Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sole Sister Sunday: André Perugia

The designer looking for the perfect size among his 100,000 lasts (1951)

Long before Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik there was André Perugia. He was the first "celebrity" shoe designer.  born in 1893 to a shoemaker father he wasted no time joining the family business by opening his shop at age 16. He began creating unique shapes and introducing a new heel that exceeded his fathers artistry and price points.

He used unusual materials for his custom creations and high society women flocked to the French Rivera were dazzled by his designs.  The world famous couturier Paul Poiret assured his success and hired Perugia at the end of WWI. 

He transformed Josephine Baker trademark turban into a quilted kidskin sandal (AKA "The Turban Sandal - 1928 which is also MY personal FAV!).
Jospehine Baker in costume Ziegfeld Follies 
Turban Sandal, 1928

"Homage To Picasso" 1950 

He continued to experiment with unconventional material, shapes and adornments throughout his career. His career spanned 50 years and associated himself and worked for (with) I. Miller,Charles Jourdan, Jacques Fath, Hubert de Givenchy. He also worked alongside Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930's.   

Heel-less Shoe 1937

In his book "From Eve to Rita Hayworth" - A collection of psychological portraits he theorized that the way to discover and unmask a woman's personality was to study her feet.

Patent 1956 Shoe Design

He was known for "talking to his shoes" as he created them and earned the badge of eccentric along with genius as many great artists do. He was a technical genius and a true innovator for the Sole Sister.

Corkscrew Heel 1952

The designer passed away in Cannes France in November of 1977.

1958 | André Perugia helps Jerry Stutz
(president/director of NY's Henry Bendel
and former I.Miller vice president)

"The wealthiest woman in the world could not pay me to make her an ugly pair of shoes"
Source: Book: p. 46 Shoes - Linda O'Keeffe


  1. Nice. It would be nicer to be quoted as the source of the Perugia/Stutz picture which by the way was taken from LIFE magazine.

  2. Hi Milo,

    I will add your info as the source of the picture - by the way I did not see LIFE magazine as the source on your blog. My apologies for the over site. Thanks for your comment :)

  3. Dear Lisa,

    first of all T H A N K Y O U.

    I double checked and you're right: for some weird reason the LIFE credit is missing while the others are done right. I'll fix that. Thanx again.


    please believe me, I don't want to come off as a boaster, but the fish-shoe - no matter how many times is repeated all over the net - is not from 1931.

  4. Interesting. My source WAS the Linda O'Keeffe book! HA! Thanks for the info!

    ~ L