Venice, Italy–Since 1901, the Longo family has been making hats for not only the throngs of pilgrims who flock to this city for its architectural treasures, but also for the locals. Giuliana Longo, heir of a long-standing female family tradition, is the soul of this place. She creates all different kinds of hats for the store or bespoke for clients. Here you can find Panama hats directly from Ecuador, and the official gondoliers’ hats (They only wear her creations!).
“My hats are one-of-a-kind creations,” Giuliana Longo told BACO in her eclectic store on Calle del Lovo, just a few steps away from the famous Rialto Bridge.
“They are made with the best materials you can find on the market. I make everyday hats and wedding hats. I have clients that come to my shop for bespoke hats for a special occasion or to celebrate the carnival.”
Longo has operated this shop/workshop since 1969, and takes care of an international clientele. Once a year, she goes to Ecuador to find the best panama hats on the market. “I think I’m the best in Europe for Panamas,” she said. “Here you can find even an extra-fine hat that weighs only 30 grams.”
“I look to the street trends a lot,” explained Longo. “I’m able to sniff times. Every now and then I go to Paris, and I often begin creating directly from the materials. I always try to have high-end materials: feathers, flowers, silks and Venetian brocade. Even Louis Vuitton likes my hats, and they put my shop in their guide.”
She uses materials that range anywhere from string to precious silks, rabbit felt to velvet, and exotic straw to special Florentine straw. She makes the hats in her studio on the upper floor of the shop and recruits local artisans on special requests, like flowers or feathers.
For Venice’s famous Carnival, Longo has a unique approach.
“This is pure fun. There are no limits on colors or shapes, and we can go wild. People come here knowing that they can find original and one-of-a-kind pieces.”
Her bestsellers so far are the felt hat with a large brim and the deconstructed hat that you can put in a bag. “Once, the hat should have stay on the head. Now, the hat should remain in a bag and then on a head”.
RETAIL PRICE: From the 20 euro round hat to the 3000 euro of an extra-fine panama hat. Bespoke from 150 euro.
WHERE TO BUY: Giuliana Longo, Calle del Lovo, 4813 Venezia www.giulianalongo.com