Since we are on the subject of Bemer’s (as per yesterday’s post), I thought that I would continue on by finally getting up the pictures of the new Stefano Bemer workshop/company from my visit to Pitti in July. For the few of you that may not know, I spent one year under the care of Stefano Bemer (the man himself) and company back in 2008 when I went to learn how to make shoes by hand. But that is history, so let me tell you about the present and the future. Okay well, just to clarify one more thing that some of you may not know, the actual man himself, Stefano Bemer, passed away 2 years back and about a year ago the company was taken over by a new owner, Mr. Tommaso Melani of whom also owned a leather goods brand, called Scuola di Cuoio. And the rest follows…
There was a lot of change that occurred when the company was taken over, some of it was good and some not as good. First and foremost, both of Stefano’s old shops had closed and there was a relocation to a much larger and ultimately, much nicer location. It does not quite have the charm as Stefano’s old workshop did but it definitely makes up for it in everything else. It’s immaculate place and I only wished that I would have had my proper camera on me to have been able to capture it better. The downside to it however, is that it is quite far away and is a pain getting to whereas the old Bemer shop was smack dab in the heart of it all (at least the heart of where I used to love to be when I lived there). That is really neither here nor there, but I only fear that some people may see it as a deterrent from seeking the place out. Maybe I am wrong. Either way, the new location is marvelous to say the least. (But it did have some funny lighting that made my pictures look terrible!!)
I am going to be quite open and brutally honest here and say that while Stefano was one of the most amazing artists of this generation (particularly in the world of footwear), and was a very very giving person he (in my opinion) was not a good business man, at all. But hey, those things (being artistic and business minded) usually don’t go hand in hand. But his lack of business acumen meant that his shoes stayed the way that they were and were never allowed to be compromised by the necessity to grow or get bought out. That was the great thing about it. But sadly, as brilliant as he and his shoes were, he was a no one to 99.9% of the population and that saddened me as I felt that his shoes deserved to be known as they were among the best of the best and still are. This is where Tommaso Melani, in just a short time, has come in and done wonders for the brand and I can guarantee that within a few years time, SB will be talked about just as the rest of the greats do.
One of the best things that has been implemented into the new company is the shoemaking school that allows for eager and aspiring shoemakers to come and find a place to learn, under none other than my own teacher, Kumiko San. While I won’t go into too much depth about the schools in this post, you can see a bit more about them on Simon Crompton’s blog, Permanent Style. So even though the new shop is off the beaten path, I have a good feeling that the Stefano Bemer name and brand will not only live on, but live strong under the ownership of Tommaso Melani and I feel rested at heart knowing so as it truly felt unjust that 5 years ago only a handfull of crazy shoe freaks outside of Italy (including myself) knew of one of the greatest brands to have ever come out of Italy: Stefano Bemer!
And for those of you in or around NYC and curious to see the shoes and meet Tommaso Melani, he will be having a trunk show tomorrow and Friday at none other than the great shop that is known as Leffot.
P.S. Please forgive the sloppy pics!