Sunday, July 6, 2008

On my bedside table

Just to introduce a new-ish segment that has been residing in my sidebar for the last week, On My Bedside Table. I figured I should spruik the virtues of anything I'm recommending, hence this first post on the topic.

Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the luminaries of the shoemaking oevre, by the time he was 11 he was running his own workshop in Italy. In the golden age of Hollywood epics, the 1920's and 30's, he was the man who outfitted the stars feet, building up his clientele through the years to include Mae West, Gloria Swanson, Ingrid Bergman, Ava Gardner, Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo and later on a certain Ms Monroe.

During the war-time sanctions placed on Italy by the League of Nations in 1936, many traditional shoemaking materials were hard to come by, and Ferragamo was inspired to improvise, realising many of his most celebrated designs. He crocheted cellophane for uppers, devised the first cork wedges, used traditional lacemaking for uppers, invisible uppers made from fishing line, lucite heels - the list is astounding.

This book is a celebration of the 80 year anniversary of the Ferragamo company, which is still owned and run by his widow, Wanda. It accompanied the Evolving Legend exhibition held to mark this occasion at the MOCA in Shanghai. It is a huge, stunning book, full of amazing photos, including some of the old Ferragamo workshops in the Palazzo Spini Feroni in Florence, which I am lucky enough to have visited.

The most surprising thing for me about this book is the price, a mere $60 for a tome which is worthy of twice the price.

Suede covered wedge platforms made for Judy Garland in 1938. The man was clearly ahead of his time.
Viva Ferragamo!


Arthur's Circus said...

thanks for your comment, it made me laugh....oh and I agree that does seem mighty cheap for such a big, photo-filled book.

edward and lilly said...

Those wedges are so fabulous, how lucky are you to have visited his workshops!

Kirsty said...

Those suede wedges are amazing.