I love Hilary Rodham Clinton's expression 'It takes a village'. Like getting ready for the Met gala, it takes a village but more on that later...
A fashionable woman needs a village: the clothes, the shoes, the lover... This is Part One in a series on the French actress Lantelme who was the daughter of a janitor and was said to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Weekend reading for you from RARE vintage. Read on...
There is a photo of the French actress Lantelme and it is inscribed "to the dearest and best shoe maker in the world".
Paolo Yantorny, the artist bootmaker, who clothes the feet of Princesses, Grand Dukes and men of wealth. If you happen to be one of these he will receive you in his white apron and somewhat rough clothing, and with the same absence of any sort of deference.
Yantorny is not disposed to throw the result of a lifetime of study, and the value of his creative facility, into the manufacture of one pair of shoes or boots, however much is offered to him. Your order will consist of the following things:
10 PAIRS OF BOOTS OR SHOES
10 PAIRS OF TREES
60 PAIRS OF STOCKINGS OR SOCKS
1 TRUNK FOR CARRYING BOOTS OR SHOES
Rita Lydig's trunk of Yantorny shoes and shoe trees. Met Museum.
Yantorny carves with own hands from a block of mahogany a 'last'. Everything depends on the last. There is a long study of the client's foot, weight, manner of walking and even dress are required before the exact form can be hit upon.
Rita Lydig's shoe trees. Met Museum.
While the shoes are being made stockings of the finest and thinest material are being woven. A sixteenth of an inch too much or too little in the length of one's hose, Yantorny says, is enough to ruin everything. He insists they must harmonize in color perfectly with the shoes.
The gem of Yantorny's work is a pair of shoes entirely covered in the feathers of a tiny Japanese hummingbird. The feathers are only a tenth of an inch long and 500 birds birds were required to produce this pair of shoes.
The Japanese hummingbird. 500 teeny tiny birds seems cruel to create a single pair of shoes...
He wishes to confine his clients to those who are best dressed, since only the most elegantly attired are worthy of his creations.
Text from The New York Times
Part two on Lantelme. Next Sunday.