The shoes that changed the history of fashion

There are shoes that sparkle for just a moment, shoes that shock the fashion world for a season, shoes loved at the first sight and shoes hated for no (good) reason. And there are shoes that made history. As Salvatore Ferragamo iconic models did. From roman sandals imagined for legendary Cecil de Mille to Audrey Hepburn’s loafers in “Funny Face”, from the first model of wedgies to the reinterpretation of the Varina model in a special movie with Olivia Palermo, the shoes designed by the Ferragamo family marked an entire century from the history of fashion. (Pictured above: Joan Crawford and Salvatore Ferragamo, Marilyn Monroe, Charlotte Rampling) (CLICK on the gallery above, for more pictures)

In Bucharest, at Casa Frumoasa store, the only store in Bucharest where you can find the magic shoes signed Ferragamo. 

Landmarks of a 100 years in Ferragamo shoes

  • In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the history of shoes was marked by Ferragamo’s creations. In 1938 he gained the nickname “Shoemaker to the Stars” when he made Roman sandals for the Cecil de Mille epics (inspired by his traveling experiences in Egypt).
  • Shortly afterwards Salvatore Ferragamo patented his first invention in the world of fashion: his strong but light cork wedge. This Italian footwear legend took a hit during World War II, when the steel needed to reinforce high heels was in short supply. The shoes, called “lefties” or “wedgies,” became very popular in the United States.
  • The year 1947 marked the launch of Ferragamo’s Invisible Sandals. Made of water-colored nylon thread. The result? Ferragamo becoming the first footwear designer to win Neiman Marcus Prize at the Fashion Oscars.
  • In 1951, at the very first Italian fashion show, Salvatore Ferragamo presented “Kimo”, a multi-purpose sandal inspired by the Japanese tabi.
  • In 1952 Ferragamo designed a high heel shoe, in which the arch of the foot was lined with the same leather as the upper, limiting the sole to the front and heel. The shoe was strong, yet flexible, like a glove: so there is the name of “glove arch”.
  • In 1956, returning from a trip to Australia, he launched the 18 karats gold sandals with their patented metal sole. And one of his most recognoscible inventions was “the cage heel”.
  • Vara model has been created by Salvatore Ferragamo daughter Fiamma Di San Giuliano Ferragamo in 1978. Grosgrain bow, gold hardware and mid-height heel are the signature of these famous shoes.
    In 2007 a new version has been introduced into the collection. The name of the new model is Varina and it can be considered as the flat sister of the iconic Vara. More, thanks to L’Icona, a new Ferragamo project lauched in 2013, it’s now possible to customize your own Ferragamo Vara or Varina choosing the color of the bow, the color of the hardware, gold or silver, and get also your initials.

ferragamo shoes

The end of the story? When he returned from the USA, Ferragamo established his headquarters in Palazzo Feroni-Spini on the Via Tornabuoni, Florence. His family transformed the building into a museum dedicated to the footwear designer and to the history of fashion. Opened in 1995, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum hosts the Ferragamo group’s main collections, displaying the shoes that gained Ferragamo worldwide acclaim as well as housing the archives of the whole work.

Photography: Salvatore Ferragamo archives


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