Always harboured the idea of having some made-to-order shoes? TESTONI’s chief product officer Enzo Vaccari tells you how…
As Christian Louboutin once said, “shoes transform your body language. They lift you physically and emotionally.” Whether you’re looking to sharpen up your look, or have a big meeting, job interview or date coming up, a pair of custom-made shoes is a great place to start, as they deliver a bespoke edge to your look and may act as a talking point.
Luxury Italian brand TESTONI has an app-based made-to-order service that enables style-conscious men (and women) to create their own formal style leather shoes, according to chief product officer Enzo Vaccari.
“We offer four items, two for men and two for women. One is a lace-up and the other is a slipper style of shoe. Customers first select their shoe style and then the materials, which include crocodile and antique calfskin in different colours. Once the customer has made their selection, they can preview their shoes on the app from all angles,” Enzo explains.
On confirmation of the order, the brand’s artisans use TESTONI”s signature shoe making techniques, including the Piuma Rapid, which incorporates around 200 manual steps and uses external chain stitching with hand-braided linen twine to create featherlight footwear that protects the wearer from hot, cold and humid weather.
If you’re considering a bespoke look, be sure to plan ahead, as it takes approximately 90 days to complete a pair of TESTONI Made-to-Order shoes, adds Vaccari. Once the shoes are ready, you can pick them up at TESTONI’s first Asian concept store, which debuted this May at K11 MUSEA in Tsim Sha Shui.
Enzo Vaccari tells us more about this timeless brand and the benefits of going bespoke.
Who is your demographic?
Our target demographic is affluent professionals who have an appreciation of quality products, craftsmanship and style. We have an extensive range of styles, from formal dress shoes to casual style loafers, and a wide selection of sneakers to suit our customer’s needs, whatever the occasion.
What sets TESTONI’s made-to-order service apart from similar offerings in the market?
TESTONI’s MTO service provides discerning customers with an exclusive footwear customisation experience: customers can select the style, type of leather and colour of their shoes to create a unique pair that suits their individual taste and style. These shoes are manufactured only after the customer places an order.
How can TESTONI’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship be reflected in this MTO service and the brand’s wider product range?
TESTONI sets the highest standards in luxury footwear, both in terms of our wide product range and the MTO service. Since our inception, we have pushed the boundaries of craftsmanship, pioneering new techniques and keeping age-old traditions alive despite their complex and labour-intensive nature. For example, we still use the Bolognese construction technique in many of our key styles, from formal shoes to sneakers, ensuring that shoes fit like a glove.
Hong Kong was chosen as the location for TESTONI’s first concept store and made-to-order service in Asia. What prompted that decision?
Hong Kong is and will always be an important luxury hub. In the city, we see an incredibly discerning local population with a strong appreciation for luxury, and opportunities to serve an increasing number of regional and international tourists. Our customers want to see the full breadth of our offerings, from ultra-luxury lines all the way through to our sneakers and more casual styles. They also want to experience something completely unique that they can’t find anywhere else.
Hong Kong is a mature luxury market and one of the major challenges is to ensure we continue to innovate, engage and inspire our customers. For the launch of our new concept store this May, we collaborated with Hong Kong-based artist Iswarya Venkatakrishnan to create an art installation that brought the TESTONI brand values to life. Titled #WalkYourOwnPath, the art piece pays homage to the brand’s Italian roots.
Can you tell us more about the history and vision behind TESTONI as a brand?
The brand was created in 1929 in Bologna, the historical centre of Italian shoemaking, by entrepreneur Amedeo Testoni. Aged 24, Testoni had already mastered the secrets of the city’s most celebrated shoemakers and opened his own workshop. He was driven to create the highest quality and most comfortable shoes and quickly made a name for himself by creating his own shoe making methods.
This pioneering approach ensured that TESTONI consistently set the highest standards in luxury footwear. One of Amedeo Testoni’s first innovations was the signature spiral, which he originally conceived to hide the twine that attaches the sole. This spiral remains a signature detail on many styles today. Another iconic decorative detail is the filettone. This thin leather piping creates the perfect non-overlapping seam between various parts of the shoe or border between colour contrasts, adding character to dress shoes.
What about more recent innovations?
In 2006, TESTONI patented the innovative Piuma Rapid technique, which improves on the age-old Norwegian construction. The brand also continues to use the Bolognese construction technique in many of its key styles, from formal shoes to sneakers. While many other footwear brands have abandoned this ultra-complex and labour-intensive technique, for TESTONI, ensuring that shoes are unbeatably comfortable and flexible is the highest priority.
What are some of the current trends in the luxury leather shoe market, and how is TESTONI adapting to these trends?
We see a growing trend for informal shoes such as loafers and sneakers in the luxury leather shoe market. Customers are increasingly looking for stylish and comfortable shoes that can be worn in a variety of settings, from dress-up to dress-down occasions.
To adapt to this casual trend, we’ve expanded our product range to include a wider selection of easy-to-wear leather shoes and sneakers. We apply the same shoemaking philosophy to our casual and more formal styles, selecting the best quality materials and using our tried and tested techniques such as Piuma Rapid and Bolognese construction. Loafers and sneakers are some of our best selling styles.
What’s coming up for TESTONI in Hong Kong over the next 12 months?
We’re planning to extend the made to order services, and more stores will open in Asia, including mainland China.
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