Chez Dede: Andrea Ferolla and Daria Reina
Chez Dede is a lovely little multibrand shop in Rome. It sells clothing and accessories, books and furniture, including some familiar brands such as P. Le Moult and Camoshita.
However, for me the most lovely thing about the store when we visited was the two founders, Andrea Ferolla and Daria Reina.
That’s Daria above, posing for a portrait outside the store. It was excruciatingly hot that day but she was cool and chic in a perfect shirt dress, slim black sandals and black leather jewellery.
Daria was born in Rome, but grew up in Belgium. “I think I appreciate Rome in a way the Romans sometimes don’t,” she told us. “I see the charm of the city, for example how walkable everything is despite its size - or the beauty all around us. Romans sometimes take all that for granted.”
Andea, her husband, is a well-known illustrator. He’s illustrated for Kate Spade, as well as featuring in galleries in London.
Andrea has a study in the back of the store that is an absolute treasure trove, packed with books and art, paintbrushes and works in progress.
There is also, rather charmingly, an old photograph of Daria propped up against his iMac.
Rather like seeing a designer’s moodboard, sitting in Andrea’s study makes you understand the aesthetics of the rest of the shop.
For example, his watercolours are used as the designs for the silk scarves and handkerchiefs. These are digitally printed but nicely hand-sewn, and I particularly liked one caricaturing the waiters at Pier-Luigi, the restaurant at the end of their road.
Others show fashion sketches and pictures inspired by the history of artists, such as the funeral of Matisse. Originals are offered for sale on the Dede website.
Andrea’s study also serves to reveal some of the couple’s influences, such as old lifestyle advertising and photography.
This drives the design of the products, with bags decorated with slogans or names of hotels for example. This is perhaps less my style, but it’s all part of that aesthetic.
The street - Via di Monserrato - is lovely if you’re visiting Rome, towards the north of the pleasant Regola district. But it hasn’t always been that way.
“This area used to be pretty unknown,” says Daria. “People knew the restaurant Pier Luigi, but that was about it.
“We liked it though, and since we opened [in 2011] Gerardo and Margarita have set up down the road [Giuliva Heritage] and a nice jeweller and little wine bar have opened too.
“In Rome you have to look after little areas like this, otherwise they can get run down quite easily,” she adds. “Romans are easy going - they feel they’ve seen it all before, given their long history, and you saw that with Covid: the city seemed to suffer less than somewhere like Milan.
“But that also means the city has its problems. Citizens have to do their bit and improve things wherever they can.”
Pop in mostly for the people though - for Andrea and Daria, shop manager Isabelle and others. Ask their advice on the products as well as on Rome as a whole.
Even the garden out the back of the shop is worth a look. That’s it pictured below, along with a rather stylish resident in the building behind, and her son who runs it.
Via di Monserrato, 35, Rome
Photography: Milad Abedi