Only available worldwide in Melbourne, unique Italian 124 Shoes.
124 Shoes has opened its second home, on the second floor, of the eagerly awaited Emporium Melbourne. Their store is nestled alongside premium Australian fashion designer stores.
124’s new store features both men’s and women’s artisan manufactured leather shoes, bags, belts and accessories by their established Italian artisan labels, with exclusive commissioned limited edition designs by Shoto, Henderson, Raparo and Officine Creative – Only available through the Emporium Melbourne store.
To coincide with the opening of the new store, Shoto and 124 have collaborated on the creation of a pair of beautifully constructed men’s and women’s ankle boots.
Each shoe has been uniquely crafted with a combination of horse and elk hide, which has been hand dyed and washed.
Each shoe will be a special order, with every pair numbered inside the heel counter. The shoes will only be available throughout the world at 124’s Emporium Melbourne store. This is the first collaboration between the artisan manufacture and 124.
|Based in the Montegranaro region of Italy, the home of artisan footwear manufacturing, Shoto are characterized by a sober elegance. The guarantee of quality hand-made shoes expressed and confirmed in the ‘made in Italy’ statement. The Shoto brand is a sophisticated and refined fashion item. “I am one, but I am still one”.|
The distinctive uniqueness and beauty of Shoto is quite simply down to their handcrafted techniques. It starts off with selecting the hides – horse, moose, kudu, cow and calfskin to name but a few – and then onto the vegetable dip-dye tanning, and natural drying process. Once dried, the shoes are stoned washed through an industrial washing machine. When completed, the shoes are reshaped and then creams and waxes are applied, and through a systematic hand policing process the individual characteristics of each shoe takes form.
One other standalone practice is ‘Bologna’; this is the use of the same leather used on the outer construction of the shoe, used on the innersole, creating a soft snug ‘bag’ like touch to the foot. The upper is then sewn onto the sole following the Blake construction. The technique makes the shoe soft and flexible.
Since 2008 Shoto have been on the radar of Anthony Barbieri, one half of the brains behind 124 Shoes. Anthony was taken aback by the unique designs and distressed constriction of Shoto’s collections. Through continued monitoring of the brand, Anthony’s passion for the label grew. By now Shoto were on the shortlist of desirable labels to feature in 124’s soon to be conceived Emporium Melbourne plans. And in March 2012, on a trip to MICAM, Milan’s major shoe fair, Anthony and his business partner, Neville Colaianni stepped onto Shoto’s stand. It was here that the relationship was ignited.
September 2012, on a return visit to MICAM and the Shoto stand, 124 placed their first order, purchasing five men’s styles – this collection was an instant success, with it unexpectedly selling out within a relatively short period of time. During this period communication between 124 and Shoto was maintained, with an enthusiastic desire from both parties to have Shoto feature regularly on the Australian footwear landscape. Toing and froing over the insuring months saw the relationship mature, with bespoke requests on specific styles being made, and subsequently warmly welcomed.
September 2013 saw a major shift in the relationship. Whilst in Italy on a buying trip, both parties entered into negotiations for the exclusive rights for wholesale distribution of the Shoto brand in Australia and New Zealand. Also, during this visit the collaboration of the men’s and women’s ankle boot for the launch of the Emporium Melbourne store was discussed.
The desire to collaborate on the creation of the limited edition ankle boots for the Emporium Melbourne store came about over a customary bottle of Italian red during dinner one evening. Shoto’s willingness to embrace Anthony’s passion, and suggestion to combined hides – horse and elk, for a unique textural combination – saw the collaboration take flight.
It was also decided that this and all collaborations would be available only at the Emporium Melbourne store, this being the differentiation to their first store positioned on Russell Place.
Since 2011 124’s Russell Place boutique has established itself as a hub for quality Italian men’s and women’s footwear and accessories. Both Neville and Anthony continue to embark on their regular reconnaissance to the heart of Italy’s artisan footwear regions to bring the best of their finds back to Australia. And with the addition of the Emporium Melbourne store, their goal is to increase the number of quality artisan brands in their stable.