Shoemaker of dreams. The autobiography of Salvatore Ferragamo
Ferragamo, who was born in 1898, left school at the age of nine and learnt to make shoes from the local cobbler. At the age of 12 he talked his uncle into financing his first shop, a room in his house in Bonito (in the Campania region of Italy) that would open to the public on Sundays after church.
In 1914 Ferragamo moved to Boston to live with one of his brothers, who had a cowboy-boot factory, and by the 1920s he was making made-to-measure shoes in Hollywood. “In my shoes, [my clients] told me, they felt differently,” he wrote. “In mine they could walk without suffering, which is surely no more than the function of the shoes. In my shoes they were happy.”
There are 14,000 pairs of shoes in the archives of Salvatore Ferragamo, safely hidden away in the Palazzo Spini Feroni, the medieval fortress in Florence that now serves as the HQ of the Ferragamo family business.