Fabric-covered footwear with full Italian swagger

Rubelli heritage textiles star in a Santoni capsule collection

Tasselled Lopez loafer with piping, €515
Tasselled Lopez loafer with piping, €515

Using the term “made in Italy” as a way of promoting locally produced, handmade items has become popular recently, but it’s taken long and lateral thinking to link up a 160-year-old furnishing-fabric company with a shoemaker of less than 40 years’ standing. But a commitment to excellent quality and carefully hand-finished items is the bond between these two illustrious Italian family firms: Santoni, based in the shoemaking Marche area and known for its classically elegant styles and hand-patinated finishes, and textile icon Rubelli, with its archive housed in a historic Venetian palazzo.

 Despite Santoni’s relative youth, it already involves two generations and its past imaginative collaborations include special alligator straps for watchmaker IWC.

On left: piped lace-up Natasha, €468. On right: low-cut, tasselled Daria ballerina pumps, €468
On left: piped lace-up Natasha, €468. On right: low-cut, tasselled Daria ballerina pumps, €468

The new shoes covered in carefully chosen Rubelli fabrics have an opulent and distinctly Venetian look. Both companies believe in fusing technological innovation with traditional craft and values; the fabrics for the leather-lined footwear were painstakingly tested for durability, and the structure and soles are the same as those used on Santoni’s other styles. As a firm with a strong reputation for men’s shoes, all these collaborative designs, for both women and men, are flat or low heeled.



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The interplay of archive fabrics in the collection is perhaps the most interesting aspect. Traditional, luxurious 18th-century-inspired silk lampas, co-ordinated with the spotted Punteggiato velvet (designed by architect Gio Ponti in 1934), catches the current mood for print mixes. For men, there is an elegant, almond-toed monk shoe combining the spot-print in brown and beige with tan leather (€598), or the tasselled Lopez loafer with brogue leather toe or with piping (first picture, €515). Particularly luscious for women are the low-cut Daria ballerina pumps mixing silk with spot in delicate pastel shades (€468), and the piped lace-up Natasha in pale blue and pink, or blue and eau-de-nil lampas (left in second picture, €468). There are also tasselled, piped slippers mingling spot and lampas (right in second picture, €468). Small numbers of each style are arriving in selected Santoni stores and online on Saturday December 1, and they are all suitably, and sophisticatedly, festive.



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