High & Mighty

For Salvatore Ferragamo, necessity begat invention, and the wedge was born

HE STARTED AS a shoemaker's apprentice at age 11, and by 13, Salvatore Ferragamo had his own shop, selling shoes to the locals in Bonito, Italy. The 11th of 14 children, Ferragamo had always dreamed of creating the perfect shoe. He traveled to Boston, where he joined his brother working at a footwear company, before hitting Hollywood in the 1920s and opening the Hollywood Boot Shop. There his cowboy boots and Roman sandals were often used on movie sets, and soon celebrities came calling for custom orders. But it wasn't until 1936, when the use of leather and steel was restricted...

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