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Perugia is remembered as one of the first acclaimed shoe designer and maker whose name has been

synonymous with style and inventiveness for an extremely long period of time. His career spanned from
the 1920s to the 1960s, He was quite revolutionary, not only in the designs themselves, but also in the
way he approached shoe design. After learning the technical skills from his father, he set up his own
boutiques, the first in Nice, his hometown, and then in Paris. His abilities as a maker developed working
in an aircraft factory during First World War. The precision needed in that sector opened up his mind to
the possibility of applying science to shoemaking; this made him halfway between a maker, an
engineer and, of course, a master createur. He collaborated with the designers who made history of
fashion, from Paul Poiret to Elsa Schiaparelliand Christian Dior; he was also a collector of art, and many
of his designs are hommages to his favourite artists, from Braque to Picasso. His last collaboration was
with Charles Jourdan he acted as consultant to the company between 1960 and 1966 to
whom Perugia left his personal archive after his death in 1977

Most interestingly, he was a pioneer in giving value to his design by patenting his models. This denotes
the growing consciousness of makers in their own capabilities and, above all, their inventiveness and
creativity. As a common raise of consciousness, many designers from the 1920s onwards started to care
about copies and looked for ways to protect their work. Madeline Vionnet, maybe the most
remembered case, used to make videos of her apparently simple designs, in order to safeguard not only
her products, but also, and more importantly, her creative process. Thinking about material property, it
is interesting to see how these designers started to reclaim the authenticity of their products, as
symbols of craft, quality, value and identity. Perugias designs were extremely precise and considered
the aesthetics and the use as well, confirming that to shape a shoe is to shape a walk, and of course the
confidence of the person who wears them. Infamous is his quote: A pair of shoes must be perfect as an
equation and adjusted down to the last millimetre, like a piece of engine. It is difficult to point out one
feature that can characterise Perugiasworks. Each piece shows a different skill, and his keenness to put
ahead a concept. Some of his inventions this is maybe the best way to call them are incredible in
their consideration of both wearability and look; for instance, the Desappearing Pump or Vanishing
Vamp made for Givenchy in 1955 was a visual adjustment to make the foot more elegant, playing on
what was visible while walking.

Shoes designed by Andr Perugia are kept in museum collections all over the world in the Bata
museum in Toronto, in the Met in New York, in the V&A museum in London, in the Kyoto Costume
Institute, among others and jealously possessed by private collectors, but his story has never been
publicly told. It is interesting to know that the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the Victoria &
Albert Museum in London showcases many pieces designed by Perugia, alongside typical, historical and
contemporary iconic pieces. His name pops up in the exhibition, catalysing the attention of who looks
for a fil rouge in the historical development of shoes in the 20th Century.

Private shoe collections are about to turn a century old and Andr Perugia is perhaps one of the
figures capable of representing at its best their role in the history of female fashion. We cant surely
ignore the centuries in the history of shoes that have preceded his biography, however many
centimeters of fabrics kept them covered under long clothing, leaving it up to shoemakers to tell the
history of shoes way before designers. Only in 1910 did clothing start to uncover the legs, starting from
the tip of the shoes to then go up, in the following decade, to the knee. The visionary that created this
important change was Paul Poiret, considered the first modern designer that revolutionized tailoring,
introducing simple structures and drapes instead of hard corsets. The first empire cut of his clothing
enhanced a new femininity that needed ways to express itself: this was probably what Andr Perugia
pointed out, brilliant pioneer of fashion shoes, convinced that womens feet were the mirror of their
personality (like he illustrated in his book From Eve to Rita Hayworth).

Andr Perugia was born in 1893 in Nice and since an early age he worked with great results in his
fathers profession, a capable Italian shoemaker. Andrs skills were inherited by his father together with
his extraordinary creativity, which allowed him to start very soon the road toward success, one in which
the young Andr started by opening a small window shop in one of the most luxurious hotels of Nice.
As he had predicted, wealthy women were willing to pay even hundreds of francs for his unique
creations, and in doing so they opened the door of access to high Parisian society, which he was
introduced in by the now famous Paul Poiret. In 1921 he opened his first boutique in the Faubourg St.
Honor, the most elegant area of Paris, he began working with vaudeville star Josephine Baker, the
actress Pola Negri and with the Hollywood world in which his talent fitted in perfectly. It was thanks to
his passion for the avant-garde art together with experience in an aircraft factory during the First World
War that Perugia realized that "A pair of shoes must be perfect as an equation and adjusted down to the
last millimeter, like a piece of engine". He was an engineer of shoes, a significant collector of modern art
that didnt neglect the technical details, an artist who always sought an original shape that could enclose
a perfect connection between shoe, heel and body weight.
His creations were sold for numbers that at that time touched the limits of the imagination, just as the
shapes that Perugia was studying for his shoes, sometimes inspired and created in honor of Cubist art
pieces, as the pair of shoes in the shape of fish dedicated to George Braque, or what recalls the flight of
the dove of Picasso. Andr Perugia started drawing shoes at the age of 16 years and you could almost
say that he never stopped doing it: he worked for Rita Hayworth and Gloria Swanson, and has been
acknowledged as a timeless fashion icon. His heel-less models have inspired Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci and
Natacha Marro, his spiral heels have been an inspiration to Sergio Rossi, and Comme des Garons has
launched a new version of the design of the drawing of the toes on the tips of the shoes. The engineer of
shoes died in 1977 but his quest for perfection will never cease to amaze
Andr Perugia was a French shoe designer. He worked with designers including Paul Poiret, I. Miller,
Charles Jourdan, Jacques Fath, and Hubert de Givenchy.

Born in Nice, France in 1893 from Italian emigrant parents, he grew up in a family of shoe makers. At the
age of 16, Andre Perugia started to work for a shoe maker. Quickly, he found out that he had more
knowledge than his boss and took over his father business.

Nice, at this time, was home to a wealthy and brilliant society and young Andre Perugia become famous
for his craft.

Paul Poiret (the king of fashion)Paul Poiret who was vacationing in Nice, solicit the young Andre. But
WWI cut short their project. It is in 1920, that finally, Paul Poiret introduced Andre Perugia to the
Parisian society. A year later Andre Perugia opened his first boutique, 11 rue du Faubourg st Honore,
which is the most fashionable street of Paris.

Rapidly, Andre Perugia started designing shoes for the rich and famous. In 1927, he crossed the Atlantic
and came to New York where he was celebrated by the high society.

In 1933, he created the brand Padova, which was exclusively distributed within the U.S by Saks 5th

By then, Andre Perugia had then already moved 2 rue de la Paix, where he remained until his the end.
He continued to design and supply his wonderful shoes throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s.

He retired in 1970 and died in 1977 at age 84