Robb Design Portfolio: At the Foot of the Master

The creations for the human foot from Silvano Lattanzi, the master of Italian shoemaking, display a brilliant palette of hues drawn from his observations and travels. Whether it’s the inner fire of a Mediterranean blue, or the weathered red of an ancient brick wall, Lattanzi finds inspiration in beauty of all types—both natural and man-made. These patinas and textures, when applied to his supple canvas of leather, yield compositions of extraordinary vibrancy and variety, texture and shape.

But the beauty of Lattanzi’s footwear is more than skin deep. Handmade by his staff of more than a dozen craftsmen in the village of Sant’Elpidio a Mare, near Ancona, Italy, each pair of shoes is essentially a privately commissioned masterpiece. After being measured—whether on site or at the boutiques on Rome’s Via Bocca di Leone or in Milan—clients’ feet are carefully modeled in wood to make lasts, which Lattanzi and his shoemakers use to complete the finished product. Clients may choose from more than 50 styles, some traditional, others the result of unexpected inspirations—the lines of a sports car, for instance. A full complement of materials is available as well: Lattanzi works in English calfskin, cordovan (fashioned from split horsehide), ostrich, lizard, snakeskin, and crocodile. Lattanzi’s talents won’t be rushed: The whole process can take up to six weeks. Shoes range in price from $3,000 to $8,000—on the whole, a bargain for an original work of art.

Silvano Lattanzi, Rome: +39.06.6786119; Milan: +39.02.76023648

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