Saturday, February 7, 2015

Top Shoe Designers in the 1920s

Top Shoe Designers in the 1920s

Fashion in the '20s was brave and modern; bare legs and opaque stockings were quickly becoming a norm, skirts were getting shorter and therefore shoes were clearly visible for the very first time. Women were not afraid to make a fashion statement, and footwear quickly became the new must-have accessory. Shoe designers of the '20s were heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement.

Andr Perugia - the Original Shoe Wizard

    Before Nicholas Kirkwood, before Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, a French man named Andr Perugia was the man to go to for show-stopping shoes. Indisputably one of the most influential shoe designers of 1920s, he was known for his experimental designs. He used new, and often exotic, materials for his masterpieces and was in constant pursuit of new, unseen-before shapes and forms. Born in 1893, in Nice, France, Perugia was only 16 when he opened his own shoe shop, but it was after World War I that his creativity really took off. He had to work in an aircraft factory during the war, and the engineering knowledge he gathered there turned his vision for shoes and shoe design upside down. It inspired some of his most memorable and experimental designs, such as a series of shoes with aerodynamic heels in steel alloy, as well as the heelless shoe.

    What makes Andr Perugia a true pioneer when it comes to shoe design is the fact that he saw and really understood that there is an intricate connection between the shoe, the heel and the body weight. He wanted the shoe to be comfortable as well as beautiful, saying "A pair of shoes must be perfect like an equation and adjusted to the millimeter like a motor piece."

Salvatore Ferragamo - "Shoemaker to the Stars"

    Many shoe designers of the '20s are now forgotten, but one name still stands for the ultimate quality in footwear: Salvatore Ferragamo. The Italian fashion designer started his career when he was 9 years old as a shoemaker apprentice. He moved to California at 16 to make cowboy boots but quickly found success making made-to- measure shoes for the Hollywood darlings of that time as well as for Warner Bros, Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and became known as "The shoemaker to the stars". Mary Pickford, Marilyn Monroe and even Eva Peron were among his star-studded clientele.

    10 years later he returned to Italy, Florence and started his own label designing shoes for the most powerful and rich people of that time. When it comes to shoe design, Salvatore Ferragamo was a true visionary, his designs were more like objects of art, with uppers made of unusual but high-quality materials in shapes and forms that were revolutionary for that time, including bejeweled heels. He is credited with originating the wedge heel, platform shoes and metal support in high heels. His most famous invention is the "cage heel" shoe, and one of his most innovative one was the "invisible shoe."

The Bottiers of Paris

    Andr Perugia and Salvatore Ferragamo were not the only shoe designers of the '20s. There were others whose names have disappeared over time or have been forgotten; this, however does not make them less important. Most of them were based in Paris, which was a shopping heaven at the time. These exclusive designers, known as "The Bottiers of Paris," designed exquisite shoes made out of the most deluxe materials. They used brocade, lace, painted silk, rhinestones and removable buckles and clasps. Amongst these designers were A Gillet, Sarkis del Balian and Julienne.

Top Shoe Manufacturers of the '20s

    Shoe designers were not the only ones who made a name for themselves in the footwear industry of the '20s. As the demand for modern shoes was growing, it was only natural that manufacturers soon followed suit and produced affordable footwear of whatever was in fashion. The biggest names in the footwear industry at the time were Edward Rayne of H & M. Rayne, the American Herman Delman of Delman Shoes and the French Maison Hellstern & Sons.

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