Over my quick holiday visit to the in-laws in Perugia, Italy, I managed to pop over to my old town of Firenze (where I once lived for circa 1 year). I had the intention of going back to Stefano Bemer’s shop (where I learned to make bespoke shoes) and saying hi to all of my old colleagues, as well as hopefully snapping some pictures of any new models made. Being that plans don’t always happen they way that you want them to (and that fact that my wife was waiting for me at a nearby cafe) I was unable to take any pictures, as my time was rushed having to explain to my friends what I am currently up to while trying my best to speak in rusty, broken Italian. It was quite unfortunate, though, as Stefano was not around and I was unable to tell him of my progress, of which I hope that he would have been proud to say that it all started at his shop, my entrance into the bespoke shoe realm…. Nevertheless, I remembered that while living there, I had taken many pictures of the shop that I don’t believe I ever posted on the blog, and thought that now would be the perfect time to do so.
If you look at the picture at the very top, you can see that two of the bespoke shoes that I made (#2 & #5) came from the patterns of the shoes second from the left and third from the right, only that I slightly altered minute details such as coloring, piping thickness and last shape. Looking back at these pictures (which only make up a small amount of the entire collection), I must say that Stefano Bemer, while relatively unknown by the majority of people, makes some of the most beautiful shoes that I have ever seen! He is excellent, in my opinion, at pairing certain patterns (designs) with certain last shapes as well as putting together wonderful color combinations. With that in mind, I still wonder why you don’t find his shoes selling at more outlets around the world….
While I had a great time in Italy (living there and learning) and would not have traded that experience for anything in the world, I realized that during my short and nostalgic visit back, that I have truly found myself in probably the absolute best place that I could be for making my goals come into fruition (that being London). It makes one realize how funny and coincidental life can be. And if you would have asked me 6-7 years ago, whether I could see myself being and living in London, I would have said, “no way!” But now I am here, and I feel like I have found my second home, a place that I enjoy and can feel comfortable and secure in. It’s a great a feeling and am glad to have had this trip back to Italy to be able to experience it……Anyway enough of the sentimental babble, I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are getting ready for a great New Year’s celebration. 2012 is going to be a great one!!
Justin, “The Shoe Snob”