Luca Guadagnino talks about his latest project, Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams

Although he filed numerous patents related to his field over the years, Ferragamo’s first was for an orthopedic brace, which he designed while recovering from a crushing car accident in which his brother Eliodoro lost his life. Back on his feet, in 1923 Salvatore opened the Hollywood Boot Shop and continued to work with directors and stars, on and off screen. In 1926, the same year he became an American citizen, Ferragamo returned to Italy and settled in Florence, where he devised a production system that borrowed from American and Italian traditions. Despite his talent and innovations, Ferragamo declared bankruptcy in 1933. Ashore, but not out, he found a way to restart and created Salvatore Ferragamo in 1936, acquiring the Palazzo Spini Feroni, which remains the headquarters today. corporate social. There, notes Guadagnino, the “children of Ferragamo [were] do their homework on the floor of the same rooms where the craftsmen made shoes.

cobbler of dreams touches on some of Ferragamo’s most famous shoe designs, such as the 1937 wedge, the much-copied caged metal heel, the stacked rainbow platform made during material shortages in the 1940s, and the ruby ​​slippers, but again, this is not a film about fashion, this is about a man who pursues his passion in work and love, and it is on a family note that the documentary part of the film draws its first conclusion. “Ferragamo went to Italy to look for a family. He was making it up all the time; he came up with the idea that Made in Italy came from Florence – he wasn’t from Florence. And then he decided he had to have a family and he went to his village and he decided that he was going to marry this girl. And it worked, it worked; they loved each other so much. They had six children, then [Wanda] became the woman who ran the business after his death. And to finish with beautiful family films in which we see the affectionate life of a family in Italy, I found that quite touching”, remarks Guadagnino.

I asked the director, who grew up between Italy and Africa, if he felt any identification with Ferragamo, who also lived between two worlds. “My mother is Algerian and I grew up in Ethiopia, then in Sicily; I have moved around a lot throughout my life and I always find myself in the position of the maverick in a way,” he replied. “At the same time, I have a very disciplined sense of myself to find ways to do things the way I want and to complement myself through what I do. I don’t want to compare myself to Master Ferragamo, but I think there are touching qualities in his way of being that remind me of how to approach my own life.

Salvatore: the cobbler of dreams happens to open just weeks after the company dropped Salvatore from the brand name, shortening it to Ferragamo. The film is a fitting tribute to the man behind the shoes. Vita brevis, as they say, ars longa. Guadagnino teamed up with stop motion artist/animator Pes to create a coda for the autobiographical portion of the film. A Hollywood Dream: Shoe Ballet by Pes is a kaleidoscope of digitized shoes that kick, walk, and turn Busby Berkley-style. The film ends in style in a period when the world seems to have fallen very low.

“We live in the oppression of digital, in the oppression of hyper-capitalism, in the oppression of hyper-information,” notes Guadagnino. “I hope the film shows how much you can achieve without your phone and without relying on other people’s opinions. Ferragmo did it. The delivery is that we all can.

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