Why would the Sex And The City Footwear designer choose a factory made in Italy for creating his menswear shoes? I have visited the factory called Fratelli Borgioli situated near Florence. The artists making the shoes are all 100% Italian. I feel the worker’s passion for shoe-making as I stroll through the factory. The CEO of Fratelli Borgioli Giacomo Fioravanti, designed the new factory design from the inspiration of car dealer Hyundai, South Korea.
It is clean, the staff are very well looked after and all live near the factory. I am all about supporting local businesses like this.
The skill of working and creating shoes by hand can really be seen here. Tuscany is known for its artistry, creativity and craftsmanship. Making shoes here is not a job it is a lifestyle, part of their heritage and the workers are proud of what they create every day.
Manolo Blahnik Leather Shoes
If you are visiting Tuscany, I would recommend anyone stopping at the factory to purchase ready-to-made shoes. It is only less than an hour from Florence. The factory has so many leather selections so the designer is famous for cow printing hiking boots, bottle green leopard Oxfords and Carlton slippers. The slipper has the famous buckle we all identify on the Manolo Blahnik shoes, that Carrie Bradshaw left in her New York penthouse. Do you remember the magic of the blue shoe for the Sex and the City wedding heel?
I still get excited, after all these years, walking onto the factory floor and seeing the shoes come to life, says Blahnik.
How Shoes Are Made?
There are endless rolls of lather, exotic skins, suede and velvet stored in various colours such as Crimson, citrine, plum and poison green. Depending on the shape of the shoe the skin is cut by a machine and the very rare shoes are cut by an expert slitting the material with a scalpel on a metal workspace. I could years of shoes been made here by the wear and tear of the metal. Using a spacctura where the materials are fed through a machine to stretch and compress the leather or suede to precise thinness. The artisans use a scarnitura, where the edges are paired down to make them stitchable. When creating Tassels they use a device called fustella, a stamp with razor-sharp blades.
Sealing The Upper Sole
This requires so much skill. When selling the upper sole the worker needs to know how much pressure to apply as the machine pushes one section onto the other.
The two iconic staff members have been working at the factory for 41 years and 22 years. The pattern cutter who admits to me he is still learning has been doing it for 22 years. The humble craftswomen, who punch the holes on the panels that then get passed to another worker for a pair of brogues have been working here for a whopping 44 years.
It is truly a love affair for shoe lovers to see shoes being made like this.
I call this the Dolce Vita of bespoke shoemaking.
Red Hiking Boots
My hiking boots were made for me. We used an existing mould to make the boot. I chose the red Ferrari colour. Then they measured my feet. It took six weeks to complete. An experience I would highly recommend going through. You can order these red hiking boots through me. Just as k for the Gracie Opulanza hiking boot.
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