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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Do you love shoes? Let's fly to Florence

Dear friends and fans,
Today we travel to Florence to talk about one my most favorite fashion items:  Shoes !!!

All of you that love fashion, know for sure that the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world are Paris, Milan, London, and New York. While Milan might get the credit for Italy’s fashion trends, Florence is no slouch itself. 

In matter of fact, many trendsetting designers such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Gucci, and Roberto Cavalli all were either born in Florence, Italy  or moved there during the height of their careers. And all four brands still maintain their headquarters here. 
If you absolutely positively can’t get enough of shoes, like me, you’ll definitely want to stop by the "Salvatore Ferragamo Museum" next time you are visiting Florence.

The  Salvatore Ferragamo Museum  opened in May 1995 and is housed in the historic Palazzo Spini Feroni, which was purchased by Ferragamo in the 1930s. The Fashion Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his successful company. 

The Museum houses over 10,000 pairs of the esteemed luxury designer’s footwear, shoes created and owned by Ferragamo from the 1920s until his death in 1960. Following Ferragamo's death the collection was expanded by his widow and children. The museum also includes films, press cuttings, advertising materials, clothes and accessories from the 1950s to the present day.
Salvatore Ferragamo with Audrey Hepburn 

The red stiletto shoes wore by Marilyn Monroe in the movie "Gentlemen Prefers Blonds" 

One of my favorite part of the museum is the wooden lasts made by Ferragamo for his most famous clients, like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Angelina Jolie and almost all the big Hollywood stars of the last 70 years. 

These are basically a wooden model of the dimensions of these people’s feet so that the shoemaker can create perfectly fitting shoes for his client.

This would be right at home today Ferragamo was really ahead of his time.

Nylon thread shoes with the Ferragamo signature wedge. Many of the shoe designers today are inspired by Ferragamo

Innovative. Ferragamo used rafia for the upper and then cork for the heel of this shoe. This was made somewhere between 1936- 1938.

The shoes are rotated out on a bi-annually basis, so you’ll always have 10,000 new reasons to visit Florence again. And they have always exhibition dedicated to some of their famous clients. One of my favorite was when in 2012, for the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn MonroeSalvatore Ferragamo inaugurated, a retrospective dedicated to the actress.
Marylin Monroe was a huge fan of Salvatore Ferragamo and owned many of his shoes

Made in 1957 for Marilyn Monroe.

The Marylin Monroe collection 

Marilyn Monroe’s court shoe in crocodile and suede. Made between 1958- 1959 specifically for her.

Salvatore Ferragamo was really a visionary. He was born in  1898 in Bonito, Italy, near Naples. After making at age nine his first pair of shoes for himself, and a pair of high heels for his sister  to wear ar their confirmation, young Salvatore decided that he had found his calling. After studying shoemaking in Naples for a year, in 1914, he emigrated briefly to Boston to work on a boots factory. After a year he convinced his brother to mover to Santa Barbara, CA, The following year they settled  in Hollywood, CA.  

Here he  opened a little store for repair and made-to-measure shoes.  It did not take long, before it became the favorite place for Hollywood people to go for shoes. He soon became  known as the "The Shoemaker of the Stars". But, as he said himself, it was something of "destiny" for him to move back in 1927 in Florence, Italy. After studying anatomy he started to make shoes that were beautiful for the eye yet not hurting the foot.
The famous 18K gold shoes commissioned for the wife of a Aussie tycoon (1956) .
Salvatore Ferragamo fitting his 18kt gold sandals!

Salvatore  Ferragamo patented metal arch support in 1931 was the begin of the  modern age shoes. Not only fashion but also science, he had revolutionized the shoe making. Equilibrium was also behind the creation of the first modern wedge in 1938.

To the left 1938 Maharani wedge sandal made for Indira Devi, Maharani of Cooch Behar and to the right the Rainbow suede platform sandals designed for Judy Garland, 1938,  as s a tribute to Judy Garland’s signature song “ Over the Rainbow" performed in the 1938 feature film, "The Wizard Of Oz". 

He was always innovative and experimenting new materials for his shoes. In 1947 he also created the invisible sandals with fishing wire, famously owned also by Marilyn Monroe.

Ferragamo was the first shoemaker to use cork for heels.

The remarkable "cage heel" created by Salvatore Ferragamo.
And the same studies were also behind the creation of his famous and popular "stilletto" shoes, also wore by Marylin Monroe. 
Here also is a very interesting video about Salvatore Ferragamo and the invention of his famous stiletto.
I have the honor to be sponsored for some of my Concerts and events by Salvatore Ferragamo. And I have had the pleasure to meet Massimo Ferragamo on several occasions. To wear their elegant shoes and accessories makes you feel like a princess. It's like wearing a true Made In Italy treasure.

With Massimo Ferragamo 

One of my precious Salvatore Ferragamo shoes.

While in Florence I really would suggest you to make a stop at the Ferragamo Museum.  You will be taken aways by the beauty of the Florentine building, which also functions as flagship store and headquarter for the brand, and you will surely experience  an unique opportunity to see such an amazing collection of rare shoes from the archives of Ferragamo.

If you’re visiting Florence and you love fashion this is a place you don’t want to miss for sure.

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  1. Giada, I love the stories behind the things you post. It makes the product so much more interesting. It humanizes it. Rose Marie Calicchio Dunphy

  2. Thank you so much for this lovely comment dear Rose. To receive it from you it's extra special. Love, Giada

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