Private Preview 2003: Sole Searching

<< Back to Robb Report, October 2002
  • William Kissel

Andrea Artioli has spent the past few years devising a way to bring breathability and enhanced comfort to his custom- and ready-made Artioli footwear. The secret, says the third-generation Italian shoemaker, is an air pump embedded inside the sole. As you walk, it pumps fresh air through perforated openings to the foot’s hot spots. A pressure-relief valve on the other side of the sole continuously moves stale air and excess moisture out of the shoe and away from the foot.

Utilizing technology similar to Shock Air, which was developed by comfort shoemaker Stonefly, Artioli’s Breathing Air footwear is the first luxury dress shoe collection to include such features. “Even though the sole is prefabricated in pure rubber, the shoe is still produced in an artisan way,” says Artioli.

The new collection, priced from $500 to $2,200, will be crafted in the company’s 57-year-old factory in Ferrara, near Bologna, using the finest napa, baby alligator, and perfo-rated kangaroo. “Kangaroo is the most elastic form of leather, so even if a shoe is not custom-made, the leather adjusts to the shape of the foot,” Artioli explains. “The sole is also constructed to neutralize the vibration created from walking, so it acts like a shock absorber, which is great for people with chronic back pain.” The collection will launch in early 2003 at Battaglia in Beverly Hills, Stanley Korshak in Dallas, and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.

As Artioli turns to cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the feel of fine footwear, others are turning to the past to recapture the heirloom quality once characteristic of fine men’s shoes. Sutor Mantellassi of Florence, Italy, will employ an old dyeing process known as delavée, the French word for bleaching, which gives new shoes an antique finish. The company’s master colorist, Paola Gavagna, uses a multistep procedure, in which she applies dye to a finished twisted calf leather shoe and then strategically strips it off with alcohol-soaked cloths. This dyeing and dabbing process is repeated until the perfect balance of striated color is achieved.

“The use of old-world techniques handed down for generations gives our shoes a soul; one can find in them the same charisma that one finds in an antique,” says manager Luca Mantellassi, noting that the collection, called Oasis, incorporates the ancient hand-welting technique for which all Mantellassi shoes are known. The new collection will be priced at a relatively modest $695 per pair.

Fratelli Rossetti is also feeling nostalgic, as evidenced by its resurrection of two-tone spectator styles from the last century. Rossetti, which was the first to produce brown loafers in the 1950s, will introduce a collection of two-tone kid leather and canvas wingtip lace-ups, cap-toed brogues, and penny loafers inspired by footwear from the 1920s and 1930s. That same retro sensibility will be integrated into designer Alberta Serantoni’s vintage spectator-inspired Glove Shoe collection, which will be sold under Samsonite’s upscale Black Label brand. Once more in fashion, everything old is new again.

Artioli, +39.331.841322, www.artioli.com
Fratelli Rossetti, 212.888.5107, www.rossetti.it
Samsonite Black Label, 800.262.8282
Sutor Mantellassi, 888.996.7555, www.sutormantellassi.com

From Around the Web...
Holderness & Bourne’s collection features an array of shirts in both traditional cotton blends and moisture-wicking fabrics
Holderness & Bourne’s designs give the classic golf shirt a much-needed update…
The menswear guru gives us the inside scoop on 5 little-known brands deserving of a spot in your...
From white pants to a dusty pink suit, these are the five pieces to add to your wardrobe this...
Santoni Colours-to-Order customization process
Design your own pair of custom Santoni monk straps at the Colours-to-Order trunk show in NYC…
Slowear Montedoro ($825)
Round out your blazer collection with an expertly tailored wrinkle- and stain-resistant sport coat…
P. Johnson
The new collection from P. Johnson brings the Land Down Under’s laid-back attitude to bespoke...
Corthay Arca Shoes ($1,750)
The ultimate guide to keeping your shoes looking like new from the footwear fanatic behind Leffot…
Form meets function with five high-design windbreakers from brands like Prada and Ralph Lauren…
From small boutiques to stylish restaurants, discover what these fashion capitals have to offer…
The men’s Spring Summer 2017 looks included tawny leather jackets, ocean-blue separates, and pops of sunny yellow
The iconic French fashion house debuted a range of refreshing new designs in the City of Angels…