What ‘Made in Italy’ means in footwear
Many inspirations, one artisanal heritage
The fashion labels featured on BLANCAH come from all around the world. Each brand has a unique history and perspective and creates their collections from a diverse range of inspirations. But there is one key aspect that unites them all: the ‘Made in Italy’ heritage.
Fashion has been a booming industry in Italy for centuries, but Italian manufacturers truly began attracting attention in the 1950s and ‘60s. Today, Italian craftmanship firmly holds its place on top thanks to an unwavering dedication to quality, precision and beauty.
This week’s BLANCAH footwear edit presents unique pieces from Elie Saab, Proenza Schouler, Rochas, Brock Collection and Francesco Russo. We’re focussing in on how a selection of leading designers from completely different points of view can bring their visions to life with the help of expert artisans in Italy and those three all-important words… ‘Made in Italy’.
There are many reasons luxury footwear giants send their design sketches to be made in Italy. Chief among them is the availability of top-quality leathers. From sourcing to tanning, Italian leather producers lean on centuries of tradition in the development of footwear’s premier material and have invented techniques to craft beautiful leather that stands up to time. Few shoppers think of leather shoes as ‘sustainable’, but if you keep them and wear them for many seasons, they actually are. With Italian made leather shoes, you absolutely can do so.
In addition to leather quality, Italian artisans are experts at leather manipulation. From stitched curlicues to soft ruching, Elie Saab and Proenza Schouler have taken full advantage for SS21.
Nothing catches the eye like a sparkle on a slender pump, and Italian artisans have perfected the art of crystal embroidery. This is yet another technique that has been passed down through the generations in Italy. A painstaking task, it is largely performed by hand and can take several days to complete. Crystal embroideries, as seen here on two exquisite pump styles by Rochas, lend a sumptuous finish to formal ensembles. When you want to make a strong first impression, the Italian-made crystal embroidery is definitely your ally.
Another reason luxury brands choose Italian manufacturers to craft their incredible designs is the artisans’ technical mastery. The world’s leading designers know that they can let their imaginations run free and the craftsmen and women in Italy have the background and skills to construct their visions in three dimensions. This level of ease with the craft of shoemaking comes from knowledge developed over centuries and cannot easily be reproduced elsewhere. The use of marabou feathers on this sandal by Brock Collection, and lustrous chainmail on this Francesco Russo flat, require extensive experience in the mechanics of form and material manipulation. The long history of Italian craftsmanship is what gives luxury fashion houses the confidence to push boundaries.
As we’ve seen, ‘Made in Italy’ stands for many things. It signifies heritage, quality and beauty. But most of all, it’s a commitment to craftsmanship at its very height.