HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO
We're turning the True Fashionista lens downward this go-round to indulge our feet in the story of master footwear artisan Salvatore Ferragamo. Hollywood's most famous shoe designer, his designs are favored by top celebrities on the red carpet. They also have their place onscreen, most famously in a little movie about a girl from Kansas. Yes, Salvatore Ferragamo is the designer of Dorothy's legendary ruby red slippers in The Wizard of Oz! If you're as impressed as we are, you should check out other fine designs of his at Naples' best consignment store, True Fashionistas.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – NINE-YEAR-OLD PRODIGY
His is a story of an artist who knew from an early age what his calling was. Born in Bonito, Italy, in 1898, Salvatore Ferragamo was the 11th of 14 children. Since he was a little child, Salvatore dreamed of being a shoemaker. He would spend hours watching the local shoemaker at work, although his father disapproved as shoemaking was considered the humblest of trades. The magic happened when young Salvatore was nine years old, and it was time for a sister's First Communion.
When he learned that his parents could not afford to buy a traditional white pair of shoes for her, Salvatore decided to make them himself. He borrowed nails, thread, white canvas, and the tools he needed from the local shoemaker. In secret, the night before the big event, he began making his first pair of shoes. They were ready in the morning, and his sister wore her beautiful new shoes, to the astonishment of all. Salvatore's fate was sealed. He would be a shoemaker. Discover his and many other luxury designer footwear at the best designer consignment store, True Fashionistas.
He quickly realized that he had found his path in life and went to Naples, Italy, to study shoemaking. A few years later, at thirteen years of age, he returned to Bonito and opened his first business, run from his parents' home. From these humble beginnings, Ferragamo's True Fashionista luxury brand would arise.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – TO THE US, HE GOES
In 1914, at 16 years of age, Ferragamo headed to the US to live with one of his brothers who worked at a cowboy boot factory in Boston, of all places. Although he was impressed with the modern techniques and machinery used to make the boots, he did not like the final product. He ultimately made his way to California to continue his career and business.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – SHOEMAKER TO THE STARS
Living in Santa Barbara, California, Ferragamo began making True Fashionista footwear for the film industry using the traditional techniques he had painstakingly learned. Movie stars were so amazed by his craftsmanship that they started ordering custom footwear. Thus began his reign as "The Shoemaker to the Stars."
His business was so strong that in 1923 he relocated to Hollywood. His store, the Hollywood Boot Shop, was frequented by the biggest movie stars of the time, including Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo, to name just a few.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – SILVER SCREEN
And so began Salvatore's reign as the creator of some of the most legendary shoes in film. He made sandals for The Ten Commandments, Marilyn Monroe's sexy stilettos in The Seven Year Itch, and as aforementioned, Dorothy's ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz. Other films also featuring his works include Some Like It Hot, Mildred Pierce, and The Postman Always Rings Twice.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – THE IMPORTANCE OF COMFORT
Ferragamo's shoes were initially popular due to his creativity, innovation, and dedication to quality. He also strived for something unique: the belief that one did not have to suffer to look beautiful. He made it a goal to design shoes that were as comfortable to wear as they were beautiful to behold.
To this extent, he enrolled in anatomy courses at The University of Southern California to study the intricacies of the human foot. Using this knowledge, he created for his regular clients custom wooden models (known as lasts). From here, he was able to create shoes that were actually comfortable to wear as well as gorgeous to the eye.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – SUCCESS HERALDS INNOVATION
By 1927, Ferragamo was in such high demand that he moved back to Italy to hire trained artisans to make his couture shoes. The world's wealthiest women flocked to his store. When supplies of leather and other needed materials became scarce in the 1930s, he began to use non-traditional materials. One of his most famous inventions was the cork sole wedge shoe, the first of which was made using corks from wine bottles! He also designed the first sandals for women and used unique materials like wood, metal wire, and even 18 karat gold. When a metal interior heel was introduced in the 1950s, he created the stiletto heel.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – ICONIC CREATIONS
Ferragamo introduced the world to many other True Fashionista designs, igniting many new trends. Some of his groundbreaking creations include the cage heel, sculptural heels, the shell-shaped sole, and the "invisible" sandal. He was also known for his bold color choices, mixing stunning yellows, emerald greens, and royal blues, sometimes all in the identical shoe!
In 1938, he purchased new headquarters in Florence, Italy, specifically the Palazzo Spini Feroni, a Medieval palace built in 1289. The building still stands and functions not only as a prestigious flagship retail location but also as a public museum built in 1995.
HISTORY OF SALVATORE FERRAGAMO – THE LEGEND CONTINUES
Ferragamo married in 1940, and he and his wife Wanda had six children. The clan was introduced to the art of shoemaking, as their father had been at such a young age. When the elder Ferragamo passed in 1960, his luxury empire was passed into the competent hands of his children, who introduced mechanized production to the brand amid strict quality controls. The label has expanded over the years into watches, accessories, clothing, and handbags, which are just some of the many authentic designer handbags on consignment found at True Fashionistas.
Find a continually updated and fully authenticated selection of Salvatore Ferragamo footwear and more at True Fashionistas, Florida's largest lifestyle consignment store. Sign up for our emails to score even deeper discounts than our regular prices, which are already a fraction of the original. Shop in-store or 24/7 online!