As one of the most famous women's shoe designers of the twentieth century, one might never have guessed that the Italian shoemaker, Salvatore Ferragamo actually came from quite humble beginnings. Born in 1898, Salvatore Ferragamo spent his teenage years working as an apprentice in a woman's shoe shop ; before moving to the United States in 1914. The designer's work was very well received in southern California, and quickly earned Ferragamo a reputation as "the Shoemaker to the Stars". While in California, Ferragamo took it upon himself to study anatomy at the University of Southern California; so that he might learn how to build shoes that were not only stylish, but comfortable as well. In 1927, after much success, Salvatore Ferragamo returned to Florence, Italy and launched his own collection of designer shoes. Today, the Salvatore Ferragamo brand is even more popular than ever; with sought after styles that include the Salvatore Ferragamo classic bow embellished Vara pump, and the designers famed "Cage Shoe", "Invisible Sandal", and "Wedge Heel" among others. In addition to women's designer shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo's line has expanded to include men's shoes, handbags, fragrances, and designer clothing; but this didn't happen overnight.

The Meteoric Rise of Salvatore Ferragamo

Working in California in the mid 1920's, Salvatore Ferragamo might have been one of the first designers to harness the power of Hollywood. After opening a simple shoe repair and made to measure shop in Southern California, Ferragamo's work became recognized for its super quality and craftsmanship, and the designer soon began receiving commissions from the Hollywood elite. Iconic stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren were fans of for his designs, and studios often requested his shoes on set. In fact, Salvatore Ferragamo is even credited for crafting the iconic ruby red slippers that Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz. This attention caused Ferragamo’s popularity to skyrocket even more, and after returning to Italy, and releasing his own collection, more and more women wanted to own shoes from the "shoemaker to the stars".

Women's Designer Shoes - A Balance of Form & Function

It was Salvatore Ferragamo's mission to create shoes that fit well and had artistic design. The designer got most of his design inspirations from the famous artists throughout history, and the beautiful architectural buildings in both Italy and America. His studies of human anatomy at the University of Southern California helped him to better understand the human foot. He wrote, "I discovered that the weight of the bodies when we are standing erect drops straight down on the arch of the foot. I constructed my revolutionary lasts, which supporting the arch, make the foot act like an inverted pendulum." Salvatore Ferragamo’s philosophy of balance between form and function continues to be a noticeable influence in the brand today and sets his shoes apart from others.

Salvatore Ferragamo - A Star In His Own Right

Sadly, Salvatore Ferragamo passed away in 1960, at the age of 62; but his brand lives on. Today, Salvatore Ferragamo's designer shoe company has grown to hold over 3,000 employees and 660 single-brand stores. His stores are present in over 90 counties across the European, Asian, and American markets; and not only do they sell shoes, but perfumes, handbags, watches and ready-to-wear clothing as well. Numerous new designs are produced yearly, and each collection consists of several hundred models, including the classic icons that are part of the Ferragamo Group's history.

Salvatore Ferragamo is a designer who left a legacy. He started small and grew to be one of the most well known women's shoe designers in the world. He designed shoes for the Hollywood elite, and is credited as being one of the first designers to truly consider the anatomy of the foot in their designs. His philosophy of comfort and artistic value is greatly admirable, and continues to set his brand apart from the crowd. Today, his shoes continue to be design with quality, comfort, art and history in mind; and are loved by both men and woman worldwide.

Where to Buy Salvatore Ferragamo Shoes

If you are ever in Florence, make a pilgrimage to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. With over 13,000 different pairs of shoes on display, including Ferragamo's most famous designs: the wedge heel, cage shoe and the invisible sandal, the museum is a testament to one of fashions most iconic and influential designers of the twentieth century, and truly a site for shoe lovers to behold. And in the meantime, if you are looking to buy Salvatore Ferragamo shoes online, shop, for new & used Salvatore Ferragamo shoes on sale!