Razor and Brush/Giovanni Arbate: An Appreciation
Although I noted earlier that Razor and Brush—aka Barbieria Italiana—would close it doors, I did not in that post recognize the enormous contribution this vendor—Giovanni Arbate—made to today’s traditional wet-shaving. Until he opened the site, most of us were unaware of the enormous range of products available—particularly blades. Shavers mainly selected from one of six makes: Swedish Gillette, Feather, Israeli Personna, Crystal, Merkur, and Derby. Once you found which of those worked best, that was it.
One shaver got interested in blade collecting, and began urging us all to expand our blade horizons. At about the same time, Gio started Barbieria Italiana with an offering of unfamiliar brands of blades along with some aftershaves and soaps that we didn’t know.
We began sampling those wares, and Gio began expanding his range of offerings. Barbieria Italiana became a shaving site that had a great number of items not otherwise available in the US—and many of us found brands of blades that were better than anything we had been using, and economical as well.
Razor and Brush eventually evolved to include:
- A collection of useful articles on shaving and shaving supplies
- A history of shaving—quite interesting, BTW.
- A message board to let shaving aficionados ask questions and learn from each other
- A sales board where shavers could buy/sell/trade for shaving paraphernalia.
- A gallery of images of razors and other shaving-related items.
- A gallery of instruction booklets for vintage razors and other shaving instruction.
- The Barbieria Italiana shave store, now (alas) inactive—you can still get some of the brands at ShoeboxShaveshop.com
- Reviews of:
"Made in USA" Razor Blades
A review of this Encyclopaedia of American razor blades.
A Safety Razor Compendium
Read our review of this monumental reference work about safety razors and their history
Leisureguy’s Guide To Gourmet Shaving
A review of the book by Michael Ham.
In addition, he provided links to a variety of shave sites:
All of this is still intact and on the Web. Although you can’t order from Barbieria Italiana’s shave store, you certainly can browse and build wishlists. ShoeboxShaveshop.com seems to be continually expanding the range of its offerings, so one can hope that someday one can get the full range of Barbieria Italiana’s products. Moreover, the Message Board and the Sales Board are still operational.
Gio and Razor and Brush transformed the US shave scene, and although Gio can no longer be an active vendor, he has certainly made his mark and deserves much gratitude from American wetshavers.