Scott Schuman, the photographer behind The Sartorialist, has created a limited-edition shoe with Italian men’s label Sutor Mantellassi. The dress style is set to debut this weekend at the Pitti Uomo show in Florence, but Schuman gave Footwear News a sneak peek (scroll down for a look).
And here, the photographer fills us in on how the partnership came together and what other projects he has in the works.
What was the inspiration for your shoe?
The project came about because Sutor Mantellassi was celebrating the 50th year of Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was a client [of theirs] and wore those shoes on that day. Marcello always looked so dapper, but I didn’t want [the shoe] to be too dressy. It looks like a dress shoe, but I added a Goodyear-welted commando sole and pebble-grain leather. You get the sheen and elegance, but at any moment, you can still be a man and go dancing or do something a little tougher. They are not metrosexual at all.
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How did the design process go?
When I was in Milan in February for the women’s shows, I sketched with the team, led by Gianluca Pollastrelli. I had the basic concept in mind. I wanted a dichotomy of refined shape with an element of ruggedness. I had always thought about what a functional thing a shoe has to be, but also be aesthetically pleasing. Certain small details communicate certain things to people. It was about deciding on the language of design to create the most beautiful shoe.
How will you wear your pair?
With dark jeans and a light jacket. I had shoes similar to these before, way back when I was in college, and I was always looking for them again. Now, it seems, when people do a lug sole, it sticks out and you see it right away, which I don’t like. I like how this one is slightly sunk in, so if you’re looking at it from [certain angles], you don’t really even see it. And I have to be really comfortable walking around in my shoes, shooting all day.
Do you often notice your potential subject’s footwear?
As a photographer, I’m visually greedy. I don’t judge people on their shoes or think about what their choices mean to them. I’m looking to see what I can get out of the shot. The color, the mood, the feeling, whatever it is. I’m looking at the overall picture.
What’s next for you?
I’ve done a lot of collaborations [in the past], and they’ve been just OK. The big thing I learned from the guys at Sutor was a different level of expertise. If [the shoe] gets a really good reaction, we are going to maybe start doing a bigger collection. I also have my third book coming out in September. It’s my take on romantic photographs, where the clothes tell the story of who this person might be.