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EVOLUTION - NOT REVOLUTION
Paolo Zengarini's Subtle vision for the London Collection
So many styles of shoes were created and attained cult status in London – from Oxfords to Brogues to Chelsea boots, the city’s youth cultures took deeply practical designs and made them cool. In this spirit, Scarosso introduces the London Collection designed by Paolo Zengarini, a comprehensive collection that combines iconic styles with Scarosso’s technical expertise and hand crafted ethos.
Here he discusses his quiet innovations in shoe making with the London Collection, his latest take on the classics.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE LONDON COLLECTION?
It’s my personal signature – I’m drawn to these kind of shoes. I’m fortunate, the shoes I like, the sort of English style, are in at the moment. I like to design for longevity, and for me the value of the shoes doesn’t just come from the quality, but from the attachment their wearer has to them too. Trends are passing, but these classic styles are timeless and get ever better.
SO YOU WANT TO WEAR IT FOR YEARS?
Exactly! Not just for three months, a season. Shoes should be comfortable, not just literally; comfort comes from wearing something that makes you feel confident too. And you don’t need loads – maybe one good quality model in two different colours or leather.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THIS ONE PAIR OF SHOES? WHAT SETS SCAROSSO SHOES APART?
The way we do things is artisanal – by hand. Stitching the shoes, selecting the leather and materials… we’re so involved. We’ve also got a heritage in shoe making, our lasts are very particular so the shoes fit well. The details are in the design.
AFTER YOU'VE SELECTED THE RAW MATERIALS THOUGH, HOW ARE THE SHOES MADE?
Well, most companies are like car manufacturers – buying parts and putting them together. That’s what other shoe makers do, buying the soles and this and that. In contrast, our company does everything – we design and produce everything. That’s quality. And it means our fit is great.
WHAT'S IN THE NAME? IS LONDON IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Shoes that originated in London, and England, are my working heritage – I’ve always worked with this kind of shoes, and that’s why Scarosso and I came together. I’ve got to create this collection with my own handwriting.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE IN THE COLLECTION?
The Marshall, it’s an Oxford with a little brogue on the toe. It’s kind of a hybrid and is more casual.
SO YOU CAN WEAR IT WITH JEANS?
Yes! I love mixing it up. I like this shoe in particular because you can wear it with more elegant looks, or more casually. I think all the shoes I create have to be mixed up with different kinds of looks – they can be worn with a suit, or jeans, or something in between. My preference is to mix smart and casual.
SO ALL OF THESE STYLES WERE POPULARISED IN LONDON?
Apart from loafers and moccasins! Moccasins are Native American in origin, but somehow have become synonymous with Italian style.
IS INNOVATION IMPORTANT IN CLASSIC SHOE MAKING?
It’s difficult. Personally, my opinion is the less innovation, the better – it’s probably best not to innovate too much. Because true innovation you can’t see – it’s not about adding to these classic styles.
SO THESE STYLES ARE THE SAME AS A CENTURY AGO?
Not at all, it’s just that the evolution has been very subtle. It’s evolution, not revolution. That’s all that’s needed.
I FEEL LIKE YOU'RE NOT A BIG FAN OF TRENDS?
I think they’re a bad influence! These styles have such an identity, but aren’t overpowering. They’re a second skin. Good working conditions are the prerequisite for maintaining the high standards of craftsmanship.
SCAROSSO distributes a premium product that demonstrates the power of history, tradition & passion needed to create a timeless piece. Authenticity doesn’t just mean history anymore – it also means a commitment to high quality fabrications that aspire to a new level of aesthetic. SCAROSSO promises quality with no compromises.