Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams
“You don’t find yourself. You create yourself,” so Martin Scorsese reflects (quoting Bob Dylan) on the young Salvatore Ferragamo, who started making shoes when he was barely out of short pants and opened his first shop at the age of 12. Before he turned 20 Ferragamo had swapped Bonita, Italy for the New World. Unimpressed with the footwear factories he found in Boston, he kept right on going, stopping only when he reached Santa Barbara, the two reeler capital of the silent movie era. Stylish and comfortable, his shoes immediately found favour with the first film stars: Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Joan Crawford, Pola Negri, Rudolph Valentino. When the industry moved to Hollywood he followed suit, and over subsequent decades added the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn to his long list of clients and friends.
Perhaps more than anyone, Ferragamo established Italy as the epitome of fashion. A student of human anatomy, he brought engineering and creativity to his vocation, issuing literally hundreds of patents for his groundbreaking designs. Modestly, he attributed his success to his highest priority: comfort.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams features a rich array of archival images, extracts from Ferragamo’s extensive memoirs (voiced by Michael Stuhlbarg), and interviews with Manohola Blahnik, Martin Scorsese, Grace Coddington and others.
The rags-to-riches life of Salvatore Ferragamo is told with all the precision-engineered craft and elegance of his finest footwear in Salvatore – Shoemaker Of Dreams. Luca Guadagnino’s lush documentary may be traditional in its use of talking head interviews and evocative archive footage, but it works a treat when the subject is this fascinating. Salvatore should be a comfortable fit for a potential audience that stretches from fashionistas to shoe fetishists, film buffs and beyond.
Allan Hunter, Screen International
Salvatore Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, Martin Scorsese, Grace Coddington, Christian Louboutin, Suzy Menkes
In Italian, English, and French with English subtitles
Garbriele Moratti, Francesco Melzo d’Eril
Clarissa Cappellani, Massimiliano Kuveiller