The True Craftsmanship
Dear ‘shoe lover’, you are about to watch how a pair of Silvano Lattanzi shoes are truly hand-made. Created one by one, exclusively through the craftsmanship of man’s hands, each shoe is the result of hours and hours of work, a small masterpiece in itself, different for each customer and that’s why we produce only around 300 pieces a year. Nowadays, very often, the expression “handmade”, is used inappropriately by industrial companies that produce thousands of pairs per month in faraway and underpriced factories. On the other hand, we are pleased to open up our laboratory here in Italy, on the Adriatic country, to all those visitors and shoe enthusiasts alike. This is where you may come and see, in person, all that we are about to show you.
The Choice of the leather
The first step is the choice of leather. When the leather used is of high quality, as in all our objects, even the colors like black and the dark brown assume, once cleaned and polished, a shininess and light and a transparency worthy of the most refined porcelain. Only “first choice” quality leather is used. “First Choice” is not just figure of speech, as the tanneries select up to 7 different qualities of leather. In the more economical footwear the 3rd to the 7th choices are used, which obviously have a different thickness, less shine, blemish and an unpleasant odor
Then follows the cutting procedure, which is strictly carried out by hand. This enables the expert eye of the craftsman cutter to choose the best part of the leather for the upper, avoiding any imperfections. In the industrial production laser cutting is used, which for obvious reasons will appear less selective in the incision and is more suitable to leathers of lower quality.
The assembling onto the wooden ‘last’
The assembling of the upper onto the wooden last is one of the key phases of the craftsmanship. The hand pulls with pincers and nails with the hammer, until leather and wood adhere, until the upper becomes all one together with the leather base. It is an extraordinary creation: a combination of strength and precision. But what also gives value to the footwear is the use of leather counter-forts and leather caps. These are 2 thin reinforcements inserted between the upper and the lining, that protect the shoes at both the point and at the heel. Using leather ones, rather than thermoplastics, bring benefits to the foot transpiration, but above all to the upper which will remain beautiful longer. Subsequently the leather and the upper must be softened: you throw some water on them and start hammering. After this process the shoe must remain on the wooden last to dry for as long as 8 weeks, according to the humidity and the weather.
The stitching of the sole with the ‘welt’
A characteristic of all Lattanzi creations is the ‘welt’. It makes the difference with an anonymous pair of shoes. Not by chance the hand welted shoe has been defined as the Rolls Royce of shoes. The “welt” is a strip of soft leather burrowed by small regular points to which correspond the sewn stitches. The thread, which is hand-made by plaiting various threads, goes through each point twice and is sewn to the upper. The application of the welt by means of sewing is an extremely delicate task that can even take a few days but the result is a resistant and solid shoe that can be resoled over and over again, returning every time as beautiful as new.
The Polishing and the Ageing process
The quality of the leather is essential when carrying out the polishing and the ageing process which must enhance the brightness of the leather and the fineness of its grain. Very often the larger producers use ready dye and spray colors to cover the blemish and the ugly grain of the upper. The result is visibly artificial and the color fades over time. In the handmade coloring there are no doses: it is the tip of the finger that measures every single time the cloth is dipped into the bowl to bring about a darker brown or an ageing effect. And there are no time limits either: to obtain shadings, depending on the season and on the different porousness, from leather to leather, even 10 hours may be necessary for just one pair. This is why the time to make a pair of Silvano Lattanzi shoes does not quantify itself, it depends on how many times a working phase has to be redone until it is perfect and by the inspiration of the artist behind it.