It was a particularly warm San Francisco day last Thursday (82 degrees on Market Street), the perfect temperature for Italian designer Franco Sarto, along with Vogue magazine, to unveil the Italian’s Spring line of gumdrop-colored platform sandals and espadrilles at Nordstrom City Centre. From Azur blue espadrilles to sunshine yellow platforms, Franco Sarto Shoes are giving women a little Dolce Vita for the feet-a. (ok, that was bad)
The designer himself said, “Beautiful shoes should be one part sophistication, and one part wit.” Though he spoke through a translator, he was talking my language. I love shoes, and Franco Sarto shoes blend style and comfort, whimsy, and an affordable price point that make them a must in every woman’s closet. But what I love most about Franco Sarto shoes is Franco Sarto himself. From the moment I stepped into the store, the adorable designer had me by the shoe strings.
Dressed in a deconstructed grey blazer, pocket handkerchief, and summery white pants, and looking like he just came from an languid lunch on the Amalfi Coast , Sarto said he thought our colors went well together (I wore bright blue to match his “April” shoe, shown below). His charisma was intoxicating and guests naturally gravitated toward his warm eyes, full of curiosity and sincerity. Sipping San Pellegrino and listening to the Mediterranean music mix in the background, I couldn’t get enough of the Dolce Vita vibe punctuated by Sarto’s friendly, funny, and clearly in love with what he does attitude.
Sarto is the driving force behind the actual designs and has been making a U.S. tour to introduce his new line to cities around the country. Franco Sarto shoes can be found at Nordstrom and Ambiance in San Francisco.
Born in 1949 in Dolo, a small town outside of Venice, Sarto was working in a shoe factory by the time he was 14. While the technician in him continually pushes to make women’s shoes as comfortable as possible, the designer side of Franco Sarto lives for creating fashionable feet.
Before I left, two pairs of Franco Sarto shoes in hand, he said “All women deserve to wear beautiful shoes.” I couldn’t agree more Mr. Sarto. In my broken Italian, I told him that I had already purchased two pairs. He asked me why I speak Italian (I don’t really ) but I told him I had married an Italian. “Congratulazioni!” he enthused, hands in the air, as if I had just won the lottery.
His infectious smile bowled me over once again. He had me, and my feet, at buongiorno.
Ritorna presto Signore Sarto.
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer in San Francisco.