“Drab-looking, working-class women rubbed shoulders with elegant ladies perched on wooden platform shoes. One of the most evocative street sounds in silent, war-time Paris was the click of these wooden shoes on the pavements. Platform sandals, which looked like the footwear of actors in classical Greek drama, were later to be revived by Yves Saint-Laurent.”

From: “Things I Remember” (Quadrangle, 1975) 

Paris during WWII
Photograph by André Zucca | Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris
© André Zucca / BHVP / Roger-Viollet

Original caption:
World War II. Bonded fibre shoes with wooden soles. Photograph by André Zucca (1897-1973). Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris.

A very interesting shoe: arch & heel assembly (predating Davin Levin by two years) mixed with the concept of the articulated sole, in short split platform. The manufacturer remains unknown but at lest the Parisian designer deserves some credit: enter Léandre Grégoire Renaldo about which nothing is known but being the creator of more than one outstanding design. Here Renaldo shares the credit with one Joseph Sciroppo.

1938 | Léandre Grégoire Renaldo & Joseph Sciroppo
Filed December 8, 1938 | Granted June 26, 1939
Source: IPEXL

The split platform concept was also patented five years later by Salvatore Ferragamo, but it is fair to say that Ferragamo introduced his split platform back in 1938 a few months before Leandre G. Renaldo, although the patent is nowhere to be found (for now) .

Salvatore Ferragamo
Patent granted April 20, 1943
Source: Archivio Centrale dello Stato

1943 | Salvatore Ferragamo
Multicolored wooden split platform wedge | carved and painted
Source: Archivi della Moda del Novecento

Raffia and wooden split platform
Source: DEA Picture Library - Alinari


[ 1 ]

The original caption of the autarchy wooden sandal reads:

Fashion, 20th century. Shoe with cork sole in use in the 1940s. DeA Picture Library, licensed by Alinari.

which mistook cork for wood and completely missed the point about the split platform. They also forgot to mention that the sandal belongs to the International Footwear Museum of Vigevano's collection. Another victim of the cruel analog-to-digital conversion.

[ 2 ]

Three years later Renaldo (without mr. Sciroppo) patented a simplified version and apparently it got noticed a few years later.

1941 | Léandre Grégoire Renaldo
Filed September 18, 1941 | Granted February 19, 1944
Source: INPI (Institute National de la Propriété Industrielle - France)

Hot on the heels of Léandre Grégoire Renaldo
Lanvin 2011
Alexander Wang S/S 2015
And countless others ...