The ‘Pietro Bertolini’ International Footwear Museum in Vigevano is the first public institution in Italy to be entirely dedicated to the history and evolution of the shoe. Housed in the charming setting of Castello Storzesco, the Museum’s mission is to take the narrative and, through it, trace Vigevano’s history and economy as well as the international development of the shoe, viewed in terms of its value as an object of design and fashion.

Vigevano’s shoe-making tradition is an ancient one, testified by a local Statute dating back to 1392. Vigevano was home to the first ever industrial shoe factory(1866), the first Italian footwear machinery manufacturer(1901) and produced the earliest rubber-sole tennis shoes in the 1920’s.

Renowned the world over, footwear capital dates back to the 1950s/1960s, a period that saw over 21 million pairs produced each year – most of them destined for export. It was right around this golden era that the Museum – commissioned by the historian Luigi Barni and dedicated to its first promoter, the entrepreneur Pietro Bertolini – was created.

As it exists today, the Museum has been reorganized to reveal a more modern and dynamic expression and allows for multiple layers of interpretation. Boasting over 2000 pieces, the Museum currently exhibits around 400 of these, spread over its four rooms and one gallery.

A chronological journey of highly-valuable historical and rare pieces, such as the 1495 slipper that once belonged to Beatrice d’Este. From the romantic, Venetian style late 18th century satin shoes to the wonderful creations of the 1920s with their noble metal details and jeweled heels, right up to the ‘self sufficient’ models produced during the war – shabby in appearance but utter genius in their incorporation of the only materials available at the time. The history selection continues with a tribute to the shoes of the 50s and 60s, personified by the first ever stiletto heel, produced right here in Vigevano. And so we come to the 1970s,a decade that is best summed up by the wedge and the plateau, made from multicolored materials and incorporating patchwork designs. There are also shoes that once belonged to famous people such as past popes, Mussolini and Queen Maria Jose of Savoy on display.

Eye catching selection celebrates the world’s best-loved fashion designers in the field of Italian footwear; those who through their personal taste and fantastic perceptivity have succeeded in creating a product and making it very much their own: creative, unique and unmistakable.

These are: Manolo Blahnik, Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Dior, Gucci, Armani, YSL, Ferragamo, Roger Vivier, Pucci, Armando Pollini, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld and Hubert de Givenchy. 

Posted by : Amal Kiran Jana from Milan at 01:45 AM