When Stefano Bemer’s eponymous founder sadly passed away in 2012, Tommaso Melani — a close friend of the master shoemaker, and the scion of 65-year-old Florentine fine leather goods atelier, Scuola de Cuoio — purchased the house and set about expanding its offering from bespoke footwear to also include made-to-order and ready-to-wear product.
Today, under the auspices of CEO and proprietor Tommaso, the Stefano Bemer brand is renowned throughout the world for its elegant, artisanal Italian-made shoes, which honour the late founder while evolving and enlarging upon his vision.
Here, Tommaso details the 10 essential styles of ‘proper’ shoe (let’s leave sneakers, sandals and espadrilles aside for the minute) he believes every man should possess in his footwear arsenal.
10. BLACK IS BLACK: “A black cap-toe Oxford with no brogue will cover all of the formal and professional needs of a gentleman, going with any grey or navy suit.”
9. TUX RETURNS: “Every man should have a tuxedo in his closet. But in order to make it a notch more contemporary, I suggest black velvet slippers to go with it. I actually end up using them also with jeans and a black shirt.”
8. LET IT SNOW: “Living part-time in NYC, snow is a constant challenge. I opted for a pair of boots in dark brown, hatched calfskin, rubber sole and storm welt construction. I call them my ‘Jaeger’ — the Hunters. I wear them with any checkered trousers and a sportscoat for a rather smart-casual winter look.”
7. COUNTRY GENT: “When you want to wear solid-colour flannel pants and a cozy checked sportscoat, the perfect shoe to match is a brown wingtip derby brogue.”
6. REFINED & RELAXED: “Oxford cap-toe shoes are THE shoes. I like to wear them in a chocolate suede, with a light-blue suit or, even better, with grey gabardine or ‘fresco di lana’ pants together with a rather formal blue blazer.”
5. FEELING BLUE: “Blue shoes are very sophisticated. I even prefer them over black shoes for formal occasions with a blue suit. Every man should stretch out of the black comfort zone into the blue!”
4. DOUBLE TROUBLE: “Double monkstraps are my passion. I own several but, if I could have only one, to wear with practically everything I have in my closet — from suits to jeans — I would choose a classic mahogany brown with silver buckles.”
3. SPRING IN THE STEP: “When spring comes, I wear loafers! My all-time favourite is a tassel loafer in suede, the colour being somewhere in between a grey and a brown (we call it olive balantine). Pants getting shorter, with a nice colourful pair of socks or without socks at all, no man should be without a pair of these.”
2. GRAND DESIGNS: “My grandfather always said, ‘Pay attention to the shoes you wear because everyone else will.’ And he was certainly never caught short with a dark brown, box calf Oxford cap-toe, highly polished on toe and heel.”
1. GREY MATTERS: “I recently received my first pair of grey shoes. Not any grey, of course, but a medium-to-dark grey on which I have requested a special brown patine, heavier on the toe box, arch and heel and around the brogue lines. The combination of brown and grey creates shades of green sometimes and the hand-stitched sole contributes to focus the attention on the movement of the colour on this fine and stylish Oxford. Every man needs a fancy shoe in the closet!”
Check out the Stefano Bemer range and enquire about made-to-order and bespoke services via the website: stefanobemersrl.com