Salvatore Ferragamo, once known as the ‘shoe maker to the stars’ has been an iconic household name in the luxury fashion industry since the 1930s. Best known for his beautiful shoes, his legacy still thrives with many investing in his pieces that ooze the finest Italian craftsmanship. The Ferragamo Museo opened in 1995 and showcases thousands of his shoes at his home in Florence. Since Salvatore’s passing in 1960, the brand is lead by the Ferragamo family who continue to nurture what he created and its Italian roots remain strong.
We recently had the pleasure of restoring a pair of leopard print pony skin ballet pumps with the iconic Ferragamo bow on the front that, due to regular use, had shed over time and were left with balding spots. Contrary to popular belief pony hair leather is usually created from cow or goat hide. The pelt is shaved to replicate the hide of a horse and is then bleached and dyed into popular patterns such as leopard or zebra print.
Here at The Restory, we often receive well-loved items made with pony skin in the hope that we can restore the balding of the hair. Our atelier team use a specialist technique to recreate the texture of the pony skin without using any hair at all.
When we received these beautiful Ferragamo pumps into the atelier, the hair had shed so much there were noticeable bald patches on the toes, heels and lower sides of the shoes. We needed to repair the shoes with a technique that would be hard wearing and still blend in with the texture of the pony skin hair.
The team decided to use a painting technique that involves mixing multiple shades of brown to mimic the tones of the hair; this would also create depth and a more realistic surface.
Using a tiny paintbrush, the paint was applied to the bald surfaces in soft hair like strokes paying close attention to the existing pony skin so there was still a consistency in the pattern. This technique creates an illusion of pony hair and blends in easily with the rest of the hair. As the paint is applied slowly, our artisan could better control how many layers to add depending on how severe the balding was. Once all the patches were recovered, a finisher was applied that created a protective seal over the paint.
The End Result
The client was incredibly happy with the result. The restoration provided will be more hardwearing than the original pony skin. We are always working to create new techniques to ensure that we are able to restore even the most seemingly impossible problems. If you don’t see a service listed that you need, please do get in touch with our team and we can review your item through our preliminary quote request form online.