The Fashion Folk S02 ep3 : Raymond Massaro, Massaro, [Melbourne]
Interview with Raymond Massaro
Raymond Massaro has had his hands on the most beautiful and famous feet in the world. And from the looks of the new thigh-high velvet boots he's crafting for Chanel, he's had his hands on a lot more than feet. He will not comment, though, beyond a sly smile and bemused twinkle in his eye. Discretion is of course de rigueur for those who cater to haute couture and the world's glitterati. Massaro will, however, admit that during his 56-year career, he has handcrafted shoes for the likes of Marlene Dietrich, the Duchess of Windsor, Claudia Schiffer, Morocco's King Hassan and fashion houses from Vionnet to Alaïa. One can only imagine what other famous feet have climbed the stairs to this dusty second-floor atelier on the rue de la Paix.
Massaro: Massaro is a boot maker operating since 1894 in the same location since it was founded
by my Grandfather, then my father and now me.
Massaro: Shoes and Massaro, it’s a long story. We had the vocation to make shoes on order, hand-
made shoes only on order. There has been a first period until the First World War in 1914, then a
second period when my father begun to work for haut couture with Madeleine Vonnay. After the
Second World War, I begun to work with my father and we created boots, shoes for men and
women, orthopaedic shoes and then many models for the haut couture. Haut couture it is Madame
Grey, Coco Chanel, then Thierry Mugler, Christian Lacroix, Galliano, Christian Dior, Asidimilei
all the coutures. We worked for everyone, Ungano we did it all, creating the models for the haut
couture fashion shows.
Massaro: We were working for the fashion shows, we are going to bring out more collections this
week, we work mainly for the haut couture shows.
Massaro: There is a difference between the ready-made shoes and our shoes. The processes is a bit
the same, there are four stages in hand-made shoe making; the form maker, first stage, he works
with wood, he creates the form in wood. The second stage is the pattern maker which is important,
the third stage is to make the upper part of the shoes, a bit like this and the fourth stage is made by
the assembler, he assembles the shoe. This is why the profession of shoe-maker is difficult because
you need to be versatile as they are four professions totally different that you need to know to
make a shoe.
Massaro: There is the habit to make things, the competence, the workmanship. I did go to school to
learn to make shoes and then I perfected my skills with my father here.
Massaro: Massaro will never disappear, we are training a younger team that will succeed. Massaro
is now 113 years old and I am hoping will continue for another one hundred years.
Massaro: Funny anecdotes, they are many. It is hard to say, they all came here. Barbara Hutton,
Marilyn Monroe, we had all the well known artists here. Nicole Kidman was the latest, Marlene
Dietrich was a regular client of my father and myself. Kneeling at the foot of a woman is our life,
what a good life.
Massaro: It is a long story, shoes can lead to many things. A beautiful pair of high-healed shoes
will always make a woman look tall and slender, desirable and sexy.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Raymond Massaro, Massaro, Melbourne