An Ital­ian style icon

We went to ex­plore the home­land of “Gom­mino”, one of the iconic mod­els of a shoe that has be­come a real “sta­tus sym­bol”. Our jour­ney took us to Bran­cadoro, Italy, in Tod’s man­u­fac­tur­ing work­shops.

L’Officiel Middle East (English) - - Contents - By Adri­enne ribes-tiphaine Pho­tog­ra­phy bastien lat­tanzio

What is a clas­sic shoe? How is it born? Should we dis­con­tinue mak­ing it? Or, on the con­trary, must we con­stantly rein­vent it? To find the an­swers to th­ese ques­tions, one should go to the Marches re­gion. This corner of Italy, less glam­orous and more moun­tain­ous than the Amalfi Coast, was ap­pre­ci­ated by Stend­hal for its na­ture de­void of the slight­est plain. There, in the heart of th­ese com­pressed and in­dus­trial land­scapes, the iconic moc­casins of the Ital­ian house Tod’s are hand­made . Th­ese ul­tra-flex­i­ble shoes with 133 pins (not one more or one less) called “Gom­mino”, are made in all colours and avail­able in the most beau­ti­ful skins of the globe. This is also the birth­place of Diego Della Valle, owner of Tod’s and the 26th rich­est man in Italy, ac­cord­ing to Forbes mag­a­zine. Filippo’s grand­son and Dorino’s son, was raised sur­rounded by the leather sam­ples in his fa­ther’s fac­tory. The self-made man turned Tod’s group ( Ho­gan, Roger Vivier, Fay) into an em­pire. To­day, his group is listed on the stock mar­ket, and he runs it with his younger brother An­drea.

An Ital­ian busi­ness

To­gether, they ac­quired the pres­ti­gious Floren­tine foot­ball club, Fiorentina, and saved the na­tional em­blems close to their hearts: the restora­tion of the scene of La Scala in Mi­lan, the ren­o­va­tion of the Colos­seum of Rome (up to 25 mil­lion eu­ros) , creat­ing a theme park in Cinecittà, the “Hol­ly­wood- on-tiber” ... And as if that was not enough, the two men de­vote 1% of their turnover to the devel­op­ment of their na­tive re­gion. A suc­cess­ful bet for the self-taught vi­sion­ary who had given him­self a mis­sion forty years ago when he was only twenty years old to cre­ate shoes that will be worn by all the great peo­ple of this world one day. Suc­cess! To­day, Tod’s sells 2.5 mil­lion pairs of shoes a year in more than 200 out­lets. Char­lotte Casir­aghi, Ge­orge Clooney and Katie Holmes are all en­thu­si­as­tic about this rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the driv­ing shoe, a moc­casin of Por­tuguese ori­gin adopted by rac­ing driv­ers. It was dur­ing a stay in Man­hat­tan, in 1970, that Diego Della Valle, a law grad­u­ate, dis­cov­ered this shoe worn by fans of speed. Back in Italy, he trans­forms the model and de­signs, in the late 1970s, what will be­come the em­blem of the brand Tod’s.

Pure crafts­man­ship

On site, in the in­dus­trial area of Bran­cadoro, a few min­utes from the vil­lage of Casette d’ete where Diego Della Valle was born (at home), we dis­cover three build­ings that look like a mu­seum of con­tem­po­rary art. Built in the mid­dle of olive groves, th­ese build­ings with clear lines were imag­ined by Bar­bara Pis­tilli, his ar­chi­tect wife. Nearly one thou­sand em­ploy­ees work daily on th­ese three sites. They ben­e­fit from a can­teen with lo­cal prod­ucts and

Above, the fa­mous moc­casin “Gom­mino” from Tod’s. Right page, the fash­ion work­shops, in Bran­cadoro.

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