Costume National History 1958/2008
Anticipating fashion. Inspiring it with the sketch of an upper, the shape of a toecap or a platform, the line and the proportions of a heel. Interpreting it in those few elements that define and distinguish the uniqueness of a shoe and skilfully creating models that are always special is no small thing. Even more so if, like Costume National, you’ve continued to do so with infinite passion for fifty years. Half a century in which one of the world’s best-known and best-loved footwear companies has produced a remarkable number and variety of striking ideas from its base of operations in San Mauro Pascoli. Creations that remain timeless, that continue to spark enthusiasm and which, given their dates, appear even more original, bold and directional. The milestones of an entrepreneurial venture that exemplifies the marrying of tradition, research, sophisticated craftsmanship and flair for innovation.
In addition to forging the history and the fortune of the Italian shoe, helping to make it an excellent ambassador of fashion, Costume National footwear tells the story and maps the success of the brand. It tells of a design and creative focus that has shaped and highlighted the all-round quality of the product and enabled the company to consolidate its global image and market reach over the span of five decades. It tells of the transformation of a family run company - born and raised in the heartlands of the Romagna Riviera - into a sign of Made in Italy excellence exported the world over. Costume National shoes are designed as must-have objects of desire, never as solely designer label accessories, but as true masterpieces of design.
Beautiful creations to wear, yet also exciting to look at and touch, with their own carefully moulded personality and superb finishings and details. Thought out to be crafted in recherché, exclusive and ground-breaking materials, often blending the natural feel and fineness of leather or suede, crocodile or python with the technological sheen and playful shimmer of rubber or plastic, plexiglas or nylon. Objects that catch the eye immediately thanks to their highly original colours, patterns, textures and the freshness of their chromatic liaisons. Hallmarked by the added value of the artisan quality of the appliqués or the all-over or placed embroideries, by unusual alchemies and combinations, by the interweaving and juxtaposing of ideas and solutions.
Footwear that becomes the interpreter of seasons, of changing fashions and tastes, of new street trends and moods, and which epitomises the diverse takes on elegance and femininity, seduction and glamour. A variegated landscape of possibilities, an aesthetic itinerary that travels from the flimsiest of Fifties sandals in olive green calfskin set on kitten heels to the chunky lace-ups and slip-on platform shoes covered in embroidered fabric of the early Seventies. From the silver leather pumps mounted on low flared heels and embellished with round, hammered metal buckles of 1968 to the versatility of the three-in-one “zip-down” - from thigh-high to below-the-knee to short - boots of 1976. From the multihued polka dot velour tulle pumps on high conical, golden leather heels of 1981 to the laminated basket-weave of the python pump of 2007. And, in between, the colourful sparkle of the all-over sequin embroidered uppers and heels of the sleek pumps of the S/S 1992 collection, arriving at the F/W 2006-2007 collection and the suppleness of suede boots with transparent plastic inserts and plexiglas heels.
After the sandals that made the company famous, initially produced in record time for ladies summering on the Adriatic Riviera, Costume National experimented with the platform soles that set the scene of Swinging London. A trend that arrived hand-in-hand with the unisex fashion of bell-bottom jeans and pants to inspire a vast range of models to swell the collections created by Costume National on the cusp of the Sixties and Seventies. Costume National then transformed the platform soles into wedges, enhancing their remarkable aesthetic distinction and experimenting with new techniques to ensure their place as a recurrent, evolving and forward element in the Costume National collections. In the early Eighties, in tandem with the boot, the pump entered the label’s history to join its ranks of symbolic products. The pump, in fact, was very light and designed to adapt gracefully and sensitively to the female foot. Rising above the merely sexy to add comfort to the array of taller and more original heels: heels covered with diamante, with French garment fabrics, with unusual plastic effects, with embroideries. Embroideries that for more than 40 years have carried the signature of Oriana Morigi and that, in the Nineties, were made using real coral.
That same decade in which the sportswear trend was to leave its first footprint, thought out with high heels in a number of versions that echoed and reworked the shape of sneakers and football boots. Product exclusivity continues to distinguish the Costume National shoe, which always features sumptuous decorative elements, such as ribbons, leather flowers, dyed fur, strings of Swarovski crystals, jewel brooches, eyelets and cutwork, metal details, or fascinating structural elements, such as the rounded backbone of the heel or the heel fused to the base of the shoe to form a shock-absorbing platform, such as those designed for the S/S 2008 collection.