Thursday, March 26, 2009
Classic To Be: Ferragamo's Vara Shoes
When you're obsessed with vintage clothing, it's fascinating to observe as a particularly distinctive example of past-era design emerges into popular fashion consciousness as a classic. To actively seek out these underappreciated paragons is a form of trendspotting where the trend has been around for decades, and frequently scorned as fusty and old-fashioned. But eventually enough people realize that the garment, or shoe, or even printed pattern, is singularly beautiful in a way that transcends its era. From that point, it becomes part of the collective fashion conscience: museum-worthy, and highly collectable.
Such has been the case with Norman Norell dresses. Chanel 2.55 quilt bags. Roger Vivier pilgrim-buckle shoes.
I think it will soon be true as well with the latter's Italian counterparts: Ferragamo's Vara shoes. These demure, correct, surpassingly ladylike pumps, with their moderate chunky heel and brass-buckled grosgrain ribbon bow, have been reissued by the company every year since their debut in 1978. They are beloved of a certain type of woman: well-off but not flashy, uninterested in extreme trends, devoted to quality and craftsmanship. In short, your grandmother, if your grandmother lives on the Upper East Side or the 18th arrondissement or in a modest villa overlooking the Arno.
But grandmas like these knew a good thing when they saw them. Without them, there would be no Chanel quilt bags, or Norell dresses, or pilgrim-buckle shoes.
Ferragamo Varas, I've got my eye on you.