The Soul of the Shoe Lies in Italy
Italy has long been synonymous with shoes, and not just because it is in the shape of a boot. Italian handmade shoes are the gold standard of luxury footwear for two simple reasons, material, and craftsmanship.
The history of leather tanning, the process of turning animal hides into a useable, durable material, is almost as old as the history of humankind, although less well-documented. Early man experimented with many different methods of curing hides before vegetable or bark tanning was discovered, most probably in the small Egyptian town of Gebelein south of Thebes on the Nile river. The technique quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean civilizations and the Roman Empire as it produced a material that was supple enough to be used for bookbinding and tough enough to be used in armor.
Tanning was brought to perfection in the merchant city-states of medieval Italy, especially in the Tuscany and Le Marche region, where there was (and is) an abundant supply of good quality hides. The techniques developed then have been passed down from generation to generation and are still used today, with only minor automation in parts of the process that will not affect the quality of the end product. This is why all Fabrice Tardieu leather shoes are made with nothing but the best quality Italian leather, and that means the best quality leather in the world.
Italy is famous for more than just shoes and leather. It feels like you cannot turn around in Italy without being confronted by a historic building, monument, or even piece of furniture, usually several hundred, and in some cases, thousands of years old. The fact that they are still standing, with many intact and still in use, is a testament to the unparalleled quality of Italian Craftmanship.
Italian artisans are perfectionists, and whether they are stonemasons, carpenters or cordwainers (shoe makers) they bring a level of skill and degree of precision and consistency to their work which it is hard to find anywhere else in the world.
When you are surrounded by so much obvious history, tradition plays an important role in your life. This is why, as with tanning, traditional shoe making techniques are passed down from generation to generation, constantly being honed and refined to do justice to the quality of the material they work with and produce that thing of beauty which is the Italian leather shoe.
While the rest of the world embraced technology, making the necessary compromises between quality and quantity, Italian craftsmen embraced their heritage, and to this day maintain the quality and standards that brought the Italy to the forefront of the shoe industry after WWII.
As Fabrice Tardieu shoes are made of the finest quality leather in the world, it is natural that they should also be made by the best craftsmen and this is why all our collection are handcrafted in Italy from the finest Italian leather.