The Italian footwear refresh
Even before you step inside its shop, you’d already get clues on what Simone Mariotti is about. The name gives it away: you know it’s Italian, and when it comes to shoes, that almost always implies a certain level of quality. You’d also see that it works with a broad palette of colors: blacks and browns share the shelves with leaf green, bright red, royal blue, even silver. When you do take a closer look, you see Simone Mariotti’s real value in its collection of classics: brogues, derbies, loafers, moccasins, and boots-all shapely and made with palpable quality, in Tuscan-sourced leather that is cut, colored, and burnished by hand.
The store carries an eclectic variety of footwear, from dress shoes in black and brown to slip-on sneakers and rubber-soled wingtips. Simone himself describes his eponymous label as “a combination between classic and eccentric. It takes the classic Italian look with an uncommon color and design.”
Uncommon is the operative word. A good number of Simone’s creations are about uniqueness and individuality. They proffer the kind of fl ourish that’s endemic in the Italians’ devil-may-care doctrine of sprezzatura. He says, “A man wearing shoes by Simone Mariotti is not only a man with a taste for the finest Italian shoes, but also a man who wishes to stand out and show his style.”
That’s a rarity, especially today, when men put a premium on timelessness, and it takes more than a different choice of color to stand out tastefully. It’s good that Simone inherited his passion for shoemaking from his father Mauro, who put up his own shop in Tuscany in 1970. This means there’s a measure of heritage, enough to substantiate the eccentric design elements, in the craftsmanship of these shoes.
Today, Simone runs the business with his brother and two sisters, and they’ve been able to expand to most of Europe, as well as Japan, Russia, and the US, while still keeping an eye on quality, variety, and affordability. In the coming seasons, they’re looking to launch a collection of golf shoes and eventually, women’s shoes. If their current offerings are any hint of what to expect, Simone Mariotti is a shoemaker to watch.
(Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City.)
This piece first appeared in our July 2016 issue.