LA Lessons with Davide Baroncini

By Drake's

Jun 7, 2024

LA Lessons with Davide Baroncini

Away from Rodeo, Fairfax and Melrose, Davide Baroncini decided to set up his own Italian idyll inside of an old shopping arcade in San Marino, a sleepy corner of Pasadena. If you have to go to work every day, you might as well make it somewhere beautiful. 

“Early in the morning with the sun cutting the trees, it looks just like an old movie in here,” says Davide when we meet on a sunny morning, the sun cutting through the trees, giving the neatly-manicured streets shaded by citrus trees a decidedly cinematic feel. “San Marino, it’s not a fashion pocket of LA, it’s definitely unconventional for a retail location, but there is so much beauty around us, it did work for the brand.”

“I always feel the ghosts of the past in LA,” says Davide, who moved to the city in 2018 and lives nearby, in the house that his wife grew up in. “I like that feeling, the city kept a bit of the golden era of America, and of course of Hollywood, so as an Italian kid, LA was always closer to the idea of the 'American Dream’ I always had from watching movies with my mother. I spend 90% of my time in Pasadena and I love it, I made a village out of this town for myself, I love to go always to the places, in the morning. I buy my papers at V’Romans, lunch at Houston’s or I would make something here at the store, a burger with friends at night at Pie&Burger, I got my watch guy Shant, I got my shoes guy, my barber, it’s very close to the feeling of living in Italy for me.

"This town counts less habitants than Catania, my home town, so it’s a happy place for me.”

The founder of Ghiaia Cashmere, Davide is someone that we’ve long-admired, both for his thoughtful approach to design and clothes, and for his impeccable personal style. “I think that style is not something you can choose or pick,” he says in his typically open and thoughtful manner. “It’s a very intimate component, it’s very personal. That might be the thing I hate the most about the internet, I don’t believing in style tutorials. I like to think about style like something that tells your path, the city I lived in and the people I meet, the places I visited, all have influenced my style, being a father definitely did, but I would not be able to label my style, or to tell you what I get inspiration from, there are lots of layers.

“I wished younger generation would pay more attention to themselves as individuals instead of just buying items that will “give” them what they think it’s stylish.”

If you did want to buy something stylish, then Davide’s Pasadena shop would be a good place to start. Inside it feels part retail space, part personal shrine. His bulldog, Cici, or All’anagrafe Ciro Maria Baroncini to use his full name, plods along the tiles and sits on our shoes when the opportunity arises. “It’s a special bond," says, "My best friend. He's with me every day." There’s a small courtyard bathed in sunshine and a chrome La Marzocco coffee machine that sputters out perfect Italian espresso. The secret, it turns out, is sparkling Acqua di Panna in the filter. 

"There are meaningful objects in every corner of it, it feels very personal in that sense and I’m happy to see the response of the clients. There is a little of myself and of my family, and my wife’s family all around. It feels good to be in here.”

We leave the store and head towards another of Davide’s sacred places, Roma Market, an Italian bottega owned by a man called Rosario that might just make the best sandwich in the country/world/universe. Davide says we have to try it, and so we must try it. They also stock his olive oil, Baroncini Import & CO. Davide and Cici clamber into his vintage Defender and off we go.

“Since I moved here in 2018, I've known Rosario and his little bottega, and it’s been a place of comfort for me,” he says. “On a Sunday morning, when I need to, I go there very early and I will find Padre Rosario, our Pasadena Italian priest and we might sit down outside and talk about life. When I feel a bit homesick, when I miss my mother, or I’m just a little down I go there, it’s a special place for me, an institution.

We head into the market to find out more about these sandwiches, while Davide perches on a stack of plastic crates alongside Rosario. He lights a cigar and they begin to talk.

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