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Sandali Ischitani- step into Ischia style

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Summer’s must-have accessory

Picture this. You have a weekender bag and two days in the sun. What are you packing? One of our absolute favourite Italianissima estate (summer) must haves is the famed sandali ischitani (Ischia sandals), or sandali capresi (Capri sandals). Named for the much-loved sea-splashed sunny islands, these sandals are the perfect accessory for summer solstice fashionistas. Paired with long flowy maxi dresses, a fun bikini top and pareo (wrap) or your favourite pantaloni di lino (linen pants), they wear well with everything. And those these sandals have been styling fancy feet in Ischia and Capri for decades, the tradition of artisanal sandal making is ancient.  

Style travels with the trade winds, and long before Jackie O, Audrey and Brigitte made the sandali iconic, ancient Romans, Greeks and, Egyptians were gallivanting about with open-toed shoes, but historians known the sandal styles date back even farther to nomadic desert people. While not quite colourful and Swarovski-studded, the sandals’ foundational design of protection from weather and rough terrain, has stood the test of time and traveled across continents.  Exactly how did they make it to Capri? According to historians, Emperor Tiberius kickstarted the trend when he wore a pair of low, strappy hard-soled ankle-laced sandals on his adventurous jaunt to the famous island in Italy’s Bay of Naples.

La Dolce Vita for the feet

Ischitani and Capresi looks have evolved with the times, especially thanks to the golden age of cinema and La Dolce Vita when every sexy screen siren had at least a pair of the custom crafted togs. No one could resist the sandals’ fun and flirty charm and artisans expanded their creative designs to match their clients’ whims and fancies. The custom-fit, personalized sandals were individually sized, meticulously handcrafted and bedazzled with jewels, semi-precious stones, coral and other eccentric designs. Soon every fashionable jet-setting woman wanted to get her hands on this wedge of iconic Italian craftsmanship

A Century of tradition

Custom handmade artistry reigns supreme. Today’s shoemakers still draw upon the ancient artisan traditions, utilizing high quality leathers and expert detailing. For more than a century, tradition skilled shoemakers have kept Ischia and Capri’s sandal making tradition alive including Da Costanzo, Paola Fiorenza and Canfora. Canfora, located along Capri’s chic Via Camerelle, was Jackie O’ go-to when she needed her strappy sandal fix. In fact, the ever disponibile staff would coordinate private, late night fittings to avoid the prying lens of the paparazzi, and Canfora continued to customise pairs for her throughout the years. Jackie O pioneered a half century of princesses, pop stars and patricians who grace the island’s boutiques for a sandal fixation- simple and smart, with just the right amount of sophistication.

ISSIMO x Mario d’Ischia

We know you want to you get to the islands this summer, so we thought we’d give you a step you in the direction. Our ISSIMO x Mario d’Ischia collaboration celebrates those historic, artisanal sandals in two styles: the classic Mario model in Nappa gold and the gender fluid Ugo in black suede leather.

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