When it comes to fine leather goods, Italians have long since been regarded as the best in the world. Setting the pace for style and luxury in fashion, Italians just seem to have this natural ability to construct a phenomenal wardrobe with minimal effort. While they may make it look easy, a little research into how they make their clothing, shoes and accessories exposes that it is by no means an easy operation – usually governed by traditions, craft secrets, an exorbitant amount of time, and an utmost respect for the processes and materials used. One such example of this is the house of Silvano Lattanzi – master craftsmen of fine Italian leather shoes, accessories and luggage.
The company is based in Sant’Elpidio a Mare, located on the the eastern side of Italy’s boot, and have been trading since 1974, when Silvano combined his love for beauty and design with his extensive knowledge on cobblery (shoe-making) to good use. And thankfully he did, as his creations are now revered as being the pinnacle of Italian crocodile-leather goods. Now, please let me state upfront that I am not a crocodile-leather type of guy, and would probably never include anything made of crocodile skin in my cupboard. Its not because I have a major issue with using crocodile leather for the manufacturing of leather-goods, but rather that the particular look of crocodile leather does not appeal to me – probably because of the manner Hollywood films of the 1980’s portrayed villains, evil-doers, and those trading in the vulgar excesses, usually donned crocodile leather boots, jackets, hats and the such.
With that off my chest, I am very interested in the Silvano Lattanzi collection for other reasons – most particularly because of a specific process they use to achieve the tone and finish of the shoes. The method incorporated is called L’infossamento, which basically means burying the shoes in pits in the ground and letting the materials interact with the Earth to mature the look and colour. Morbidly, this has something to do with the discovery of beautifully preserved boots of a particular celebrated poet, who was exhumed after 63 years. And while the poet was, by then, idea to play the part of Hamlet’s Yorick, the boots looked great – so great in fact that the idea was born to bury more shoes to repeat the look, this time sans feet and legs. I do wonder though, the decomposition of the poet’s body, particularly the liquidification of the human body, the release of the gases and oils, and the fermentation process, must surely had a role to play in the final outcome of the look of the boots?
But once you get over that, the final finish that this process brings to the leather is remarkable. The colour tones are beautifully mixed, and the shoes take on an aged-feel, somehow communicating the degree of tradition and craftsmanship taken to complete one pair. Silvano’s master-crafted and beautifully designed and manufactured goods, have caught the attention of some global celebrities, politicians and socialites, who are also not shy to spend in excess of USD1000 for a single pair. Eric Clapton, Andy Garcia, a few of the Popes, and US Presidents (both Republican and Democrat) have all forked out the funds to own a pair of these. So if you have the money to spare, perhaps have a look into the creations of Silvano Lattanzi. What’s more, if you really have too much money burning a hole in your pocket, then, nothing screams luxury than a pair of bespoke Italian shoes – and the house of Lattanzi create some very special orders.
As for availability in South Africa, well, that’s still a mystery, but if I get any more info, I will update this post. But for now, you can order through the website.