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Inside Vuitton's shoe factory

Walking Tall: Inside Louis Vuitton's shoe factory

Tamsin Blanchard meets the dedicated artisans at Louis Vuitton's Italian shoe workshop who go to extraordinary lengths to ensure their heels always hit the heights.


Paola is one of the most experienced artisans at Louis Vuitton's shoe workshop in Fiesso d'Artico, a short drive from Venice, but when she watched the Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear show as it was being live-streamed to a large screen on the factory floor last March she was reduced to tears.

She was moved not by the appearance of Kate Moss in a negligee, or the incredible scale of the show's setting at the Grand Palais in Paris, but by the shoes on the 50 models' feet. They included high-heeled ankle-strap shoes with a criss-cross of leather over the toes, which were all made in less than three weeks before the show, with the entire factory being given over to producing them for the catwalk.

Paola and her small team burnished each shoe by hand, pains­takingly painting them with a brush and then polishing them to make them look aged. Each took up to an hour to finish - not including the making of the shoe itself, which went through more than 150 separate processes before it even arrived on Paola's bench. When she saw the shoes on the catwalk, being worn by Edie Campbell and Cara Delevingne, her tears were of pride and joy.

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