Marco Castelli was born in Sicily and started modeling in Milan after graduating from …
From the moment I laid eyes upon Manfredi Manara’s shoes on Instagram, it was instant curiosity and fascination. They’re the shoes worthy of booking a weekend to Milan – carefully-styled outfits in tow – for activities specifically designed to wear them. They’re designs worthy of only the most beautiful settings; one could imagine how wearing them could create experiences of their own.
Manfredi Manara is a young designer with exquisite taste. His handcrafted shoes are luxurious, alluring and feminine but never over the top – from slingback high heels to tasseled t-bar sandals. I interviewed the Milano-based designer about his craft, his global inspirations and the women who wear his shoes.
CT: You have lived and/or worked in every one of the world’s major fashion capitals (Milan, Paris, London, NYC), how has this impacted your work? What are your favorite elements of the way women dress in each of these specific style centers?
MM: Dressing in London tends to be more disheveled and creative, in Paris effortless and seductive and in Milan more conservative and “tasteful”. I think the incredible cultural offerings of these cities influence me more than what I see people wearing on the streets.
CT: Your shoes have a unique knack of taking the best style cues of the past and merging them seamlessly with design codes that are modern and fresh. What are the greatest influences and inspirations for your designs?
MM: I start with a type of trim, knows as “passamaneria”, which are traditionally used to adorn lavish upholstery and see how I can work this into the upper of a sandal or pump. Although not necessarily directly inspired by them, I love to look at clothing in film, be they sci-fi or period dramas. At the end of the day, however, the shoes must make the feet and wearer beautiful so it’s important to not end up designing something overtly costume-y and unwearable.
CT: The Fall/Winter 2018-19 runways have shown a lot of glamour and maximalism. However, we are undeniably continuing to see most people turn to more casual wear (especially for day), including athleisure and streetwear. What are your thoughts on this trend and why do you think it’s still important for women to get dressed up?
MM: Trainers are cool, I’m usually wearing a pair, but for a special occasion it’s fun to dress up, especially for women with all the choices in make up, jewellery and accessories. Men can’t really go through much of a transformation, it’s important for certain fashion to still remain somewhat aspirational, fantastical, escapist.
CT: What are your favorite fabrics and materials?
MM: Satin absolutely. Also metallic leathers. Anything shiny and precious looking, without it verging into the realm of tacky.
CT: What does luxury mean to you?
CT: What are a few places in Milan that embody the Manfredi Manara lifestyle?
MM: The Villa Necchi, Museo Poldi Pezzoli and Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi all used to be private residences which you can now visit and admire some rather fabulous interiors from bygone times.
Shop stunning footwear collections by Manfredi Manara at ManfrediManara.com, No30 in Milan and Maria Luisa in Doha.
About Chanoa Tarle
Chanoa Tarle is a freelance copywriter, journalist and editor specializing in fashion and luxury goods/lifestyle.
Her work has appeared in magazines including ELEVATE and Luxury Hoteliers and she’s written for an inspiring list of companies including Scaling Retail and Neiman Marcus.
Get in touch – Email firstname.lastname@example.org