The Anglo-Saxons call it the stealth wealth where the quiet luxury – understand “stealth wealth” or “discreet luxury”. The billionaire and cynical characters of the series Succession, launched in 2018, have become its television incarnation with their all-purpose and overpriced cador looks. Last year, to perfect the silhouette of one of the heroes, Kendall Roy, spoiled, calculating and neurasthenic heir, costume designer Michelle Matland chose a pair of Loro Piana, with their signature white soles, which the fans immediately identified.
These shoes called White Sole, mixed and of nautical inspiration, may have been created in 2005, it is quite recently that a wealthy and globalized elite, like the gallery owner Larry Gagosian, slipped their feet into this model sold between 800 and 1,000 euros on average. About them, the wall street journal mischievously wondered a few months ago: “Why are the rich so obsessed with such boring shoes? »
The desire for discretion of upscale customers is one explanation. The impact of advertising is another. Because Loro Piana, once known to do without advertising exposure, began to use it gradually from 2013, the date of its acquisition up to 80% by LVMH. The quality and complexity of its manufacture, connoisseurs suggest, is also a snobbery worth considering. “When you see this white-soled shoe, you think you’ve seen other shoes and it’s easy to manufacture. In truth, no.” we are assured in Porto San Giorgio, a factory in the Marche region, in eastern Italy, which employs a hundred craftsmen and which has been manufacturing White Sole de Loro Piana since January 9.
The process begins with a cut of lambskin or suede, supplied by Italian tanneries outside the brand. It is necessary to pair two pieces of the same color, the skins being neither dyed nor chemically treated. These are then put in volume in order to constitute the top of the shoe. They then take the form of a boot or that of a moccasin. “Everything is sewn by hand, explains a framework. The structure is reinforced in places, especially at the back of the heel, but without plastic or metal, using skins, to ensure that the shape will stay in place and that the foot will not deform the shoe at first fitting. »
An insole, in leather, is then fixed using an assembly machine and then taken up by hand to flatten it completely. Then comes the addition of the outer sole – the famous white rubber sole – which is made by gluing. “We gently place the top of the shoe by hand in the white sole then, once assembled, everything goes in the fridge and in the oven”, we sum up with a smile at Loro Piana. Let the product be tested from minus 30 to over 60 degrees, since “The extreme temperatures guarantee a chemical reaction that allows the glue to adhere well”.
Twenty-four hours of rest follow, before the finishing touches: cleaning the glue drippings, ironing the leather to tame an unexpected crease… A first check at the factory, to remove any stains or scratches, precedes a second carried out in Borgosesia (Piedmont), where the items of the brand founded in 1924 are centralized before being distributed in its 163 stores. Not sure that Kendall Roy has to go there: for the fourth season of Succession, its interpreter, actor Jeremy Strong, told QG that Loro Piana had sent him a piece directly, this time a made-to-measure jacket… As if his character, as devious as he was, had definitely become the label’s best ambassador, by succumbing to this muted luxury.