Ferragamo Tavarnelle lace high heels, mid-1930s

2009252ab-3Salvatore Ferragamo
Permanent Loan, FIDM

Fantasy footwear flourished during the 1930s, and Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960) was the leader in crafting shoes from unusual materials. At this time, his luxury output was completely handmade and custom fitted to individual clients–a perfect balance of style and comfort. The uppers on this pair are Tavarnelle needlepoint lace, a Tuscan specialty produced just outside Florence, Italy.1 Often used in white for decorating undergarments, Ferragamo commissioned a colored version with pink and blue blossoms on a field of brown twigs and green foliage. The pliability of the lace must have delighted the wearer, as it easily allowed her feet to contract and expand in motion, and did not bind her toes tightly like fully-enclosed models.

1 Piacenti, Kirsten Aschengreen, et al. Salvatore Ferragamo: The Art of the Shoe, 1898-1960 (New York: Rizzoli, 1992) 47 & 79.

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