Shoe-Obsessed Editor Nicky Briger’s Guided Tour Of Louis Vuitton’s New Line, ‘Shake’

"Louis Vuitton’s shoe workshop is like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory."

They say when planning an outfit, always start with your shoes. From there, everything flows, as they’re key to ensuring your look is a stylish success. Maybe that’s why my eyes always dart downwards when people approach me. Or perhaps it’s just a shoe obsession I cultivated as a kid, clomping around the house in mum’s satin, pointy-toed pumps. 

So when an invite appears in my inbox to visit a shoe factory, my rapid-fire reply is “yes”. But this isn’t any factory. Louis Vuitton’s workshop in the town of Fiesso d’Artico, 30 kilometres from Venice, is an iconic space of calm, creativity and, yes, shoes. Lots of them. The factory opened in 2009, but the region has been the world’s shoe manufacturing capital since the 13th century, which is why the French luxury brand selected Fiesso as its base, ready to lure the experienced local artisans to its doors.

louis vuitton workshop
The interior patio of LV’s shoe workshop in Italy plays host to the Priscilla shoe sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos. (Credit: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.)

For devotees like me, entering the guarded gate to LV’s workshop is like gaining exclusive access to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Every style of LV heels, boots, loafers and sneakers – they make 86 lines a year – sits neatly on display in endless rows, each divided into four sections depending on where the shoe is in the production process.

But beyond the shoes, it’s the artisans who really impress. All exquisitely dressed top-to-toe in Louis Vuitton, they’ve created the world’s chicest factory floor. Many have worked for LV for decades and now their children are learning the craft alongside them.

louis vuitton shoemaker
Louis Vuitton formier creates the last on which the shoe will be constructed. (Credit: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.)

At Fiesso, shoe-making isn’t a job, it’s an artform passed down through many generations. Watching them work is pure joy. With deft hands they slice, cut, rub, stick, fold and smooth the materials. Every movement is carefully choreographed as they hand-stitch soles, smooth creases from leather and thread laces through sneakers. All shoes are handmade, so while Fiesso is all about feet, it’s the hands that take centrestage.

Today we’re at the workshop to see the making of Louis Vuitton’s just-released – and soon-to-become iconic – shoe collection, Shake. These retro-inspired styles are ultra-feminine, contemporary yet classic, but also practical, versatile and, dare I say, comfortable (not that fashion is ever about comfort). Their design draws inspiration from the popular Twist bag: its sculptural LV closure adorns each style with high-impact chic.

Chiara Ferragni wearing Louis Vuitton Shake shoes
Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni models Louis Vuitton’s retro-inspired shoe collection, Shake. (Credit: Photography by Oliver Hadlee Pearch for Louis Vuitton.)

From slingback heels and patent-leather Mary Janes to low-heeled sandals and slim ballet flats, the Shake is defined by its square toe, block heel and lacquered LV emblem. Available in black, nude, white, rose, burgundy and ice-blue, there are also leopard-print options for added drama. Perfect for the office or sipping cocktails by the pool, the Shake is poised to capture those seeking that elusive combination: cool-girl chic and timeless elegance. There’s nothing better for the sole.

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