Italian elegance and quality

Stefano Bemer: The impeccable Italian footwear artisan

Nicholas Sterling

His shoes are so incredible that the Irish Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, after buying a pair, spent 10 months in Stefano Bemer’s workshop studying the secrets of creating handmade footwear.

Stefano Bemer, who died in 2012, founded his company in 1983 with the goal of creating the perfect Italian shoes. Thanks to his innate curiosity, he learned the infinite variations of shoemaking, repairing footwear at first and then specializing and mastering his own techniques. The brand has been recognized for upholding g the highest standards of Italian elegance and quality, synonymous with style and refinement.

Stefano Bemer

At present, the firm, which was taken over by Bemer’s partner Tommaso Melani, is one of the most exclusive Italian companies in the world focused on handmade shoes for men, and its products are used by royalty, actors, politicians and celebrities.

A shoe by Stefano Bemer is a masculine accessory that distinguishes those who wear it.

In 1994, Day-Lewis, tired of the “star-system” and after buying, took refuge in Bemer’s workshop in Florence, Italy. The previous winter, the actor had ordered a pair of shoes from the designer, and that simple business relationship gave birth to a solid friendship that lasted until Bemer‘s death at the age of 48 and after a long illness.

Stefano Bemer

Day-Lewis stayed in the firm’s workshop eight hours a day, for 10 months, surrounded by work tools, skins, cream jars and sewing needles. The respected artisans Day-Lewis worked with did not disclose any information about the actor’s time with them. It was only learned, a long time later, that the actor asked them to not engage in conversations alluding to the world of cinema while they were working.

The commercial success of Stefano Bemer is due to a series of guidelines that Melani has been able to adhere to during all these years and develop designs that remain faithful to a clear visual definition: Elegant, but never rigid. Extravagant, but never flamboyant. Self-confident, but never arrogant. Sophisticated, but never pretentious.

Stefano Bemer

The shoes can be purchased in stores in Florence, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Azerbaijan, New York, Hong Kong and Dubai, at prices ranging from US $1,300 -those manufactured for the general public- to around US $3,200 for those tailored upon request. The workshop on Via San Niccolo, in the very center of Florence, is where all the molds of its distinguished clients are stored.

To manufacture the different molds, the company uses different types of leather from all over the world: ostrich from South Africa, horse and alligator from the USA, calf from Tuscany, cow from France and Germany, and antelope and crocodile from Africa.

A shoe by Stefano Bemer is a masculine accessory that distinguishes those who wear it. The fine proportion between the width and length of the footwear, its elegant silhouette, the high instep, the flawless hand-stitched seams, the beauty of the leather, the flat waxed cotton cords and the waxes used, show a careful design that represents the essence of Italian refinement.  ■

PHOTOS: © Stefano Bemer

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