The most famous shoe designers of all time have created timeless objects of desire

Creators of dreams more than just accessories, the grown-ups footwear designer have enriched our imaginary of walking bijoux, with a heel thread and a thin tip on which the wildest fantasies are articulated. Responsible for the magnetic fascination that draws us inexorably towards it riding boot as much as in the flat-sole size of the dancers, the famous shoemakers of history collect the fabulous legacy of Charles Perrault is Madame D’Aulnoy, which instill in the shoe the fatal power to change destiny, transforming themselves into slippers with a thousand secrets that in velvet or toile de Jouy uppers instill the mysterious code of happiness.

Catherine Deneuve on the set of Beautiful by day with Roger Vivier shoes, 1967.

© Courtesy Roger Vivier / Rue des Archives

That the shoe both the oldest element of fashion archeology is symptomatic of its importance in the contemporary wardrobe. The need to protect the foot has turned into an art in itself. He knew François Pinet when in the nineteenth century he made the first boot from promenade with floral embroidery, giving the aimless wandering of European ladies the added value of parading and showing the uniqueness of their tastes. Roger Vivier knew it, when he instilled life into the pink satin slipper of a painting by Fragonard, flying from an eighteenth-century swing towards the foot of the new charmant elegance of the twentieth century. So let’s start our journey among shoe makers, creators of many happinesses.

François Pinet

The first stone of the footwear empire is laid François Pinet. Artisan in the workmanship but couturier in the decorative approach, Pinet opens its first shoe boutique in Paris 1854. Specialized in the production of leather models, Pinet soon detaches himself from the manufacturing techniques he learned from his father shoemaker in favor of stylistic experimentation.

Boots in silk, suede, linen canvas and goatskin, 1885.

© LACMA – The Los Angeles County Musem of Art

The result is models in precious fabrics, from brocade to velvet, with a tangle of floral motifs that fit well into the romantic passion of the period for foliage and its colorful intricacies. To go down in history is in particular theankle boot Promenade, an ankle boot available in both day and evening versions.

© Instagram @francoispinetofficiel

Set in semiprecious stones, sequins or characterized by a naturalistic décor with a multicolored bouquet or rocaille motif, the Promenade and their silhouette with curved heel define the era of crinolines and its overabundance of details, making even the forerunner of the casual shoe refined and never banal. Master and mentor of a new generation of creatives, Pinet passes the baton to his most talented student and apprentice: Roger Vivier.

© Instagram @francoispinetofficiel

Roger Vivier

Roger Vivier it has been defined by many flattering epithets, among which are remembered “The Fragonard of shoes” or again “The Fabergé of footwear”. More than deserved names given the precision with which the shoe designer created his works, miniatures of perfect worlds in shape and color dominated by balance.

Roger Vivier making the shoes created for Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her coronation, 1953.

© Getty Images

The first boutique opened in Paris, in Rue Royal, in 1937, an address that presaged its future success in the remaining European courts of the time. Focusing on the heel structure, Vivier makes it an integral part of the shoe, aligning the contours with those of the upper so as to result in a continuum linear of curves, soft or straight. From his ingenuity the Aiguille heel, typical straight and thin stiletto, or the Virgule, whose accented irreverence recalls the bias directions of punctuation.

An evening boot made by Roger Vivier for Dior.

© Getty Images

Sophia Loren at London airport with Roger Vivier shoes, 1966.

© Courtesy Roger Vivier

Official collaborator of the maison Dior, Vivier is the only French designer to participate with a bespoke accessory allcoronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, creating a gold-colored model with a jewel heel set with precious stones, now reinterpreted by the creative director of the brand Gherardo Felloni. Mind behind the Boule shoes of Marlene Dietrich and the dancers of Catherine Deneuve in Beautiful by day of Luis Buñuel (1967), Roger Vivier is today associated with a delightful frivolity of feathers and crystals, of candy pink and pastel shades, a microcosm in low heels between slippers and over-the-knee boots.

Sketch of the shoes of Queen Elizabeth II.

© Courtesy Roger Vivier

Salvatore Ferragamo

A great love is what unites Salvatore Ferragamo to the world of footwear, of which the designer knows every aspect of the creation process, from the sketch to the tanning of the leather. After a Californian adventure as a sole repairer among the vineyards of Napa Valley and the streets invaded by Hollywood celebrities, Ferragamo starts his business in Florence in 1927, while maintaining its prestigious American clientele.

Salvatore Ferragamo

© Getty Images

Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn they lend their foot to wooden casts still preserved in the brand’s archives, an imprint as significant as that of the hands on Walk of Fame. One actress in particular links her name to that of the maison, becoming the muse of one of the most famous accessories in history: the Rainbow sandals created in 1938 for Judy Garland, characterized by the layered sole in the colors of the rainbow.

Ferragamo wood casts for Mary Pickford, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, the Duchess of Windsor, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman.

© Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe wears a pair of shoes made to measure by Ferragamo.

© Courtesy Ferragamo Museum

Synonymous with a traditional wisdom that carves the shoe in every element, the maison Ferragamo is the pride of an all-Italian savoir faire handed down for years by master shoemakers, a more than illustrious testimony of how craftsmanship, earthly and manual, can conquer even the stars.

Rainbow sandals created for Judy Garland

© Instagram @ferragamo

Sergio Rossi

Another important name of the Italian shoe industry, Sergio Rossi is the father of a modern and aggressive aesthetic that shapes the style of the woman of the new millennium.

A pair of Sergio Rossi platform moccasins.

© Getty Images

Born in Romagna, in San Mauro Pascoli, in 1951, the maison Sergio Rossi it stands out for a geometric and rigorous approach to the shape: the shoes of the brand are architectures that alternately speak of minimalism and essentiality, with some concession to a rigid and well-defined futurism.

© Instagram @sergiorossi

© Instagram @sergiorossi

In saturated and bright colors, Sergio Rossi shoes stand out for their rigorous and incredibly refined simplicity. There is the model Opanca, a sandal whose sole perfectly follows the curve of the foot, the pump Godiva, whose versatility is designed for a dynamic femininity that lives the day 24/7, from work to a sparkling evening, ending with elegant Madame with stiletto heel.

© Instagram @sergiorossi

Manolo Blahnik

“The man who makes shoes for lizards”. So it is defined Manolo Blahnik in the title of the documentary dedicated to him by Michael Roberts in 2011. An unconventional choice of associations but that goes well with the uncompromising avant-garde of the designer, who creates shoes so carefully elaborated as to look like miniature jewels that can be worn by the most chimeric creatures.

Manolo Blahnik

© Getty Images

Creativity and creative independence come together in Blahnik’s art, discovered in the 70s by Diana Vreeland during his London period in the Zapata boutique. Founding the eponymous brand in 1973, Manolo animates the fashion scene of hippie and idealistic London, wearing the feet of Twiggy is Anjelica Huston.

© Instagram @manoloblahnik

© Instagram @manoloblahnik

However, two women in particular elect him as a shoemaker of wonders. The first is a New Yorker by adoption, the Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, so the model Hangisi it becomes a distinctive and unusual engagement ring. The second is none other than a queen, Maria Antonietta of France, which in the biopic of Sofia Coppola of 2006 wears bespoke Blahnik creations.

© Instagram @manoloblahnik

Christian Louboutin

Just one red sole to unleash a sudden heartbeat and a surge of irrepressible desire. Christian Louboutin he uses the chromatic symbolism of color linked to passion to mark all his creations, making them unmistakable and immediately recognizable.

Christian Louboutin at the exhibition dedicated to him by the Design Museum in London in 2012.

© Getty Images

The brand, born in 1992, has captured the attention of the international jet set since its inception, which transforms the Louboutin shoe into a status symbol. Parisian aesthetics mixed with a ruthlessness Made in the USA, the Louboutin maison is a tangle of high heels, mix of materials and excess, a winning formula that makes it one of the leading brands in the footwear sector today.

© Instagram @louboutinworld

© Instagram @louboutinworld

Seeing is believing: according to statistics, Louboutin sells over a million pairs every year.

© Instagram @louboutinworld

Jimmy Choo

Before Jimmy Choo, Hollywood stars wore almost only kitten heels to stay comfortable and not incur various awkwardness caused by too high heels. The designer takes care of breaking down the taboo of 10 cm in height, creating extremely comfortable and soft shoes for walking in total fluidity.

Jimmy Choo in his studio in London.

© Getty Images

Founded in London in the early 90s, the Jimmy Choo stands out globally for the extreme glamor of its models, which combine a renewed sensuality with expert Italian workmanship. Unique is the upper design, specifically designed for make the leg longer and slender, combining a set of lines and thicknesses that thin the calves and ankles.

Lady Diana during the performance de “The Swan Lake” at the Royal Albert Hall in Jacques Azagury dress and Jimmy Choo shoes.

© Getty Images

Diana goes to a gala dinner in Chicago in a tailored suit created by Gianni Versace and Jimmy Choo shoes.

© Getty Images

Like any fashion icon, Jimmy Choo also has its exceptional client, the character who determined its international success. Who is it about? Nothing less than of Lady Diana.

A pair of Jimmy Choo shoes that belonged to Lady Diana.

© Getty Images

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