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The Allure of Alligator

William Kissel

Hoping to revive interest in exotic-skin footwear, a look that originated in London more than 75 years ago, designer Domenico Vacca has introduced his first signature collection of men’s alligator footwear. Available in a variety of colors and shiny or matte finish, both the ready-made and bespoke shoes are designed in-house and produced by a prestigious Italian shoemaker. “I wanted to create modern shoes, like the double buckle or the Italian-style loafer, to give new life to classic alligator footwear,” says Vacca, whose tightly edited offering includes a distinctive square-shape, split-toe design offered in a lace-up, monk-strap, or dress loafer style. A twin-buckle monk strap and a round-toe blucher complete the collection ($4,900 to $6,300), many of which feature glove-soft leather sole construction. Vacca says beyond the color and finish all of the designs can be also be modified at the client’s request and take about six weeks to produce.

While Vacca has created alligator shoes and accessories since opening his initial Manhattan shop back in 2002, over the ensuing years the collection of exotic-skin bags, belts, and small leather goods has grown along with Vacca’s retail operation, which now includes six stores nationwide. At one point he even introduced a watch, made in collaboration with Jacob & Co. that included an alligator dial, as well as a made-to-order line of travel luggage and home furnishings, including club chairs, desks, and dining tables, covered entirely in the richly textured skin. All are still available at Vacca shops by special order. (212.759.6333, www.domenicovacca.com)

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Photo by Ted Morrison