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Perugia, Andre

Andre Perugia was born in Nice, France in 1893 of Italian parentage. He trained in his father's workshop and at the age of 16, in 1909, he opened a shop in Paris where he sold handmade shoes and was planning to concentrate on design and creativity. He later moved to Rue Faubourg St. Honore, where all the fashion designers had their salons.

After World War I, he made shoes for fashion designer Paul Poiret, and it was through his association with the world-famous couturier that his success was assured.

Among his clients in the 20's were stars of the Folies Bergere and movie actresses who wanted shoes that epitomized the glamour of the stage -Josephine Baker and movie siren Gloria Swanson, silent movie star Pola Negri and Mistinguette – queen of the French vaudeville, whose legendary legs were inspiring artists fantasy and creativity.

Always eager to experiment with new materials, shapes and textures, Perugia continued to create shoes of startling originality throughout a 50 year association with I. Miller and then with Charles Jourdan.

Humor and originality were distinguishing his models. He was known to talk to his shoes, so he earned a reputation as an eccentric as well as a genius. He wrote a book "From Eve to Rita Hayworth" in which he said that the way to unveil a woman's personality was to study her feet.

Perugia made shoes in homage to several distinguished artists. His fish pump of 1931, made of overlaid kid with decorative "scales" is a tribute to George Braque, the French cubist artist. In 1950, he made a "homage to Picasso" sandal which seems to be floating in the air.

He worked for many fashion designers such as Jacques FATH and GIVENCHY. In the 30's he also made some witty shoes for Elsa SCHIAPARELLI. He retired in 1970 and died in 1977, aged 84.