Salvatore Ferragamo, born in 1898 in Bonito, made his first pair of shoes at age nine for his sisters to wear on their confirmation. After young Salvatore decided that he had found his calling, he studied shoemaking in Naples for a year. Ferragamo opened his first small store in his parent's home. In 1914, he emigrated to Boston, where one of his brothers worked in a cowboy boot factory. After a briefly working at the factory, Ferragamo and his brothers to moved Santa Barbara then later to Hollywood. It was here that Ferragamo found success, opening a shoe repair shop and selling made-to-measure shoes. Ferragamo's shoes soon became prized items among celebrities of the day, leading to a long period of designing footwear for the cinema. However, his thriving reputation as "Shoemaker to the Stars" only partially satisfied him. He wanted his shoes not only to look good but also fit comfortably, so he proceeded to study anatomy at the University of Southern California. After spending thirteen years in the United States, Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927, this time settling in Florence. In Florence, he began to make shoes for the wealthiest and most powerful women of the century.
Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960, but his name lives on as an international company. The company that started in his parent's home has expanded its operations to include luxury shoes, bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes and a ready-to-wear clothing line. There is also a Salvatore Ferragamo Musuem in Florence that illustrates Ferragamo's artistic qualities and the important role he played in the history of shoe design and international fashion. Ferragmo's designs ranged from the strikingly bizarre objet d’art to the traditionally elegant. The musuem displays 10,000 models of shoes designed by Ferragamo from 1920-1960. Be sure to check out the Borough Vintage Salvatore Ferragamo Ballet Loafers by clicking the link below.
Ferragamo, "Shoemaker to the Stars", seen here with Audrey Hepburn
Feraggamo has been credited as the inventor of the caged heel seen above