Photo Credit: Mario BemerIn the world of luxury, some focus on the glitz and excess, others consider the time and skill needed to create refined and beautiful objects to be the true luxury of our day. Stefano Bemer is of the latter. His client is a man of style who spends wisely and has a sense of self.
They come from all over the world to the small shop in the "Oltrarno" area, on the left bank of the Arno River. Politicians, movie stars, businessmen, fashion designers; they all come to Stefano Bemer's bespoke shop in Florence for the same reason: They want a pair of shoes handcrafted by the grand master of luxurious men's footwear.
Not only are they sumptuously beautiful, but they fit, as Mr. Bemer likes to say, "as an extension of the man." The process is not quick; an appointment must be made for an initial fitting. The foot is measured and Bemer observes the way the person stands, his anatomy, how he walks, how he sits; all are important factors in creating the shoe to fit the man.
Of course the selection of the style and materials is up to the customer; Bemer is passionate as he discusses with the customer the various models that would work best. Ultimately the shoe must reflect each individual's style and personality. Bemer goes to work taking the finest cuts of leather, transforming them with meticulous detail.
Each stitch sewn with linen threads waxed in-house, all products used are rigorously vegetable based, nothing synthetic is allowed. As a finishing touch the leather is slowly and intentionally buffed to a perfect sheen. "Creating with your hands gives you the possibility to think." And he lives his philosophy, "as an artisan you must work with your hands, head, and heart."
The second fitting is approximately two months later; the last has been made and the shoe is set for the second fitting. If all is well, about another month and the shoes will be finished. The shoes are delivered in a custom made wood box. Each shoe is complete with its shoe tree and carefully wrapped in a soft bag with a polishing brush and the Bemer custom made wax for polishing.
The price? Well, as Bemer explains, if he makes a pair of crocodile shoes he will use the skins in a way that they make a perfectly symmetrical pattern; he will not skimp to save money. The silver buckles are designed by him and handcrafted by a master silversmith. The best materials even in the smallest details are costly, but no matter, these are shoes made to last a lifetime.
Customers send the shoes back if they need to be re-soled or if they simply need to be refreshed. Stefano Bemer stands behind his shoes for a lifetime. True luxury, indeed. To learn more, visit StefanoBemer.it.
Check out the video to see Stefano Bemer at work. Warning: The video is entirely in Italian so we hope you're fluent!