Amalfi made some of the prettiest most feminine shoes of the early 1950’s ~ 1960’s. This delicate T-strap trimmed with a flower is made of rich coppery brown suede accented with metallic leather is a lovely example ~ and yet another example of a very desirable and attractive brown shoe! They were made in Italy of course.
I like brown shoes! Maybe because I also like chocolate! I associate brown with delicious chocolate and luxury leather goods! Amalfi’s shoes were always luxurious.
My mother found reason’s to buy them, like this pair, because it matched her auburn hair and an emerald green pair because it looked so good with her Titian hair. Of course owning and wearing beautiful shoes and handbags made her happy. She was very fastidious about her shoes and bags, selecting the exact right ones to wear each day with every suit or dress.
In the mid sixties my mother took a trip to Italy with her sisters and her father for the express purpose of buying shoes and purses. At least that is why the women went along. My grandfather went to study the architecture and took them with him for the experience. They dutifully toured buildings and museums for a couple of hours a day and shopped for the rest. He dutifully paid for all their purchase! Lucky girls! He joked on their return about how little energy they had for studying and how much they had for exploring the shops! He also loved fine leather good and shoes and came back with several pairs of custom made boots. He was a great appreciator of the Italian design and craftsmanship.
Ever after that sojourn my mother referred to her auburn hair as Titian because it sounded so much more romantic and European! After they returned to the United States they could continue to enjoy aspects of Italy each day by wearing the shoes and handbags they had brought home. It cheered them up and kept them going. My mother always said, “You should wear the best shoes you can get! It will make people treat you with respect.” My grandfather always said, “You should buy the best shoes you can because they will last a long time!” Both have proven correct in my experience!
Ugo Rangoni began his shoe company in the early 1930’s in Florance in two rooms of his house. Within a few years he had become so well known for his workmanship that he was making shoes for Christian Dior and other couture designers. In the 1950’s he invented the T~strap design like the ones shown above and it was so popular he sold over two million pairs. There were variations on the design and its adornment and colors but the basic shoe was thus.
Note: Rangoni was credited with inventing the T~strap but I think he just made his version very popular. Because I know, for a fact, that variations on the T~strap design existed in the 1920’s and 30’s and were made by other designers. It has long been a popular style for dance shoes because the straps keep the shoes on while dancing as well as flattering the foot and ankle.
I have other vintage Amalfi shoes in my collection as well as other T~strap designs from Amalfi and other designers. I also have a beautiful pair of elegant vintage Amalfi boots in the most delicious caramel color I will be sharing soon. It is rare to find vintage Amalfi’s in these charming old designs. They were notoriously comfortable and were often used until they wore out completely. As far as I can find out the alluring and delicate vintage styles of yesteryear are no longer being manufactured, thus, if you happen to come across a vintage pair and love them you should get it. They are very rare! There aren’t many left because they were loved to pieces!
The Amalfi by Rangoni company is still in production, now in a big factory in Florence. They are now known for casual and comfortable shoes still made to the highest standards of Italian workmanship, rather than the whimsical couture creations of yesteryear. They have their own shops in major cities and are sold in shoe stores all over the world as well as online. They are beautiful practical shoes of high quality and still very desirable.
Photographs by Fredric Lehrman.
Styled by Violette de Courcy.
Shoes from The Lady Violette Shoe Collection.