In 1927 Salvatore Ferragamo was already the shoemaker to the stars.  Once just accessories, shoes became protagonists thanks to Ferragamo’s incredible styling.  Soon Ferragamo had opened his first boutique in Florence and was beloved in Hollywood.

But as the Great Depression of 1929 drew close, the magic of those precious shoes made of feathers and crystals seemed destined to end.  Instead, the ever resourceful Ferragamo transformed the shortage of materials into a ground-breaking shoe that would receive the first patent in the history of fashion: the wedge.

 

Salvatore Ferragamo potrait

Salvatore Ferragamo | Potrait

 

None of the imported materials usually used in Ferragamo’s shoes, such as leather and metal, were available at the time, so he turned to cork and wood. A colorful version created by the designer in 1938 for the actress Judy Garland  become a fashion icon. While the original Ferragamo wedges were designed to be comfortable, the “film” version dedicated to Judy Garland is 12 cm (almost 5 inches) high and made ​​with strips of colored suede.

 

Judy Garland

Judy Garland

 

Today the Garland wedge is known more as a piece of design than as a shoe.  In fact it belongs to the collections of both the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

 

Ferragamo wedge designed for Judy Garland

Ferragamo wedge designed in 1938 for Judy Garland

 

As well as a design piece, a fashion icon and an amazing moment of genius, the Ferragamo wedge is a world wide symbol of the Italian attitude to fashion: be confortable but never sloppy!

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