Friday, September 28, 2018


Fiamma Ferragamo passed away twenty years ago today.

When Salvatore Ferragamo knew he was dying, he had staff specially trained to help his brother and his 19-year old daughter Fiometta carry on the business. Now that he is dead, they have taken over. 
The Sidney Morning Herald | August 11, 1960

Salvatore and Fiamma Ferragamo
Not long before Salvatore’s death
Source: The Australian’s Women’s Weekly | January 4, 1961

“It seems my father knew he was going to die soon,” she told me sadly. “My mother and I wanted me to go to university to study languages when I left school. But my father said no. He insisted I come into the business and learn about it while he could teach me”. 
“For a year he took me everywhere with him, to the factories, the shops, the officies, to many countries - telling me all he knew. Then he became ill, and I had to take over. I used to come home at night, go to his bedroom and tell him what I had done. He would tell me my mistakes, and the best way to correct them.” 
“In March (1960) he told me I would have to design the autumn collection for him. When I finished I took the shoes into his bedroom. He picked up every pair and examined them closely without saying a word. When he looked at the last pair, he put them down carefully, and then looked up at me for the first time and said he was very pleased with the collection”. 
“I was very happy” 
Elsa Barker (from London) |  The Australian’s Women’s Weekly | January 4, 1961

1960 | Fiamma Ferragamo
Source: The Pittsburgh Press | November 12, 1960

And that was the beginning of a 38 year stint at the helm of the company: she managed a successful transition from what could have been a fatal blow and brought the brand into the new era.

1961 | Ferragamo at Saks Fifth Avenue
Source: Chicago Tribune | September 22, 1961



We can’t help but notice why no books, exhibitions or tribute - save for single products - were ever done to celebrate Fiamma’s work. We would certainly trade the nth book about Salvatore for a well researched one about her daughter. Wouldn’t you agree?

To tell the whole truth: a photographic book about Fiamma Ferragamo was published not long after her death, but it was a private press strictly for family and associates. Too little for the rest of us.

1962 | Ferragamo at Saks Fifth Avenue
Source: Chicago Tribune | September 14, 1962

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Monquignon | Insole label
Source: Shoe Icons

In 1896 Perchellet sold his activity to Denis and Alfred Monquignon. [4] 

The new owners were father and son, both cordonniers. There's a record of a Monquignon bottier in 1860, among the members of the Société Municipale de Secours Mutuels (9e arrondissement de Paris) operating in an area of the city[5]: it was Denis, the father, as Alfred-René Mounquignon was born the following year (1861).

In 1877 at sixteen, Alfred still worked with his father in Rue Lafayette, and later completed his apprentice at Mr. Ducret, another cordonnier. [6] 

A wedding shoe by Monquignon 
Vamp detail 
Source: Shoe Icons

Monquignon | Paris
a silk boot once owned by Jeanette Dwight Bliss
Source: Metmuseum

In 1882, Monquignon took part to a strike promoted by the workers in the field of shoe making («Grève de la cordonnerie de la Seine») and among the others protesters there was Perchellet as well. [7] 

In 1888 Monquignon operated a shoe a boutique in Rue Hausmann, Paris [8] until they moved to Place Vendôme to the former Perchellet shop, keeping the sign of the former owner. Even the shoe style remained more or less unchanged, especially the evening shoes.

Like Perchellet before them, the new company was awarded with the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris of 1900: another info to be added to the insole label.

In 1905 Alfred Monquignon served as vice-president of the Chambre Syndacale des Chausseurs de Paris. At that time, the President was the well known Hellstern. [9]

The Perchellet-Monquignon Boutique | Paris
Photo by Charles Joseph Antoine Lansiaux (detail)
At the corner of Place Vendôme and Rue Saint Honoré
Source: Paris Musées

The above photograph it's from the period after the acquisition by Monquignon, meaning after 1896.

1916 | The corner of Place Vendôme and Rue Saint Honoré with the 
Perchellet-Monquignon Boutique | Paris
Source: Wikimedia

Top: Monquignon | Paris
Source: Metmuseum
Bottom: Monquignon | Paris
Source: Shoe Icons

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art there are three models from the Monquignon period. The first one, the silk pump in black colour of the above photo, is from an anonymous donor and the caption says: 

The vamp features an attractive beadwork design, dense but well articulated. The extreme toe shape and curved sole are peculiar to Parisian shoes at this time, and together with the high cut of the back and throat, produce a perfectly straight line along the top profile.

Source: Metmuseum

Monquignon | Paris
a silk pump once owned by Jeanette Dwight Bliss
Source: Metmuseum

The two other models (a pump and a boot) are both a gift by Susan Dwight Bliss, most probably her mother's, Jeanette Dwight Bliss. Mrs Jeanette was the daughter of a wealthy cotton merchant, and she was married to a banker.

The Russian museum Shoe Icons owns three models. Among them a refined wedding shoe, with an elegant decoration of white and golden beads on the vamp.

Monquignon | Paris
Evening shoe detail
Source: Shoe Icons

According to the Annuaire du commerce Didot-Bottin, the Maison Perchellet-Monquignon was still in place Vendôme in 1914, although it had already moved to rue du Colisée, 15 in Paris in 1921.






[4] Archives commerciales de la France, journal hebdomadaire, Paris, Feb 19, 1896

[5] Société Municipale de Secours Mutuels du 9e arrondissement de Paris, Assemblée Général du 25 mars 1860, Compte Rendu, Paris, Typographie de A.Wittersheim, 1860

[6] Société Municipale de Secours Mutuels du 9e arrondissement de Paris, Assemblée Général du 6 may 1876, Compte Rendu, Paris, Imprimérie cenrale des Chemins de Fer, A. Chaix & Cie

[7] Le Radical, newspaper, Paris Jun 6, 1882

[8] Annuaire-almanach du commerce, de l'industrie, de la magistrature et de l'administration : ou almanach des 500.000 adresses de Paris, des départements et des pays étrangers : Firmin Didot et Bottin réunis, Paris, 1888

[9] Le Journal (newspaper), Paris, Apr 25, 1905

[10] Annuaire du commerce Didot-Bottin, Paris 1914, 1921

Friday, September 21, 2018


1890s | L.Perchellet
2 Place Vendôme, Paris
The model belonged to Ethel Sanford

South Carolina's Charleston Museum owns two models by Perchellet, from the 1890s; both were made for Mrs Sanford - probably Ethel Sanford - the donor’s mother, who became Mrs. John [Jean] Sanford in 1892. She was the daughter of Henry Sanford, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. About the husband, Wikipedia says:
John Sanford (January 18, 1851 – September 26, 1939) was an American businessman, a prominent owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses, and a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York's 20th congressional district.

1890s | L.Perchellet
Label: Chaussures Brevetées 2 Place Vendôme Entrée 356 r. St. Honoré Paris
The model belonged to Ethel Sanford

L. Perchellet | Paris
Place Vendôme, Paris
Belonged to Miss Elizabeth M. Larkin.

The peculiarity of the model at the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston is that it was made to match a somptuous dress by the maison Rouff, also preserved in the collection. They both belonged to Miss Elizabeth M. Larkin. The pump sports "pointed toes, baby Louis heels, toes embroidered with white beads and metal sequins". 

Maison Rouff | Paris
Made for Miss Elizabeth M. Larkin
Matching shoes by Perchellet

Top: Perchellet
"Black satin shoes: one-piece vamp joined at waist to one-piece quarter; 
slightly pointed toe with densely beaded decoration; satin, self-bow with beaded loop; 
Louis heel; kid leather and lining lining; 
hand-sewn with white machine stitching outling the heel; leather soles. 
Made by Perchellet (stamp on sole)". 

Source: FAMSF

Bottom: Perchellet
"White satin shoes, c. 1892. The silk and bead embroidery is set off by the decorative beaded bow. 
These were made by L. Perchellet at 2 Place Vendôme and were made for “Mme. Jean Sanford.” 

The richest collection of Perchellet models belongs to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, thanks to a donation by Marion Osgood Hooker (1875–1968). 
Hooker was born in San Francisco, California, to Katharine Putnam Hooker, the niece of famous geologist Josiah Dwight Whitney, and John Daggett Hooker, a direct descendent of Connecticut’s founder Thomas Hooker.
Source: Wikipedia

Perchellet | Paris
"Blue satin shoes: two-piece construction; vamp and back attached at waist; 
vamp is decorated with blue glass beads in a geometric pattern over cut-out design; 
kid leather lining; Louis heel. Label: Perchellet"

Source: FAMSF

Marian lived with her mother through most of Katharine's life and was her best traveling companion. The two made an extended trip to Europe in 1896 with a family friend, Samuel Marshall Ilsley.
Source: West Adams Heritage Association

Probably the shoes were bought during such trip, along with a series of fashionable dresses and accessories, a few of them also at the FAMSF. 





Perchellet at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Satin shoes in three different colours: "one-piece vamp joined at waist to one-piece quarter; 
collar is edged with grosgrain; rounded, tapering toe; flat piece of satin at throat; 
it has been threaded through an oval, horizontally placed buckle to make it resemble a bow; 
mother-of-pearl buckle; Louis heel; leather soles; kid leather and linen lining; 
hand-sewn except for white machine stitching outlining the heel."

Source: FAMSF

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Shoe box by
L.P. Perchellet

Elegant models by Perchellet and/or his successor Mounquignon, are owned by shoe museums and collections around the world: MET, Museum of the City of New York, Shoe Icons, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Charleston Museum; however very little is known about these two French houses.

L.P. Perchellet 
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum. 
© 2014 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada | photo: Ron Wood

The first record that we could find about Perchellet was the granting of the patent 68853 to Lucien-Donacien Perchellet, « cordonnier à Paris », located in Rue de Lamartine 7, Paris in 1865 for his « Chaussures à ressorts ». [1] 

Ten years later - 1875 - we find the Maison L.Perchellet located in Paris, Rue Louis-le-Grand, 26. [2] The Bata Museum in Toronto owns a pair of boots of this period, with the original shoe box edged with arsenical tape.


L.P. Perchellet 
Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum. 
Source: 17th Street

In 1881 it was established the societé en nom collectif Perchellet et Chaumette, chaussures, with a share capital of 70.000 fr., located in Rue St-Honoré, 356 at the corner of  Place Vendôme  [3].

In 1889 Perchellet was listed among the exhibitors at the Exposition de Paris and was awarded with the gold medal (later to be reproduced on the insole label). A few years later, the brand  was name-dropped by Paul Bercy in his short story «Mon Perroquet» as a «fashionable shoe-maker».

1890s | L.Perchellet
Label: L. Perchellet/Chaussures Brevetées/2 Place Vendome/Entrée: 356, r. St. Honoré/Paris
Model belonged to Fernanda Wanamaker | Source: Metmuseum

This pair of classic evening pumps (above) illustrates the French taste in the 1890s for a very short and tight vamp and high toe spring (up curve of the sole). American shoes of this period exhibit a much longer, shallow pointed toe with less spring. 
The superior quality of this pair by the noted Paris maker L. Perchellet is demonstrated by the refined S-curve of the sole and heel breast and the unusually fine silver-set rhinestone ornament.
[Source: Metmuseum]

Donated in 1959 at the Brooklyn Museum, the shoes once belonged to Fernanda Wanamaker

1890s | L.Perchellet
Label: L. Perchellet/Fabt. de Chaussures a Ressorts/Paris/2 Place Vendôme entrée Rue St. Honoré 356
Model belonged to Emily Warren Roebling
Source: Metmuseum

 The above pair of shoes in white satin, with a curved sole and a decorated strap, belonged to Emily Warren Roebling:
Emily Warren Roebling (September 23, 1843 – February 28, 1903) is known for her contribution to the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge after her husband Washington Roebling developed caisson disease (a.k.a. decompression disease). Her husband was a civil engineer and the Chief Engineer during the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
[Source: Wikipedia]






[1] Catalogue des brevets d’invention pris du 1er janvier au 31 décembre 1865, Paris, Imprimerie et librairie de Mme Bouchard-Huzard, 1866 

[2] Le Rappel, July 29, 1875
Bulletin des lois de l’Empire français, tome XXX, Paris, Imprimerie Impérial, 1868

[3] Archives commerciales de la France : journal hebdomadaire, Paris, Jul 28, 1881

Friday, September 14, 2018


1967 | Zenith models for golf players

1967 | Zenith man's shoe (right)
Embroidered golden pump Vaccari

1967 | Zenith models

1967 | Zenith models

1967 | Zenith models

1967 | Zenith models

1967 | Zenith models

1967 | Zenith models


1967 | Zenith models

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


“La Zenith era stata fondata nel 1914 da Edgardo Buzzoni, figlio di un commerciante di pellami con un laboratorio artigiano in via Ripagrande [a Ferrara] e già allora produceva 40 paia di scarpe per uomo e per bambino e poi quelle da donna passando ad una produzione totale di 200 paia giornaliere. 

Nel 1923 aveva cambiato sede e con la lavorazione Goodyear, l'utilizzo di macchine più moderne e una migliore organizzazione commerciale riuscì ad affermarsi sui mercati internazionali della Svizzera, Austria, Germania, Polonia, Francia, colonie francesi.” [1]

"Zenith was founded in 1914 by Edgardo Buzzoni, son of a leather merchant with a workshop in Via Ripagrande in Ferrara. At that time it produced 40 pairs per day of men's shoes, plus 200 pairs per day for children and women. 

In 1923 they moved and managed to successfully enter international markets such as Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Poland, France and French colonies. The Goodyear system was employed along with modern machines and a better commercial organisation. " [1]

Zenith by Edgardo Buzzoni
Source: Archivio di Stato

Nel 1929, a soli 47 anni, era morto il fondatore della società, Edgardo Buzzoni e nel 1930 gli eredi avevano registrato il marchio Zenith e rinominato l’azienda. Proprio a questo momento e alla volontà degli eredi di continuare lo sviluppo commerciale dell’azienda risale la campagna pubblicitaria affidata a uno dei disegnatori più prestigiosi, il triestino Marcello Dudovich. Per Zenith Dudovich disegnò due manifesti nel periodo di attività della società editrice “Star”, da lui fondata con l'avvocato Arnaldo Steffenini nel 1920 e della quale fu direttore artistico. [2]

L’idea scelta da Dudovich fu di rappresentare la scarpa Zenit comoda come una poltrona, nella quale sono perfettamente a loro agio un uomo e una bambina. 

In 1929, at the age of 47, the founder of the company, Edgardo Buzzoni, died and in 1930 the heirs registered the Zenith brand and renamed the company. At this time, the will of the heirs to continue the commercial development of the company produced the advertising campaign entrusted to one of the most prestigious designers, Marcello Dudovich. For Zenith, Dudovich designed two posters. It happened while he was the artistic director at "Star", the publishing company he had founded with the lawyer Arnaldo Steffenini. [2]

The brilliant idea by Dudovich was to represent the Zenit shoe as comfortable as an armchair, in which a man and a child are perfectly at ease. 

1931 Zenith | Marcello Dudovich | Edizioni Star - Milano (editore) 
Grafiche I.G.A.P. - Milano | Printed by Salce

1933 Zenith | Marcello Dudovich | Edizioni Star - Milano (editore) 
Grafiche I.G.A.P. - Milano | Printed by Salce

Un altro nome prestigioso chiamato pochi anni dopo per illustrare la produzione Zenith fu Gino Boccasile, che scelse gabbiani e una giovane donna in bianco per la freschezza delle calzature estive. 

Il calzaturificio Zenith “già nel 1932 produceva 350 paia di scarpe da uomo e 200 di scarpine flessibili per bambini con una vasta clientela nazionale ed internazionale. Nel secondo dopoguerra nel nuovo stabilimento costruito nel 1950 su un terreno del fondo Caldirolo aveva una produzione che impegnava 530 dipendenti con buone prospettive di mercato e propri negozi a Milano, Bologna, Napoli, Firenze e Roma." [1]

Negli anni '60 il calzaturificio concentrò la produzione su calzature eleganti e sportive di lusso da uomo.

"Per il cambio manageriale, la concorrenza di aziende che producevano a minor costo, cominciò la crisi dell'azienda e nel novembre del 1971 venne venduto il marchio alla 'Di Varese" con i primi licenziamenti. Col passaggio di proprietà, l’azienda fu rinominata “Calzaturificio di Ferrara (…) fino all'intervento della Gepi nel 1973 che rilevò l'azienda per produrre scarpe per i corpi militari, fino alla chiusura definitiva della fabbrica avvenuta nell'aprile 1982. ” [1]

Another prestigious name called a few years later to illustrate the Zenith production was Gino Boccasile, who chose seagulls and a young woman in white for the freshness of summer shoes. 

"The Zenith shoe factory, in 1932, produced 350 pairs of men's shoes and 200 of flexible children's shoes with a large national and international clientele. After World War II in the new factory they had a production with 530 employees, good market prospects and stores in Milan, Bologna, Naples, Florence and Rome." [1]

In the 1960s, the shoe factory focused its production on luxury and elegant men's sports shoes.

The company crisis was caused by management change and competition from companies producing at lower cost; in November 1971, after the first layoff, the brand was sold to 'Di Varese' and rebranded as Calzaturificio di Ferrara ... ; the final change of ownership happened in 1973 with the company Gepi: they produced shoes for the army until the shutdown in April 1982." [1]

1938 | Marina Summer Shoe by ZENITH


[1] Sauro Baraldi , in “La nuova Ferrara” | 19 August 2006

[2] Marcello Dudovich

1974 | Calzaturificio Città Di Ferrara
The last name of the Zenith Shoe Factory
"Sworn price, guaranteed quality"

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Patricia Bernardos

Patricia Bernardos

Patricia Bernardos

Patricia Bernardos

Patricia Bernardos
At Cargo Collective

1832 - 2013

Patricia Bernardos

Friday, September 7, 2018

1923 | OPERA | MILAN

1923 | Model by Opera, Milan
Source: Lidel magazine

"Today we have the opportunity to submit to our elegant readers the creations of the Opera house with its three new walking models"

1923 | Model by Opera, Milan
Source: Lidel magazine

"The modern shoe becomes increasingly pointed, the two colors still remain, passing from decorations with rounded lines to sharp and starred decorations."

"The buckles have disappeared, but they have been replaced by hanging medallions that pass on the strap - rest on the stocking - are pierced with different figurines or set with stones; they have a beautiful effect"

1923 | The page "The Elegant's Pedestal"
Source: Lidel magazine

Monday, September 3, 2018


1968 | René Mancini for Queen Sirikit
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile | Bangkok
Source: Google Arts & Culture

«In honor of the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 7th cycle birthday anniversary on August 12, 2016, the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles will mount Fit For A Queen, a new exhibition that focuses on the 22-year-long working relationship between Her Majesty and French couturier Pierre Balmain. »

René Mancini for Queen Sirikit
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile | Bangkok

«In 1960, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit embarked on a historic state visit to 15 Western nations. The tour was the West’s formal introduction to the youthful royal couple. Her Majesty had determined that She would need a fashionable, seasonally appropriate Western wardrobe for the sixmonth-long tour, and She engaged renowned Paris couturier Pierre Balmain to design it. 

Balmain proved to be an excellent choice, creating a regal wardrobe—much of it made from Thai silk—for H.M. the Queen. Thus elegantly attired, Her Majesty garnered tremendous interest and acclaim, which contributed greatly to the tour’s success. The trip established Her as an international tastemaker and the era’s epitome of royal style. » 

René Mancini for Queen Sirikit
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile | Bangkok

René Mancini for Queen Sirikit
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile | Bangkok

«The exhibition will offer visitors the chance to view more than 30 of Her Majesty’s most stylish daytime, cocktail, and evening dresses, plus related accessories and several pieces of the luggage custom-made by Louis Vuitton for Their Majesties, most never before displayed. Design sketches and embroidery swatches lent by Balmain S.A. and the House of Lesage in Paris will help illuminate the design and creation processes. The exhibition will be further enriched by period footage and photographs. » 

Text above from the exhibition factsheet

Among the accessories, the exhibition shows a selection of models by Paris-based Italian/French shoemaker René Mancini. The models were designed to accompany the royal outfits created by the couturier Pierre Balmain.

1968 | Farah Pahlavi and Queen Sirikit (right)
Queen Sirikit is wearing the pair of shoes by René Mancini 
in the photo on the top of this page
BUNTE ILLUSTRIERTE Münchner Nr. 7 Feb. 14, 1968