Although almost forgotten today, Frattegiani was at the forefront of post-WW2 Italian handicrafts renaissance. The following text, written by costume journalist Edyth Radom, outlines Frattegiani's history starting from their humble beginning.

The art of handicraft is indigenous to foreign countries where beautiful embroidery, weaving, beadwork, the making of glass, lace and shoemaking are frequently family affairs, with many a craft-secret handed down from generation to generation, and kept inviolate through the years. 
Italy has always been known for her shoe craftsmen. Even in America, the little Italian “shoemaker around the corner” is likely to be a potential designer. Many a shoe dynasty has evolved through the elder member of a family who started with simple repairing, which gradually grew into custom designing and creating of fine footwear. 

1955 | Frattegiani | Florence
Kid, sailcloth and raffia sandals with cork soles
Source: Chicago Tribune, April 1955

Such is the story of Frattegiani, creators of some of the most beautiful, imaginative and refreshing shoes we have ever seen, in Europe or America. Fifty years ago, Frattegiani “padre” (senior) was a modest shoemaker in Florence. He had a penchant for design, and after 20 years worked up a custom business. Today he is retired, but his son and his daughter in their early 40’s, who worked with him and learned the craft, carry on the tradition of fabulous shoe designing.

1955 | Frattegiani | Florence
Kid, sailcloth and raffia sandals with cork soles
Source: Chicago Tribune, April 1955

The factory, with its 50 craftsmen, and another shop, are in Florence. But their shop in Rome, where they carry a minimum stock of all the designs on the line, is also a most fascinating place. Here you select your shoes, try them on, have an outline of your foot drawn while you loll in one of the ample lounge chairs covered in gay prints. 
There are small white wrought iron tables and shelves trimmed with colorful ceramic leaves to match the huge branched chandelier and the several branched floor lamps, these of all white wrought iron too, and gay with green, lavender, pink, blue, turquoise ceramic leaves.

1955 | Frattegiani
Source: Ars Sutoria

Sample shoes, divine straw handbags lined in leather, lie carelessly about in seeming abandon. The atmosphere is informal, relaxed and gay. And gaiety is the keynote of the shoes. You get the idea that shoes are a gay business, as indeed they are. They fit magnificently… seem to mold themselves to the foot, not the foot to the shoe.

Handmade of course, you also wonder about the streamlined look they have, remembering that most of the shoes you’ve seen in Italy have a flat, squat, broad, ungraceful look. The answer is that Frattegiani uses American sizes and lasts. All resemblance ends there.

Edith Radom
Hartford Courant Aug, 7, 1952

"Florentine Craftsmen Turn Shoemaking Into Fine Art" was the article's title and that alone sums it up nicely.



1958 | Frattegiani | Florence
Source: MET


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