Filistrucchi 1720 Florence
Established in 1720, it is the oldest shop still existing in Florence. Passed down from father to son up to the present day on a continuous basis as well as being in the same place for 301 years. For this reason the Filistrucchi have received the recognition of both Master Craftsmen, Bottega Storica and Bottega Scuola.
At that historical moment the barber was also a wigmaker, apothecary, “tooth picker“, phlebotomist, perfumer, hairdresser and make-up artist for both women and men. This was the time when the wig was used by nobles, ladies, knights and servants. To get a historical idea of the work done by the shop in that period we can think of Figaro.
At the same time the theatrical needs saw the presence of the Filastrucchi in the most important theaters in the world: the Teatro alla Scala, the Municipal Theater of Florence and Bologna, the San Carlo, La Fenice, the Petruzzelli, the Teatro di Genova, the Piccolo di Milan, and again the Metropolitan Theater of New York and the Boston Opera. Many and varied were the great personalities of the theater and not with whom they worked from Maria Callas (who wore a wig by Filistrucchi in the Opera Lirica Medea) to Luciano Pavarotti to name but a few.
The secrets of the ancient craft, the wig tradition and make-up have been handed down from generation to generation and still today, using new and modern techniques, they are able to create precious products of high quality craftsmanship and remain, for the greats of the show and beyond. , the reference point par excellence.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Gherardo Filistrucchi, the 9th generation of the family:
In all these years you have dressed and made up many characters. Do you have any anecdotes that you remember with pleasure?
There are many anecdotes and we always remember them with great affection.
Speaking of makeup, how have fashions and techniques changed?
Makeup and cosmetics have made, and are making, giant steps. The fashion for everyday make-up is always in constant evolution, also thanks to, I believe, social media which, being fast, are also carriers of sudden changes. For the techniques we too have always adapted to the new types of materials that the cosmetics houses produce according to the final scenic result; An example is the silicone with which masks and prostheses are produced for cinema and television.
Over the centuries wigs have changed in style, use and quality. Nowadays what are the characteristics that distinguish a product of “high quality”.
As for wigs, they have changed in style and use according to historical eras. The high quality handcrafted wigs are characterized by the use of first quality materials (such as cotton and / or silk) for the realization of the cap (the base of the wig), and specially chosen and selected first quality natural hair. This, of course, must also be combined with craftsmanship.
You are not the only laboratory and shop, but also a school and historical archive. Among all the materials you keep, which do you consider the most precious?
I believe that our historical archive, like all historical archives, is important as it tells the history and tradition of the business. From our archive, inventoried thanks to OMA Osservatorio dei Mestieri d’Arte, it is possible to breathe both a cross-section of the working life of the workshop and a cross-section of the world of entertainment. Our business is also a school shop, recognized by the Tuscany Region, a place where you can learn the secrets of the ancient trade just as it used to be: in the shop.
What can I say, heartfelt thanks to Mr. Gherardo for all the passion and professionalism dedicated to this art for all these years.
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to go back to Florence to visit them and have them do my make-up to perfection !!!