Stefano Bemmer is an iconic Italian shoe brand, based in Florence, that has been operating since the 1980s with the goal of creating the perfect Italian leather shoe. Mr. Bemmer, a craftsman at heart, ran the company until his passing in 2012, when the reigns were taken over by Mr. Tommaso Melani.
Mr. Melani has carried on the Stefano Bemmer name, helping to redefine it in a cluttered marketplace. Both domestically, in Italy, and internationally in Asia and now New York, Stefano Bemmer is becoming synonymous with the creation of luxurious, bespoke Italian leather shoes.
Mr. Melani’s family is no stranger to leather goods. They’ve been making bags in Italy since the 1950s, so you might say that leather runs through his veins. But, with a specific vision, he is now trying to showcase the art of the shoe and the art of Italian shoe making to an influential audience who understands and appreciates the time and effort involved.
I recently met with Mr. Melani in New York at his new showroom on Madison Avenue and 67th Street. The space was impressive and showed a mélange of Stefano Bemmer shoe varieties and styles, with the various options in leather and fabrication available to bespoke customers. There was also a smattering of beautiful bags from the Melani family’s Scuola del Cuoio collection.
In a flash, this lovely gentleman offered me a coffee and began fitting me for a custom pair of Stefano Bemmer shoes. I was in heaven. He went over the process with me, telling me the shoes would take roughly 6-8 weeks to produce. We settled on a gorgeous style, indicative of the brand’s legacy, and chose deep Baltic blue Kudu leather. I couldn’t contain myself at the thought of how the shoes would turn out.
After our meeting, I found myself in Capri several weeks later where a box was delivered in my name. As I opened the packaging, I was stunned at what I saw. Inside, an oak box with my initials printed on one side and a wooden shoe silhouette flanking the other side. And, a blue stained top with the Stefano Bemmer logo.
As I opened the box, blue and white Florentine papers gave way to delicate shoe bags where the works of art awaited. Inside the bags were the gorgeous deep blue leather shoes, so blue they nearly matched the Mediterranean Sea around me. I was stunned by the presentation and art of it all. The shoes themselves even use oak in the construction – a trait of Stefano Bemmer.
I wore the shoes for an event in Capri – and they looked perfect in the environment. Here they are photographed at the beautiful J.K. Place Hotel, in the late afternoon. Any lover of bespoke fashion, and bespoke shoes in general should work with Stefano Bemmer. Their ready-to-wear styles are just as beautiful, but the bespoke experience is unparalleled.