Designer Classics: Ferragamo and Roger Vivier

In the series of designer intros I’ve brought to you a some of the 21st century’s exciting designers, this time I’m going to delve into history to explore two legends who revolutionised shoe design, set the precedent for all shoes design since and even today their historic designs look fresh and contemporary.

Just from spending much of his youth watching his local cobbler make shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo’s natural talent allowed him to start producing his designs from the age of nine. His prodigious talent, and incessant thirst for knowledge took him to America the culmination of which was to go study anatomy at the University of Southern California. What he learnt about the way we walk changed the way shoes were produced forever, an innovtion that opened the door to higher and higher shoes.


In 1938 Ferragamo was commissioned to produced shoes for Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz this was amonst other designs which revolutionised the shoe world, and I would argue this shoe wouldn’t look out of place today.
Used undeer Creative Commons License created by Sailko

Taking what he learnt he added reinforcements to the arch of the shoe, it added the necessary support foot within the shoe, nowadays all shoemakers do the same. In the 1920’s it was revolutionary, Ferragamo gained a reputation for comfort and white hot innovations amongst with he can be credited with the invention of the wedge. Before long he was producing shoes for the stars such as Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe.


Wedge shoe by Ferragamo, it predates the stiletto and was actually born out of necessity when steel was in short supply during the Second World War.
Used undeer Creative Commons License created by Sailko

While Salvatore was working on the wedged shoes, in that typically French way Roger Vivier wanted to create an elegant shoe. Through various visual innovations, which can include the use of transparent plastic panels popular with Gianvito Rossi these days. In 1954 Vivier delivered his masterpiece, the worlds first stiletto heel. Like Ferragamo this creativity landed him the celebrity customers of the time.

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