visit the Facebook page here.

 

 

Photography courtesy of Nicola Vincenzoni and Daniela Innocenzi of  courtesy of Vintage Room

*

*British-Tunisian born Amel has lived in Tunis for 5 years, where she works in advertising as well as a freelance editor for www.tunisia-live.net. She loves to wander around Tunis in the search of inspiring places and people that make up the new Tunisian scene. 

 

 

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