Imagine that you are going into a shoe shop and try on some new shoes but with this difference – you are blindfolded. Variety of styles, sizes and widths are fitted and your feet will tell you if they fit well or badly. You and your feet expect new shoes to cosset the foot firmly and to be a close fit around the heel. There must be no suspicion that they might slip off.
I began to think seriously about feet and ask how does a shoe take form.
I began exploring about shoe last and understood its importance.
Here is a picture of Ferragamo and his collection of shoe last which was taken from his autobiography he wrote in 1957, The Shoemaker of Dreams. He is surrounded by the shoe lasts of actresses he designed for with names like Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren.
I was lucky to get hold a copy of his earlier prints in Florence and he is a huge inspiration to me. I am reading his book for the n-th time and I hope to share more with you.
In general, shoe lasts are foot-shaped, but they are not exactly like the feet they intend to fit. The last is an abstract copy of the human foot. In production phase, it take the place of the foot, which acts as a working surface on which flat leather components can be given a 3D form.
I had a fantastic experience visiting a shoe last factory in Florence and the manager explained in detail the processes of creating lasts to carving the right shape and showed us the last archive which brands include Gucci and Prada.
Variety of attractive foot-shaped cavities called shoes are made and you, are invited to put your feet into these in order to decide which fits you best, while, at the same time, being attractive to the eyes.
There are hardly any lastmakers in the world who insist on working only with their hands, only occasionally resorting to maching processing to make their work less onerous.
Carving of the last is fascinating for most parts because it is like creating a sculpture – it becomes a real base of the shoe world and it is from there the dream starts.