Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960). Famous Italian shoemaker with 20,000 models and 350 patents. He created multiple iconic luxury women’s shoes. Also known as “Shoemaker of the Stars.”


  1. The Life of Salvatore Ferragamo
    1. Young Talent
    2. Immigration to the U.S.
    3. Shoemaker of the Stars
    4. Return to Italy
    5. The Wedge Shoe
    6. Salvatore Ferragamo and Famous Clients
    7. Brand After 1960
  2. Brand Expansion From 1970s to early 2000s
  3. World-Wide Expansion
    1. New Opening’s
    2. Acknowledgments
    3. New Creative Director
  4. Recent Years
  5. Financial Evolution
  6. Current Scenario

The Life of Salvatore Ferragamo

Young Talent

Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960). Famous Italian shoemaker. The 11th, out of 14 children, born in Bonito. A small village about 160 miles from Naples.

From a young age Salvatore Ferragamo had clear ideas and wanted to become a shoemaker. Although, in southern Italy a shoemaker is one of the humblest professions, his parents, despite their poverty, were not happy with his choice.

At 9 years old he created, in only one night, his first pair of shoes for his sister’s communion, and he managed to convince his family that the shoemaker career was the best choice for him.

Later he was an apprentice in Luigi Festa’s workshop and once he finished this experience he moved to Naples to learn something new and try in a real way his abilities. After he returned to Bonito, by the age of 13, he had his own shop where he began to create shoes.

Immigration to the U.S.

Then, in 1915, he immigrated, via the ship Stampalia, to the United States to join his brothers who were already there. But in Boston, his brother-in-law, had already found him a job at the Queen Quality Shoes Company. They produced thousands of shoes a day, soles and heels in half a second, and one minute for sewing.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Portrait
Salvatore Ferragamo Portrait

Anyone would have been thankful for such a job, but not the young Salvatore. He had a more noble idea of the shoemaker’s profession. He couldn’t stand those machines. He exclaimed, “They made shoes that were heavy, clumsy, and squat, with a toe shaped like a potato and a leaden heel.” He left the factory, joined his brothers in Santa Barbara.

As told in his autobiography, Il calzolaio dei sogni (The Shoemaker of Dreams, Skira), Salvatore immediately understood that California, with its fast-growing film industry, would be the Promise Land.

It all started when the property manager at the American Film Company complained about the boots worn in the western movies. He believed, if they were easy to wear, the styling was no good, if the style was attractive, they hurt the feet of the actors. Ferragamo offered his services and produced boots for the manager. This was a success and the director Cecil B. De Mille said, “We would have won the West sooner if we had had your boots.” Salvatore and his brothers Girolamo, Seconding, and Alfonso opened their first shop in the center of Santa Barbara.

This is the beginning of a good relationship between Ferragamo and the Film industry, which will go on even after the American experience.

Shoemaker of the Stars

At this time in Hollywood 1923, the future of the movement was beginning. The biggest stars visited his boutique, including Mary and Lottie Pickford. He created the original Ferragamo model for her in brown kidskin, “with two ears standing up in front.”

When the Film industry moved from Santa Barbara to Hollywood, Salvatore Ferragamo decided to take a risk and follow the studios in order to find new possibilities of expansion.

In 1923 he opened his new shop “Hollywood Boot Shop”, and the Hollywood stars would only feel famous if they wore Ferragamo’s shoes. Salvatore Ferragamo soon became known as the “shoemaker to the stars.”

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo First Hollywood Store
The Announcement of Salvatore Ferragamo’s First Hollywood Store

He created pale lavender sandals for Jean Harlow, cork-shaped heels for Gloria Swanson with a lot of pearls, and slippers in multicolored satin for Lillian Gish. Also, men’s shoes for clients like Douglas Fairbanks and Rodolfo Valentino.

Also, while in California Salvatore Ferragamo studied the anatomy of the foot. After his research he came out with a revolutionary component to sustain the arch of the shoe by putting thin layers of steel in the sole in order to provide arch support, when most shoemakers only used cardboard. This piece is called cambinone. In the late 1920’s he patented this invention.

His success was due to the comfort of his shoes. After the success of this invention he went on with his studies of shoes and invented an original way to wear the shoes, which made it easier on his production.

Salvatore Ferragamo With Sophie Loren. Copyright Attualita Fotografica Italiana Del Vecchio & Scala
Salvatore Ferragamo With Sophie Loren. Copyright Attualita Fotografica Italiana Del Vecchio & Scala

Return to Italy

In 1927, he returned to Florence, Italy a city that represents the beauty and culture of Italy and world wide recognized as the base of craftsmanship. The same year he opened his first workshop with other artisans for the Italian production of his shoes.

Then, in 1929, during the world wide economic crisis, he faced bankruptcy and failure. Ferragamo didn’t despair, and soon made a comeback. By 1938 he was able to acquire the Palazzo Spini Feroni on via Tornabuoni, which is today still the headquarters of the company. In that same period, he acquired the Michelangelo style villa Il Palagio in Fiesole.

Salvatore Ferragamo Palazzo Spini Feroni in Florence
Salvatore Ferragamo Palazzo Spini Feroni in Florence

The Wedge Shoe

Salvatore Ferragamo invented the wedge shoe in cork to solve the problem of functionality during the autarchy period. To fix the problem he substituted the steel layer inside the shoe.

Ferragamo bought the perfect steel from Germany, but because of the Italian economic situation, he wasn’t able to buy it anymore, so she couldn’t make his shoes.

Ferragamo says “I started working with pieces of Sardinian cork,” Ferragamo writes, “pressing, gluing and finishing until the space between the sole and the heel was filled.”

So, the wedge was born and it became one of the most famous shoe between the 30s and 40s. Ferragamo created a lot of variations including platform heels and sculptured heels.  The heels were made with various colors, or little mirrors placed like mosaics, also with brass grilles and floral motifs and studded with stones. These shoes were worn by the most famous customers.

Salvatore Ferragamo has always been focused on the use of material, even today the maison is still very particular about materials.

The beauty, comfort and longevity of a shoe depends on materials, shapes and production. Salvatore Ferragamo became famous for being able to consider all of these aspects without loosing his design.

He did not only work with luxury leathers, but also with unusual materials.

The traditional Florentine lace, paper, bark, raffia, hemp, skin of fish, and cellophane replaced, before and during World War II the more precious materials like goats, calves, and exotic crocodile. Immediately after the war, nylon and synthetic raffia appeared, and for evening wear, refined embroideries in rhinestones and glass beads offered unique solutions.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Wedge Shoe
Salvatore Ferragamo Wedge Shoe 1942-1944

Salvatore Ferragamo’s Most Famous Clients

During the 50’s the most famous actress used to go to Palazzo Spini Feroni as kings and presidents did. Audrey Hepburn, Duke of Windsor, Greta Garbo, Anna Magnani, Paulette Goddard, Lauren Bascal, and Sophie Loren. Salvatore meet all his clients personally and was able to satisfy all requests, even the most extravagant.

Even Marilyn Monroe was a client of Salvatore Ferragamo, wearing his famous decollete with an eleven centimeter heel. The shoes were very high, but comfortable considering Ferragamo invited the particular heel half in wood and steel, which was strong and thin.

Marilyn Monroe owned a lot of Ferragamo shoes that she bought at the New York store. She used to have ballet shoes, but she preferred décolleté that gave her a feminine walk.

Brand after 1960

Once Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960, his wife Wanda Miletti Ferragamo became the president of the maison and her six sons became responsible for the different sectors, from the creative direction to production, from distribution to the international markets and administration and finance.

Nowadays, Ferragamo’s family is leading the maison and because of this, it makes Ferragamo a very different family oriented Italian brand.

Brand Expansion From 1970s to early 2000s

During the 1970s, thanks to the initiative and preparation of Wanda, president of the company, the brand expanded and started offering total look collections. With fashion collections, men’s lines, perfumes, and eyeglasses, all of which gradually conquered the market.

In 1978 his daughter, Fiamma, designed the Vara shoe which became a best seller. Today, the Vara shoe is considered a Ferragamo iconic element.

Salvatore Ferragamo Iconic Decollete
Salvatore Ferragamo Iconic Decollete

In 1996, Ferragamo acquired Emanuel Ungaro, a luxury menswear line. Two years later the company turnover reached 850 billion liras, most of which came from Europe, U.S., the Far East, Africa, and Oceania. The company had 40 privately owned boutiques, plus several exclusive points-of-sale. Also, several of Salvatore’s grandchildren worked in the company.

Following the birth of the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, in Palazzo Spini Feroni, the company has committed itself to art exhibits and cultural activities, not just as a sponsor or patron.

The French designer Marc Audibet creates the new Fall/Winter 2000-2001 collection. During this time, Leonardo Ferragamo became president of Altagamma, an association founded in 1992 and composed by 43 famous Italian brands.

World-Wide Expansion

New Openings

In 2001 the company introduced its world-wide expansion plans, created by architect Michael Gabellini, to renovate, or open, a total of 100 boutiques. The renovations were to gain a still more sophisticated architectural style. A new store opens in Korea, in a prestigious commercial area of Seoul. The store occupies a four-storey building with a garden-terrace on the roof.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Seoul Store Opening
Seoul Store Opening 2001

In 2002 Ferragamo opened a new shop in the historical center of Vienna, close to the Castle of Homburg. From 2003, they opened new stores in New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam and London.

The 2001 consolidated turnover was €641 million, and 46% came from the Far East.


The year of 2002 was full of good news and satisfaction.  Then, beginning in June, Ferragamo starts a joint venture with Ermenegildo Zegna for the launch of the new brand Zefer, which ended later in 2013.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Zefer Brand
Salvatore Ferragamo Zefer Brand

Later, Wanda Ferragamo, the president of the company, is named “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” by the “Committee of 200,” an organization that each year recognizes the top women managers and entrepreneurs all over the world. The ceremony took place in New York. The citation: “For success in the transformation of a shoe factory into an international luxury concern, in which the family maintains total control of its own flourishing business…”

The same year, Ferragamo was recognized as the best brand in China. Asia was the continent where the brand used to sell more in 2002.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Wanda Ferragamo 2002
Wanda Ferragamo 2002

New Creative Director

In 2002 Donna Graeme Black was nominated as the creative director and she remained until 2007.

In 2003 Salvatore Ferragamo entered the watch market.

Salvatore Ferragamo Watch 2003
Salvatore Ferragamo Watch 2003

Since 2004 the worldwide expansion plan is well under way. The distribution network had 16 new points-of-sale, including the important new boutiques in Osaka, Hong Kong (Pacific Place). Also, stores in Shanghai Center (China), Paris (Avenue Montaigne), and Milan (via Montenapoleone) are re-opened after renovations. The Salvatore Ferragamo Group closed the year with a consolidated turnover of €549 million, an increase of 5% to the year before.

In May of 2005, as part of the Fashion Project of the Province of Florence, with attendance by a large international public, Palazzo Strozzi hosts the fashion show in a memorable evening organized by Beppe Modenese. Then, starting in June 2005, Ferragamo Finanziaria enters a long-term agreement with the Porsche Design group to foresee the production and distribution of shoes, bags, and leather accessories.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Florence Store
Salvatore Ferragamo Florence Store

In 2006 new shops in Via Condotti were opened in Rome and Frankfurt. In November of the same year, Michele Norsa became Ferragamo’s new CEO. His managerial mind led the company to expand more and more, exploring new markets such as India, Latin America and Thailand.

Recent Years

A year later, after a new CEO, Cristina Ortiz, was appointed as creative director for the womenswear line from 2007 and stayed till 2010. In 2008 Salvatore Ferragamo company celebrates their 80th anniversary with an exhibition in Shanghai. One year later, the company renewed the license with Luxottica for the production of glasses and sunglasses under the name Salvatore Ferragamo.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Anniversary Shanghai
Anniversary Exhibition Shanghai

Later, in January of 2010 Massimiliano Giornetti, current chief creative director of menswear, becomes creative director for the womenswear line. His role lasted until 2015.

Ferragamo officially become a part of Milan stock exchange in 2011. At this time, profits rose around 70% to €103.3 millions.

Through 2013 Ferragamo focused on accessories, in addition to footwear. In early October, they began to target a younger generation by using an “innovative” digital campaign and revamping physical stores. Also, continuing to renovate  stores in existing markets in Europe and the U.S. to boost profitability in its retail division.

Ferragamo reported a 81% rise in Net profits to €81 million in the first half of 2013. The revenues are outside the Italian market, which has struggled to emerge from recession.

Financial Evolution

Their world-wide expansion plan are a success. As of 31 December 2014, the Salvatore Ferragamo Group has posted total revenues of €1.332 million and a 5.9% increase at current exchange rates. At this time, political tensions in Russia and Ukraine reduced the number of shoppers traveling from the region to Europe lead to decreasing number of sales in some cities through Europe. The Asia Pacific region is the best performer with 37.2% of sales.

Salvatore Ferragamo open new shops in less well-known cities Yantai in China, Surabaya in Indonesia, and Cartagena in Colombia. They continued to renovate stores in Europe and U.S. including Miami and Rome. Also, they reopened in San Francisco, on the west coast of America which is a popular destination for holidaying Chinese shoppers.

Salvatore Ferragamo continues to meet challenges due to a weaker euro, lower oil prices, and economic weakness in China. Also, United States, as a strong dollar hits tourist flows, have weighed on several luxury goods companies in recent months. By contrast, Japan has a strong performance thanks to Chinese tourists. The Asia Pacific area, the biggest market, experienced a 2% increase in sales in the first nine months of 2014. Revenues were up 7% from a year earlier, thanks to a 8% increase in the fourth quarter of 2015.

In 2016 revenues total €1.438 billion.

Current Scenario

Currently, Salvatore Ferragamo is going through major changes. In August 2016 Eraldo Poletto was appointed as CEO, who used to work for Furla. Also, 3 new creative directors have been hired after the departure of Massimiliano Giornetti. This includes Guillaume Meilland for menswear, along with Paul Andrew for Women shoes, and Fulvio Rigoni for Woman’s-Ready-to-Wear.

In October 2017 after the departure of Fulvio Rigoni, Paul Andrew is appointed Creative Director of the Women’s Collection.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Eraldo Poletto
CEO Eraldo Poletto

The brand now focuses on creating unique and exciting campaigns to bring back its positioning of industry leader it once had in the WWII era.

Ferragamo’s designs will live forever. The classic décolleté is always in style and most women’s go to shoe. The brand is known as the exemplary ideal shoe for women. It strives to be excellent in terms of quality, by keeping the production, and standard of craftsmanship, exceptional.


The Origin

Line of men’s and women’s shoes manufactured by Nuova Centauro. The firm, whose focus is the comparison between tradition (in style and technique) and innovation, was established with the name Centauro in 1947 by the brothers Luigi and Dino Guardiani in Montegranaro, Italy in the Marche region. In 1972 Alberto Guardiani, Dino’s son, took over the business, at a moment when Dino was the sole proprietor.

Alberto Guardiani Men Shoes
Alberto Guardiani Men’s Shoes

In 1980 Alberto renamed the company, Alberto Guardiani, launched a women’s line and, while maintaining production of the firm’s classic items. Also, he launched Low Tide, a brand aimed at young people and the sports market.

In 1999 in Montegranaro, Ascoli Piceno, the company built a vertically integrated plant that could design, cut, and assemble garments, with an atelier for the finishing touch.

Alberto Guardiani Development

February 27, 2007 Alberto Guradiani opened a new showroom at 29 Corso Venezia in Milan. The showroom is in an 18th-century building that was originally a monastery where pilgrims could stay and was later turned into a residence by the Calzoni-Sforza family. It is an ideal stage for Alberto Guardiani’s style, a poetic landscape for exclusive goods and an expression of democratic luxury.

Also, in 2007 the brand opened a new store in Piazza di Spagna in Rome and a year later in Naples. “This is the first step on a tight agenda that will see, by February 2008, the opening of two further single-brand stores in Italy, another two important pieces in our retail development plan. So far, there are 11 single-brand shops across the world”, explained Alberto Guardiani.

In March 2009 the brand released the Eiffel Tour limited edition collection to celebrate 120 years off the symbol in Paris. To celebrate, Alberto Guardiani signs a limited edition where a Eiffel Tour shines on the black patent leather like the sky of a Parisian night.

Icon: Lipstick Heel

Alberto Guardiani Lipstick Heel
Alberto Guardiani Lipstick Heel

Alberto Guardiani’s lipstick heel is a pump with a lipstickshaped heel. It is both a shoe and an icon that draws inspiration from the great stars of the past and the present. It plays with the glamorous and provocative atmosphere of La Dolce Vita, symbolised by Anita Ekberg’s sensual ruby lips.

Current Situation

Today, the brand is run by Alberto Guardiani and Rossella Beato Guardiani. In 2016 Serena Guardiani, daughter of Alberto and granddaughter of founder Dino, has been appointed creative director of the brand’s women’s collections. Serena graduated from Milan’s Istituto Marangoni and joins her elder sisters Rubina and Guya within the company.

Alberto Guardiani SS 2018
Alberto Guardiani Spring/Summer 2018


Cesare Paciotti was founded in 1948 by Giuseppe and Cecilia Paciotti, in Italy where the company specialized in high quality handmade shoes.


  1. The Origin
  2. First Shoe Collection & Menswear
  3. The Dagger
  4. Paciotti 4US
  5. Exhibitions
  6. A Hard Time
  7. Current Situation

The Origin

Cesare Paciotti is a shoe designer from Italy born in 1958, but he did not start the business that bears his name. The shoe business, which was first named Paris, was founded in 1948 by his parents, Giuseppe and Cecilia Paciotti, in Civitanova Marche. The company specialized in high quality handmade shoes.

Cesare Paciotti Founder Portrait in Office
Cesare Paciotti Portrait in Office

At an early age Cesare learned from his parents the mastery of Italian shoemaking and created sketches and prototypes. He went to DAMS University in Bologna then inherited the business from his father in 1980. At this time, they renamed the business Cesare Paciotti and he became the creative director, while his sister Paola managed the company matters.

First Shoe Collection & Menswear

In the beginning of the 80s he created his first shoe collection. Also, his men’s line, with its nonconformist designs and outrageous advertising campaigns, stood out in what was a traditional and conservative field. Innovation and high quality are combined with strong geometric shapes and the prolific use of metallic accessories. At the same time Gianni Versace, Romeo Gigli and Dolce Gabbana, asked them to craft their shoes.

Cesare Paciotti Commercial in 1992
Campaign in 1992

At the beginning of the 1990s he launched a women’s collection and the highly recognisable stiletto heel, creating extremely feminine shoes. A few seasons he created a range of handbags, cases, backpacks, hats, and overnight bags. In 1998 he launched a range of eyewear. In 2001 the year closed with a turnover of €49 million, an increase of €13 million from the previous year.

The Dagger

Cesare Paciotti Iconic High Heels with Logo
Iconic Stiletto with Logo

The brand’s strong personality is symbolised by the dagger, whose hilt bears the designer’s initials creating an unmistakable logo for the maison.

Paciotti 4Us

Cesare Paciotti 4US Collection
4US Collection

In 2002 the brand launched the new collection “Paciotti 4Us”. The brand was one of the 40 Italian exhibitors participating in WSA International in Las Vegas, one of the most important fairs for the US shoe market. Launch of a handkerchief shaped bag called Ebe, like the “servant” of the gods charged with pouring out ambrosia at banquets. Ebe was in canvas, chamois leather, tassel and straw, with a leather or rattan handle.


In February 2003 The New York Fashion Institute of Technology Museum celebrated Cesare Paciotti’s shoes, along with Gucci handbags, and hundreds of other designer pieces, in the exhibition Italy, in the Life Styles. From May to August Cesare Paciotti’s more classic footwear was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in Goddess. This was an exhibition exploring and underlining the influence of Classical dress on fashion of the last three centuries, through a collection of hundreds of garments, prints, and photographs from 1800 to the present day.

A Hard Time

Over the years, Cesare Paciotti’s lines expanded further: in 2007, jewelry and watches made their debut, then a collection of underwear and swimwear in 2008. The intense activity of public relations led Cesare Paciotti to join numerous celebrities, who became testimonials for the campaigns of the brand. In the meantime, the expansion of the retail network continued with the opening of stores and in-franchising stores in China, Dubai and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

But in 2013 the Paciotti company goes into crisis. This crisis is connected to the collapse of the internal market and a huge sum that the company should have received by usual Italian customers that did not pay their debt with Paciotti because of the recession. Two-thirds of the company were based on the turnover in sales in Italy, but the local market, with the collapse in sales, was greatly reduced.

Cesare Paciotti Commercial 2013
Advertising Campaign 2013

After a strong period of deep recession, the Paciotti company feels the need to continue its activities relaunching the brand, despite the financial blockade that has suffered in recent years. The company has had the support from the suppliers, who trusted Paciotti even in such a delicate moment.

Current Situation

In October 2017, Paciotti collaborated with Slovenian-Italian stylist Ada Kokosar, and launched a capsule collection called Paciotti by Midnight. This collection is inspired from Cinderella’s glass slippers and Marie Antoinette’s lavish style. All of this collection are covered in PVC, which allow you to wear these satin shoes in the rain.

Cesare Paciotti Paciotti by Midnight Collaboration
Paciotti by Midnight Collaboration

Today, Paciotti S.p.A. aims not only to a growth in sales in the Italian market, but also in foreign markets, such as Russia and East, whose revenues have increased 32-65%. In addition to a revival in new markets, there has also been an internal restructuring, with 120 employees in Civitanova Marche, a few flagship stores and a particular attention to e-commerce, with sales increased by 3.5%. The Paciotti family has decided to invest everything to save the house, symbol of luxury shoes made in Italy.


Casadei is an Italian luxury brand that designs and manufactures stylish footwear including pumps, sandals, platforms, sneakers, boots and accessories.


  1. The Origin: Quinto and Flora Casadei
  2. First Platform Shoe
  3. The Famous Casadei Pump
  4. Second Generation
  5. Brand Expansion
  6. 50th Anniversary
  7. Current Situation

The Origin: Quinto and Flora Casadei

Casadei is an Italian shoe factory that was established in S. Mauro Pascoli, Forlì Italy at the end of the 1950s as an artisanal workshop with particularly skilled production. The brand journey as the global footwear leader is anything but ordinary. If you see their success trajectory from an aerial overview, you’ll find that their growth arc is streaked with design excellence and entrepreneurial gut.

The label’s quest for age defying and bold designs began in the year 1958. Quinto and Flora Casadei are the protagonists of Casadei’s spirited tale of two cordwainers who made footwear for the inbound tourists in the eastern Italian coastline. Together, they built the legacy of their humble shoe label in a workshop of two. Tucked away in San Mauro Pascoli in Forli, the provincial town of Romagna Rivera, the Casadei pair brought in the beginning of a new art form of shoe-making, in a region primarily known for agriculture and renaissance frescos.

Casadei Fall/Winter 1963 Campaign
Casadei Fall/Winter 1963 Campaign

The 1960s saw the development of a more formal business structure, the beginning of exports to Europe, the U.S. and the Far East, and the start of a full-fledged line dedicated to evening wear and a Collection of bags. By the late sixties, the whispers of Casadei’s detailed luxury spread beyond the Italian frontiers. After dressing feet of strangers on vacation with their exotic offerings, the family-run business expanded in terms of production scale and international presence. The company gained structure and channelled its focus on catering exports to larger sections of European market as well as the United States of America.

First Platform Shoe

They elevated a level above from their initial line of sandals and launched the first series of platform shoes, a popular and trendy choice in the eccentric decade of the ‘60s. Early seventies allowed the two shoemakers to shift their base from the homely workshop to an industrial facility. This change triggered the journey of a new kind of shoe-speech.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Casadei Shoes Fall 1971 Campaign
Casadei Shoes Fall 1971 Campaign

Taking the platforms as their prototype, they experimented with the idea of lace-up and slip-on generation of platforms. Further, they added a dose of bravery in design by creating a line of platforms covered with fabrics sporting delicate embroidery. Later, they switched gears to introduce an era of leather pumps balanced on low flared heels.

By the end of the seventies, their instinctual understanding of versatility and utility kicked in with the earliest version of Casadei boots that can be zipped down from thigh-high, to knee-high and finally to short booties. With a new prototype in market to be tried on, they also expanded their presence in Asian market. By 1977 they were now open for business in the Japanese market.

The Famous Casadei Pump

Casadei pumps from the 80s
Casadei pumps from the 80s

In the early eighties, the label expanded its operation to the Middle East. After the roaring feat in the feet fantasy expedition with their boots and platform shoes, Casadei turned to the category of pumps. Their rendition of pumps saw an imaginative exploration with polka dots and velour tulle, finished with high conical leather heels dipped in golden hue.

In a matter of no time, the pumps secured a spot in their hall of fame, and till date is considered an iconic product by the label. Designed to adapt the graceful curves of the feminine feet, the label continues to dabble with different fabrics, finishes and embroideries to create newer identities with passage of time. Towards the end of the eighties, the label was quick to adapt to the sportswear trend by building a dictionary of hybrid sneakers and football boots with heels.

Second Generation

Cesare Casadei Portrait in Office
Cesare Casadei Portrait in Office

Like most family-run operations, every company witnesses the arrival of a new protagonist in the story. For Casadei it was appointment of Quinto and Flora’s son, Cesare Casadei, as the next creative director of the business. Cesare took office in 1994 to continue Casadei’s ongoing journey. Cesare’s first-hand experience in production amplified the promotion of their ‘Made In Italy’ brand image at an international level. Cesare’s arrival also marked the beginning of unisex styles. Subsequently, he also signed off the manufacturing of casual footwear, each spectacular in their own regard.

Spring/Summer 1995 Campaign. Photographed by: Nick Knight
Spring/Summer 1995 Campaign. Photographed by: Nick Knight

In early 2000s, the label made a decision to relocate its Milanese showroom to Via dell’Annunciata, that was eventually remodelled to become the Milan headquarter for the company. At this time, the brand became a favourite amongst a growing mass of celebrities. Hollywood’s A-listers were photographed wearing Casadei iconic creations, making the label become a significant name to be reckon with in the fashion circuit. Casadei also became a popular choice for various fashion publications when globally recognised photography talents shot the brand’s advertising campaigns.

Brand Expansion

Casadei Flagship Store London
Casadei Flagship Store London

In October 2002 the company, which employs 200 people, opened a new single-brand shop in the heart of London, at no. 12 Beauchamp Place, in the Knightsbridge section. In the firm’s worldwide activity, Italy is the second market after the U.S., and has 400 points-of-sale, 4 of which are single-brand shops (Milan, Florence, Rimini, and Ferrara). With Germany, it is the most important in Europe. Two more boutiques are opened in Russia, in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The company’s choices for expansion are supported by the excellent turnover, which in 2001 reached €32,604 million, an increase of 14.82% in comparison to the previous year.

The Federation Of Italian Footwear in 2004 launched a limited edition of postage stamps to celebrate and commemorate the legacy of Casadei. This very move reflected a mark of respect for an Italian label that represents the ideology of fashion forward footwear.

50th Anniversary

Casadei turned 50 in the year 2008. To commemorate the brand’s half a century worth of eye-catching designs and artisanal glory, photographer Ellen Von Unwerth was called on board. The result culminated itself in a grand book featuring Casadei’s footwear through the years, followed by an exhibition at Milan’s La Triennale. Together, they encompassed the celebratory tones of the brand’s golden jubilee.

50th Anniversary Party Exhibition. Photographs Featured By: Ellen Von Unwerth
50th Anniversary Party Exhibition. Photographs Featured By: Ellen Von Unwerth

With every progressing year the label opened its door to a new territory. The beginning of 2010s sees Casadei launching into a full throttle mode in the landscape of brand expansion, with the opening of boutiques in Rome, Cannes, Dubai, Casablanca and finally in New York. Apart from expansion, the year 2010 itself marked the momentous presentation of Casadei heels and shoes during the Milan Fashion Week.

After conquering the brick and mortar setups, the label discovered the digital world with the launch of their website in 2012, followed by the arrival of their e-commerce boutique in 2013.  Later in 2015, Cesare Casadei and Architect Marco Costanzi gave Milan its first footwear concept store, followed by the unveiling of a new boutique in the exclusive Albemarle Street, Mayfair London. In the same year, the company re-launches its online shopping portal, a step taken in the direction of establishing new aesthetics and vision.

Current Situation

Casadei Famous Blade Stiletto Campaign 2016
The Famous Blade Stiletto Campaign 2015

Casadei kickstarted 2017 with the Super Bowl game in United States of America. Lady Gaga, who was chosen to deliver the prestigious half-time performance was spotted in the famous Casadei blade stilettos during the pre-game show. Also, Victoria Beckham is frequently seen wearing the Blade Stiletto, a favorite of celebrities because its claimed to be the comfiest of all brands.

Till date, Casadei continues to be a story of an entrepreneurial swiftness and smartness, one that is hallmarked by expert craftsmanship and well sought-out innovation. It is a testimony of Italian heritage and vision, all summed up with gracious use of vibrant colours, blended with artisanal values.


In 1953, Renzo Rossetti, along with his brother Renato, opened their first shoe factory in Parabiago, which later developed into their brand known as Fratelli Rossetti.


  1. The Origin: Renzo & Renato Rossetti
  2. Signature Moccasin Brera
  3. the Flexa Shoe
  4. The Fratelli Rossetti Family
    1. Renzo Rossetti Museum
  5. Brand Development
  6. Current Situation

The Origin: Renzo & Renato Rossetti

In 1953, Renzo Rossetti, along with his brother Renato, opened their first shoe factory in Parabiago, which later developed into their brand known as Fratelli Rossetti. Then, the company was officially established in 1955 by the Rossetti brothers, who were born in Sanguinetto, near Verona. The brothers first created sport shoes then moved on to formal shoes.

Fratelli Rossetti Founder Renzo Rossetti
Founder Renzo Rossetti

Renzo began working at the age of 13, and was a typographer, mechanical draftsman, and artisanal producer of shoes for cyclists. Success came through the artisanal perfection. Renzo exclaims,

“We have always worked as if we had to personally answer to the customer for every pair of shoes we sell him.”

This includes innovation applied to a classic style. In the book I Mass-Moda. Fatti e Personaggi dell’Italian Look (Spinelli Publishers, 1979), Adriana Mulassano says “Men, poor things, as to shoes, were really in a bad way.” The market wouldn’t offer anything other than laced shoes with fringes and ‘derbies’, in black or brown calfskin. There were no new seasonal styles and no imagination. And so they started: the banning of laces, the promotion of loafers, the launch of the first very soft unlined shoes to be worn in summer without socks, the marketing of boots, higher heels, and the introduction of colors through an ageing process that would make them more acceptable.

Signature Moccasin Brera

Fratelli Rossetti Iconic Brera Shoes
Iconic Brera Moccasin

In 1961, their signature moccasin, Brera, was created. Success was such that in 1966 Fratelli Rossetti was forced to expand and build a very modern production plant.

In the 70’S, Fratelli Rossetti, collaborated with the much celebrated Italian designers like Valentino, Armani, and Pierre Cardin, combining creativity and production results.

The first women’s line was created in 1973. Single-brand boutiques followed one after another in Genoa, Venice, Milan (at via Matteotti-via Montenapoleone), Bari, Rome, Paris, and Chicago. Diego, Renzo’s son, joined the family business in 1978. Under his direction, Fratelli Rossetti was the first Italian fashion label to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. Today he is company Chairman.

Dario began working in the style department in 1981, he attended an artistic university with courses for shoemaking. He is an art lover who collects antiques and is passionate about vintage cars and searching for inspiration for new creations to add to the collections. In the Nineties, Luca graduated from Milan’s Bocconi University, and was already involved in the management side of the business. At this time, all three brothers were involved in the business.

The Flexa Shoe

They recently created the Flexa shoe, a 18 piece hand-assembled which adjust to the foot’s movement thanks to unusual flexibility and a removable foot-strap.

The historic shoe factory in Parabiago, near Milan manufactures more than 400,000 pairs of shoes a year, with a turnover that in the late 1990s was about 70 billion liras. Some 50% of the production is sold in Italy and the rest is exported. Each year about 10% goes to the U.S., where the company has been active for more than twenty years and where, in June 1999, it opened a large showroom on Madison Avenue in New York.

Fratelli Rossetti Flexa Shoes
Flexa Shoes

In May 2002 the Flexa Sailing model is created at the explicit request of Mascalzone Latino (Latin Scoundrel), the Italian boat competing in the America’s Cup. It has all the characteristics requested by the team members. The first prototypes are tested by the crew during training at Elba and in Auckland. The model goes on sale in July 2002 in two versions: the Flexa Sailing Professional, with the same technical standards as the shoe worn by the crew in the America’s Cup, and Flexa Sailing, less high-tech, for fans of sailing in general. The shoe is available in red and blue, the colors of Mascalzone Latino, and in a sand color.

In November, shoes, ankle boots, and desert boots are created in the brightest colors: red, green, and yellow; flats and heels are created for singing and dancing. In the same style as the costumes by Elisa Savi, these shoes have been designed by the Rossetti brothers for the American musical Fiddler on the Roof, which received three Oscars in its film version and had more than 3,000 performances on Broadway in New York, in London, and in Japan.

The Fratelli Rossetti Family

By 2003 the company employs 260 workers, and is one of the most important in the field regarding turnover, number of employees, and international image. The entire ownership is still in the hands of the Rossetti family. The president of the group is Renzo Rossetti, who sets long-term strategy. His three sons have other operating functions: Diego, 46, in the company for more than twenty years, is the marketing and commercial director and coordinates all the communication activities in Italy and abroad; Dario, 44, in the company for more than ten years, follows coordination, planning, modeling, and purchases; Luca, 37, a graduate of the Bocconi University in Milan, is the general manager.

The Fratelli Rossetti Brothers
The Rossetti Brothers

In February 2003 Fratelli Rossetti opens its first outlet space in Foxtown, a large multi-brand store in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The strategy chosen by Fratelli Rossetti at the beginning has not changed over the years and can be summed up in a concept that is still extremely effective even today: maximum harmony between technology and tradition, maximum equilibrium between quality and price. At this time in Italy, there are 13 boutiques. Abroad, the company’s main locations are in New York, Paris, London, Brussels, and Hong Kong.

Renzo Rossetti Museum

"One Collection" From Fratelli Museum
“One Collection” From Fratelli Museum

Renzo Rossetti opens his own museum with a rich collection of ethnic shoes accumulated over a period of 50 years in Parabiago. He began the collection at an early age, before World War II, and very much desired to see it have its own space. The museum can be visited by appointment. It has 3,000 pairs of shoes that are perfectly maintained.

Brand Development

In 2005 after the opening of a third boutique in Paris, on Rue de Grenelle, comes the début of a new franchise store in Dubai. The company has a turnover of €55 million in 2004.

In 2004 and 2008, they opened a franchise store in Dubai. As China started being the new luxury market, 2010 saw the brand opening its stores in China.  

In 2008 Fratelli Rossetti, by now a golobal brand, reinforced its international strategy by investing in the Asian market with the opening of a store in Hong Kong, followed by the opening of sales locaitons in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen. In 2010 the group closed out the year with 14% growth in revenue with respect to 2009 (72 million in sales). In 2011 it grew another 10% with respect to the previous year.

In 2011, Fratelli Rossetti collaborated with the Californian Designer George Esquivel, combining the quality of the brand with the innovative colour matches, for their Spring/Summer collection. The same year itself, a virtual store was launched for online sales. In 2012,  the brand teamed up with NBC Sports for Super Bowl, providing commentators covering the football event with footwear.

Fratelli Rossetti "Made to Measure"Fratelli Rossetti “Made to Measure”

In the same year itself, they launched ‘made to measure’ service. Fratelli Rossetti launched a limited  edition collection for the online platform shoescribe. The ‘Toledo Experience’ was a live show to the audience showcasing the famous hand-colouring technique, happened at the Montenapoleone in Milan in 2013. To strengthen the brand’s presence in Far East, a 100 square meter store in Taiwan was opened, in the Mall of Taipei in the same year.

Current Situation

Fratelli Rossetti 2017 Campaign
Fratelli Rossetti 2017 Campaign

In 2015, the brand proposed ‘A tribute to Brera’ their iconic moccasin. The same year  the brand introduced Dandy, the derby in mirror versions. Also, #sexyinflats was a project done, dedicated to women who can feel sexy even without their heels on.  The year was closed with a turnover of €72 million year, which was 4% higher than the previous year, showing the brand has the correct direction for growth.

Fratelli Rossetti, has an aim for 2018, which is to expand itself by opening 11 stores in China. With a wide presence, the brand has expanded while retaining its values and at the same time catering to the changing demands of the fashion and the consumer.


Car Shoe is a trademark founded in 1963 by Gianni Mostile’s patent. Read the history of the brand now part of the Prada Group.


  1. The Origins
  2. Car Shoe Enters the Prada Group
  3. The Recent Year’s

The Origins

The Car Shoe brand was founded in 1963, when the Italian Ministry of Industry and Commerce recognized Gianni Mostile’s patent of an absolutely innovative shoe model. The moccasin with a perforated sole made of tiny rubber blocks. Known as a shoe for motorists, but later becomes a fashion accessory of great comfort and convenience.

Car Shoe Enters the Prada Group

Car Shoe Details
Details 2016 Collection

In April 2001, the Prada Group acquired the majority of Car Shoe SA, and became the owner. The intention is to preserve and revitalize the brand through the original style and quality of the “driving” model, conceived by the founder in the 1960s.

The first Car Shoe store was designed by Roberto Baciocchi and opened on Via della Spiga 50 in Milan on March 5, 2001. Afterwards, they opened the Capri and Rome outlets. In 2010 the brand expands its retail network in Asia and opens its first flahsgip store in Signapore, in the prestigious Ion Orchard Mall. The same year, they strengthen their presence in Asia with the opening of another store in Hong Kong. In December 2011, the brand opened its first UK store in London on New Bond Street. In November of the following year, the brand opened in Dubai in the prestigious “Dubai Mall- Level Shoe District”. The last opening, in July 2013, is in Forte dei Marmi.

The Recent Year’s

Car Shoe Fall/Winter 2016 Collection
Fall/Winter 2016 Collection

In June 2010, the Prada Group acquired total control of Car Shoe, recognizing the minority stake by its shareholder. In 2012, the new ecommerce site is launched. Then, launches its social profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

In 2013, at the 50th anniversary celebration, Car Shoe launched a new driving model in collaboration with Lamborghini Automobiles. The same year the brand launches the Driver’s Club, a space dedicated to lifestyle and tradition inspired by the passion for driving. For the September 2013 edition of Goodwood’s Revival Festival, the historic car race, Car Shoe has designed an original temporary store at Goodwood High Street, West Sussex, for the duration of the festival.

In 2014, the brand introduces “Car Shoe Bulletins”, travel notes that travel through the most iconic streets in the world.