As shoe lovers know, there are some pairs you don for the daily grind, some you slip into for those special nights out, and precious few that are relegated to being collectors’ items—so valued there are closets and even museums dedicated solely to them. The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence is one such mecca for the shoe fiend, documenting the illustrious career of the famed shoemaker. Its current exhibition, The Amazing Shoemaker: Fairy Tales and Legends about Shoes and Shoemakers, is on display until March 31, 2014 and celebrates fashion, fantasy, and our enduring fascination with footwear.
The fairy tale tie-in is fitting for Ferragamo—the designer moved to California in the early 1920s, and began to design and make shoes for cinema. In 1923, he opened the Hollywood Boot Shop, and quickly became the “shoemaker to the stars”, many of whom played out these tales of folklore on the big screen.
Some of Ferragamo’s most playful and innovative footwear, including a few from those early Hollywood days, are available for sale. A selection of his iconic designs have been updated and reissued in limited numbers as a part of Ferragamo’s Creations collection, which is touring around select boutiques to coincide with the exhibition in Florence.
Of note is the Rainbow wedge shoe, created in 1938 for actress Judy Garland, who starred as Dorothy in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Ferragamo dressed the diminutive actress in this towering shoe, and became widely credited as the inventor of the platform. In Oz, Dorothy’s magical ruby slippers are among the most famous of film memorabilia, and there’s plenty of sparkle available in the collection too. Ferragamo’s sparkling red heels were favoured by another iconic Hollywood star, Marilyn Monroe, who also wore the styles in black and silver, available in the collection too. Cinderella’s glass slipper may well be one of the most storied shoes of fairy tale lore; Ferragamo’s own Invisible sandal, made with transparent woven nylon to expose the bare foot, is also available, as well as designs worn by the likes of film darling Audrey Hepburn.
The collection is on display and available for sale at the Vancouver Salvatore Ferragamo boutique on Robson Street until Friday, August 2.