Salvatore Ferragamo: A love story based on Shoes – by Ségolène Guitton

For those of you who have never heard of Salvatore Ferragamo or know little of him, here is a biography of someone who went on to become one of the world’s most famous shoe designer.
Salvatore Ferragamo was born on June 28th 1898 in Bonito, a small commune in the south of Italy. At the young age of 9, Ferragamo made his first pair of shoes for one of his sisters to wear for her confirmation, and as he grew older it became clear to him that he had found his calling. After a couple of years, Ferragamo decided to go to Naples to study shoe-making and after a little while he decided to open a shop based out of his parent’s home. However, soon after Ferragamo decided to emigrate to the United States to pursue his career in the shoe-making business – he moved to California and after opening a shop for shoe repair and made-to-fit shoes he found success among celebrities of the day and designing footwear for the cinema industry. Although, Ferragamo found success among this glamorous industry, he remained unsatisfied to the fact that although his shoes were atheistically pleasing they were painful to the foot itself. Following his instinct, Ferragamo decided to study anatomy and went on to enroll at the University of Southern California. In 1927, Ferragamo returned to Italy but this time he decided to settle in Florence and open a workshop while concentrating on the science of shoe-making. Ferragamo’s success grew bigger everyday and during the 1950s, he ended up expanding to a fully staffed work crew of around 700 expert artisans that produced 350 pairs of handmade shoes a day. Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62, leaving behind his wife Wanda and 6 children who eventually went on to run the Ferragamo company. The company went on to expand its operation by including luxury handbags, eye-wear, watches, perfumes and a ready-to-wear clothing line.
The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum situated Via dei Torbabuoni has opened its door since June 20th to an exhibition paying homage to Marilyn Monroe. You may ask what is the connection between an internationally renowned shoe designer and a famous starlet from the fifties? Well, as Salvatore Ferragamo’s success increased, he started to design shoes for some of the wealthiest and most powerful women of the century and this is how Ferragamo started a great friendship with Marilyn Monroe. As Monroe’s acting and modeling career took off, she needed more and more pairs of shoes to attend various events, and this is how Marilyn Monroe went on to become one of Ferragamo’s most loyal customer as well being credited for the inspiration of Ferragamo’s famous four-inch heel pumps.
If you are hungry for anything fashion related, I would urge you to check out the exhibition before its closing date which is quickly approaching.
The Marilyn Monroe exhibition is set to run until January 28th, 2013 and the entrance fee is 5€.

For more information on current events and upcoming exhibitions please visit


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