Salvatore Ferragamo, the rise of a dream




"Give a girl the right shoes and she will conquer the world." It is no coincidence that it was Marilyn Monroe, Salvatore Ferragamo's muse, who uttered this phrase. The "shoemaker of the stars," as he was nicknamed, has made it his mission to research and experiment with footwear, going so far as to make shoes that have conquered the world. Born in 1898 in the province of Avellino, he first became an apprentice in Naples and then moved to America, where his brothers were already located and where he opened a shoe repair store in 1915.


His creativity was soon matched by his insights and a great deal of research: in 1916 he enrolled in evening classes at the Extension Division of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles to study anatomy, where he discovered that the weight of the body rests on the arch of the foot. He therefore decided to insert a steel plate, the cambrion, inside his shoes to support the arch of the foot, solving the problem of comfort. In 1923 he opened the Hollywood Boot Shop: it was here that the press began to call him 'the shoemaker to the stars,' becoming the reference point for the stars. A title he would keep even when in 1927 he returned to Italy and settled in Florence.

From here, a continuous ascent, punctuated by memorable creations, which knows its exploit in the postwar period, when his creations become the symbol of the country's restart. These were the years of the shoes with half-wood and half-metal heels, patented by Ferragamo for Marilyn, and of the famous wedge sandal in the colors of the rainbow created in 1938 for Judy Garland, a declination on the theme of the cork wedge patented in 1937 that he devised with the aim of replacing the metal foil he used. Indeed, with the arms race, steel and many other materials were beginning to become scarce. Ferragamo's solutions were not long in coming: cork but also hemp uppers, felt, fish skin.


All the way to the invisible sandal with a wooden wedge heel shaped like an "F," like Ferragamo's initial, and covered with leather and uppers formed from a transparent nylon fishing line. a revolutionary model for the time (and not only) that in 1947, will earn Salvatore Ferragamo the prestigious Neiman Marcus Award, or the Oscar of Fashion. It was the first time that the award was given to a footwear creator. By the time he died in 1960, the great dream of his life - to create and produce the world's most beautiful shoes - had become a reality. Picking up the baton is his wife Wanda, who takes over the reins of the company, transforming Ferragamo into the great fashion house that still represents one of the iconic brands of made-in-Italy fashion.

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