Have you heard of the latest documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino? The Salvatore – Shoemaker of dreams movie is dedicated to the life and creations of Italian stylist and entrepreneur Salvatore Ferragamo.

Salvatore – Shoemaker of dreams has been presented in world premiere, out of competition, at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival on Sunday, September 6.

Salvatore’s Life

The Italian stylist was born in 1898 in Bonito (in Campania, Southern Italy), from a humble family. Endowed with great intelligence, goodwill, determination and inspiration, he immediately falls in love with the art of shoemaking.

He makes his first pair of shoes for his sister at the age of nine, and being a shoemaker becomes his profession.  With a few cents in his pockets and a suitcase full of hope, the 17-years-old Salvatore joins his siblings in the United States.

Thanks to them, he gets in touch with the world of film and become the fashion designer of Hollywood stars.

In fact, he’s so popular that Rodolfo Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks are his regular guests. Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Sofia Loren, Greta Garbo are only a few of the celebrities who were wearing the shoes created by Ferragamo, on set and in life.

Salvatore returns to Italy in 1927. Once in Florence, he founds the company Ferragamo, which from then on will become famous all over the world for his patented models, technical innovations and eccentric style.

Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62, the business was then managed by his wife Wanda Milletti and later by their six children. We can see his legacy both in the liveliness of the brand and at the Ferragamo Museum, in Florence.

As part of his bequest, we can’t forget to mention the Fondazione Ferragamo, a foundation which mission is to help the professional growth of young people interested in the field of fashion.

source: Farizabasov on Wikipedia; licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Movie

Distributed by Lucky Red and produced by Frenesy Film Company and MeMo Films, Salvatore – Shoemaker of Dreams, is a work started in 2017 and realized over three years.

It is inspired by the autobiography “The Shoemaker of Dreams” (published by Skira, reprinted by Electa) and the script was written by the fashion journalist Dana Thomas.

By contacting the Ferragamo family, Guadagnino got access to the files of the brand. Thanks to the material provided by the foundation and the museum, he was able to collect exclusive interviews and anecdotes.

This documentary traces the fascinating human, artistic and entrepreneurial story of Salvatore Ferragamo. The narrator is Michael Stuhlbarg, but even the stylist himself gets to talk to us, turning into the story teller via some vintage recordings.

Moreover, the soul of Ferragamo is also narrated through images, historical documents, home movies and testimonies.

Protagonists of these testimonies are, alongside the members of the Ferragamo family, the director Martin Scorsese, the costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, and other numerous stylists, journalists, fashion and film critics.

Director’s Statement

What is genius? How is a system born, be it the cinema or fashion? And how can the frenzied obsession with a constant search for ideas and creativity be reconciled with tradition and family values? Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960), protagonist and witness of the 20th century, is the answer to these questions.

Luca Guadagnino

FYI: You can also listen to Salvatore Ferragamo’s story narrated by Valeria Golino and Isabella Rossellini. Podcast now available on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple iTunes.

PS. Are you a cinema lover? Here are 7 of the best movies set in Tuscany