Vigevano, Italy–Past the damp, hay colored rice paddies and the abandoned factories and mills of Pavia, a cobbler is working alone in an auto garage-turned-shoe cathedral, covered floor to ceiling in balmorals, derbies, chelseas, wing tips, jodhpurs, monk straps and even cowboy boots.
“My shoes scare Italians. My shoes are very international,” Riccardo Bestetti told BACO, barely looking up from his spectacles, while pressing a new oxford against a rapidly spinning buffing wheel.
Bestetti’s signature exaggerated, asymmetrical contours of the outsoles, welt and throat of the shoes, give the shoes a wild twist, much like Bestetti’s quirky personality. The strikingly vibrant natural dyes and the glossy finishes give his footwear an unmatched artisan quality that can only be found in Italy. Surprisingly, a large part of Freccia Bestetti’s DNA is red, white and blue American.
A self-professed free spirit, an encounter with a cowboy boot maker in Texas changed his life and his professional direction forever.
“Eight years ago, I changed everything. My site, my shoes. EVERYTHING.”
Most of Bestetti’s shoes are suited for a man with a dual sense of style – a 20’s era dandy and a 70’s pimped-out Casanova. For example, one oxford coined the “gladiator” destined for an American client is crafted with a contrast of French calf patent leather and panels of suede and fitted with a lifted arch and numerous stitched stripes.
“International clients are shoe lovers and they know exactly what they want. Especially Asians, they are very attentive to details and appreciate my shoes,” Bestetti said.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Marta Ferri: The Contemporary Atelier, Lorenzo Borghi: Old Style Milliner, Freccia Bestetti: Too International for Just Italy, Brunello Cucinelli: The King of Cashmere, The Mini World of Ginevra Dondina, Passaggio Cravatte: A Treasure Chest of Ties
WHO: Freccia Bestetti by Riccardo Bestetti
WHAT THEY MAKE: bespoke and ready-to-wear mens shoes
WHERE THEY ARE SOLD: firstname.lastname@example.org
HEADQUARTERS: Vigevano, Italy
PRICE: RTW about EUR1500, bespoke about EUR3000.