Salvatore Ferragamo – Shoemaker of the stars and film


Salvatore Ferragamo was one of the most famous and influential shoe designers of the 20th century. His creations were worn by Hollywood stars like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren and are still considered symbols of elegance and style. But how did Ferragamo become what he was? And what makes his shoes so special?

Ferragamo was born in 1898 in Bonito, a small village in southern Italy. He was the eleventh of 14 children in a poor peasant family. Even as a child, he showed a great interest in shoes and at the age of nine began making his first pairs for his sisters. At the age of 13 he moved to Naples, where he served an apprenticeship with a shoemaker and improved his skills.

In 1914 Ferragamo emigrated to America, where he first settled in Boston. There he worked in a shoe factory that mainly produced cheap mass-produced goods. However, Ferragamo was not satisfied with the quality and design of the shoes and dreamed of creating his own models. He decided to move to California, where the film industry was booming.

Ferragamo soon became the “shoemaker to the stars” and the darling of the film industry. He worked with famous directors such as Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith and designed shoes for films such as “The Ten Commandments,” “Ben Hur” and “Cleopatra.” He also created iconic shoes for stars like Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and Gloria Swanson.

However, Ferragamo was not only interested in fame, but also in improving his technique and knowledge. He studied the history of shoe design and took courses in anatomy, chemistry and mathematics at the University of Southern California. He invented numerous patents for new shoe designs, such as the wedge heel, the cork heel and the invisible heel.

In 1927, Ferragamo returned to Italy, where he settled in Florence. He founded his own company, “Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A.,” which still exists today. He built a factory that mass-produced his shoes, but still paid attention to the highest quality. He also opened several stores in Italy and abroad.

Ferragamo remained active and creative until his death in 1960. He left a great legacy of shoes that are works of art and have left their mark on fashion history. His company was carried on by his wife Wanda and his six children, who grew the company into a global fashion empire. Today Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most prestigious brands in the world, offering not only shoes but also clothing, accessories, perfumes and watches.

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