(June 5, 1898 – August 7, 1960) was a Florentine
and Italian shoe designer
. He worked with many Hollywood stars in the 1920s, before returning to Italy to found the eponymous company
making unique hand-made footwear. His scientific and creative approach to shoes spawned many innovations such as the wedge heel and cage heel. Film stars and celebrities continue to patronize his company, which has evolved into a luxury goods
empire spanning the world.
Salvatore Ferragamo was born in 1898 in Bonito
, near Avellino
, the eleventh of 14 children. After making his first pair of shoes at age nine, for his sisters to wear at their confirmation
, young Salvatore decided that he had found his calling. He always had a passion for shoes. After studying shoemaking
in Naples for a year, Ferragamo opened a small store based in his parent's home. In 1914, he emigrated to Boston
, where one of his brothers worked in a cowboy boot factory.
After a brief stint at the factory, Ferragamo convinced his brothers to move to California, first Santa Barbara
then Hollywood. It was here that Ferragamo found success, initially opening a shop for repair and made-to-measure shoes, which 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 could not fathom why his shoes pleased the eye yet hurt the foot, so he... Read More