Showing posts with label Shoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shoes. Show all posts

1 January 2019

Cesare Paciotti - shoe designer

Exclusive brand worn by many celebrities

Cesare Paciotti has been designing shoes full time since 1980
Cesare Paciotti has been designing shoes
full time since 1980
The shoe designer Cesare Paciotti, whose chic collections have attracted a celebrity clientele, was born on New Year’s Day in 1958 in Civitanova Marche, a town on the Adriatic coast.

His company, Paciotti SpA, is still headquartered in Civitanova Marche, as it has been since his parents, Giuseppe and Cecilia, founded their craft shoe-making business in 1948, producing a range of shoes in classical designs made entirely by hand.

Today, the company, which trades as Cesare Paciotti, has major showrooms in Milan, Rome and New York and many boutique stores in cities across the world. The business, which also sells watches, belts, others accessories and some clothing lines, has an annual turnover estimated at more than $500 million (€437 million).

Cesare Paciotti inherited the family firm in 1980 at the age of 22, having spent his late teenage years and early adulthood pursuing his interest in the arts by studying Drama, Art and Music at the University of Bologna, and then travelling to London, the United States and the Far East.

When he returned home, he already had solid shoemaking skills, having learned from his parents in their workshop as he grew up.

Paciotti's shoes are known for their elegant design, with particular emphasis on the heel
Paciotti's shoes are known for their elegant design, with
particular emphasis on the heel
He and his sister, Paola, were entrusted with running the business between them, Cesare focusing on creativity and design with Paola in charge of operational matters. They established Pariotti SpA in 1980 and launched their first collection in the same year.

Most of the workers employed by their parents were retained but Cesare nonetheless was able to drive the company forward. Thanks to Paola's astute management and Cesare's originality of design, the name quickly acquired a high profile and prestigious fashion houses such as Gianni Versace, Romeo Gigli and Dolce & Gabbana began to approach them to craft shoes for their labels.

Versace, in fact, had worn some handmade shoes created by Cesare’s father, so he was familiar with their workshop’s use of high quality materials and attention to detail.

In 1990, Cesare turned his attention in particular to the image of the Paciotti women's collection. It had traditionally produced shoes with a rather masculine appearance but Cesare was determined to change this and introduced a tall stiletto heel that soon became highly recognisable as a Paciotti trademark, synonymous with extremely feminine shoes.

In recent years, celebrities such as as Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, supermodels Bar Refaeli and Miranda Kerr, actresses Anne Hathaway and Sienna Miller and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift have become clients.

Paciotti not only produces luxury shoes but other items such as watches and jewellery.  The company is famous for a dagger illustrated in its logo.

The port of Civitanova Marche, where Paciott's parents established the family business in 1948
The port of Civitanova Marche, where Paciott's parents
established the family business in 1948
Travel tip:

Civitanova Marche, where Cesare Paciotto was born, is a port and resort on the Adriatic coast, about 50km (37 miles) south of Ancona. Now with a population of more than 42,000 inhabitants, the town developed in the 16th century under the Sforza and Cesarini families, the legacy of which is the Palazzo Cesarini-Sforza, the interior of which conserves some 16th-century frescoes by Pellegrino Tibaldi.  The 15th century walls commissioned by the Sforza family remain intact. The town also has some interesting Liberty-style architecture, including the Villa Conti, originally built in 1910, destroyed during the Second World War and subsequently rebuilt.

I faraglioni are a familiar landmark off the coast of Capri
I faraglioni are a familiar landmark off the coast of Capri
Travel tip:

Among Cesare Paciotti’s many boutiques is one on Via Vittorio Emanuele III on Capri, the street that links the quaint Piazzetta with the exclusive Grand Hotel Quisisana.  The area brims with designer shops. Among Paciotti’s neighbours on Via Vittorio Emanuele III and the adjoining Via Camerelle are branches of Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Moschino and Dolce & Gabbana. A short walk beyond Via Camerelle along Via Tragara leads to the Belvedere Tragara, which offers views of Capri’s famous offshore rock formation i faraglioni.

More reading:

How Salvatore Ferragamo rose from humble beginnings to be a fashion giant

The meteoric rise of Gianni Versace

Guccio Gucci - from carrying bags to making them

Also on this day:

Capodanno - New Year - in Italy

1803: The birth of Guglielmo Libri, notorious book thief

1926: The birth of singing star Claudio Villa


5 June 2016

Salvatore Ferragamo - shoe designer

From humble beginnings to giant of the fashion industry

Photo of Ferragamo shoes
Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo, the craftsman once dubbed 'Shoemaker to the Stars' after his success in creating made-to-measure footwear for movie stars and celebrities, was born on this day in 1898 in Bonito, a small hill town in Campania, in the province of Avellino.

Although in time he would become a prominent figure in the fashion world of Florence, Ferragamo learned how to make shoes in Naples, around 100 kilometres from his home village.  He was apprenticed to a Neapolitan shoemaker at the age of just 11 years and opened his first shop, trading from his parents' house, at 13.

When he was 16 he made the bold decision to move to the United States, joining one of his brothers in Boston, where they both worked in a factory manufacturing cowboy boots.  Salvatore was impressed at how modern production methods enabled the factory to turn out large numbers of boots but was concerned about compromises to quality.

This led him to move to California and to set up shop selling his own hand-made shoes in Santa Barbara, where he made his first contacts in the burgeoning American film industry.  Eager to make shoes that not only looked good but were comfortable to wear, he enrolled at the University of Southern California to study anatomy.

He moved to Hollywood when the movie makers relocated there and it was after opening the Hollywood Boot Shop that he acquired the label 'shoemaker to the stars'.

Picture of Ferragamo logo
The famous Ferragamo logo
In 1927, after 13 years in the United States, Ferragamo returned to Italy to base his business in Florence, a city with a wealth of skilled craftsmen. He opened a workshop in the Via Mannelli and was soon making shoes for some of the wealthiest women in the world.

The collapse of the US stock market in 1929, sparking the Great Depression, hit him hard, virtually destroying the export side of his business, and he filed for bankruptcy in 1933.  Yet such was his enterprise and appetite for work that, by concentrating on the domestic market, he was able to make a rapid recovery.

In 1936 he rented two workshops and opened a shop in Palazzo Spini Feroni in Via de' Tornabuoni, which he subsequently bought and which remains the company's headquarters.

By the 1950s, as Italy recovered from wartime austerity and embraced la dolce vita, Ferragamo was the shoe of choice for wealthy young socialites in Italy and beyond and the company workshops were employing 700 craftsmen turning out up to 350 pairs of shoes per day.

Photo of The Rainbow shoe
The Rainbow platform sandal Ferragamo crafted for the
 actress and singer Judy Garland
Among Salvatore's creations were stiletto heels with metal reinforcement made famous by Marilyn Monroe, and a platform sandal he made for Judy Garland, which he called The Rainbow as a tribute to the actress and singer's performance in the Wizard of Oz. His 'invisible' sandal, which featured almost transparent nylon thread uppers, won the Neiman Marcus Award in 1947, the first time the prestigious mark of recognition in the fashion world was given to a shoe designer.

In 1940 Salvatore had married the daughter of the local doctor in Bonito, Wanda Miletti, who joined him in Florence. They had six children: three sons - Ferruccio, Leonardo and Massimo - and three daughters - Fiamma, Giovanna and Fulvia.

Salvatore died in 1960 aged just 62, leaving the company to be run by the family, with Wanda initially in charge.  Nowadays, Ferruccio is the president of a business employing more than 4000 people with 550 stores in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

It now has a range of products that includes eyewear, perfume, belts, scarves, bags, watches and clothing, as well as shoes.

Travel tip:

Bonito, perched on top of a hill between the valleys of the Arvi and Calore rivers, is roughly equidistant between Benevento and Avellino in inland Campania.  The Church of the Assunta contains the tomb of Santa Crescenzo, an 11-year-old boy killed during the persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletianus in the third century and subsequently celebrated as a martyr.

Photo of the entrance to the Ferragamo museum
The entrance to the Ferragamo museum at
the Palazzo Spini Feroni
Travel tip:

A museum dedicated to the life and work of Salvatore Ferragamo was opened in 1996 within the company's headquarters at the historic Palazzo Spini Feroni in Via de' Tornabouni, Florence's famed upmarket shopping street.  The museum has films, press cuttings, advertising posters, clothing and accessories and a staggering 10,000 shoes created by Salvatore himself or the skilled craftsmen he employed.

(Photo of Ferragamo shoes by Ben CC BY-SA 2.0)
(Photo of Judy Garland shoe by Sailko CC BY-SA 3.0)