How can a court shoe balance on a metal ring, instead of a heel? Or rest its height and strength on a glass bauble, sliced in half with an upturned triangle completing the balancing act?
Just when you thought that nothing new could be done with a shoe, there was a ballerina with a fishhead, a scaly leather upper part — the whole resting on another glass bauble like a fish eye.
To me, the most amazing thing about the shoes designed by Armando Albanese is that they were made in the Sixties and Seventies, to walk Roman red carpets in the Dolce Vita years. Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, Sophia Loren and Ava Gardner all wore his shoes.
If I had the money, I would bet on the classic shoemakers re-working their original ideas to create footwear that looks joyous, witty and — heaven be praised — earable.
Where did I find them? At the Artisanal Intelligence exhibition at Altaroma. Its curators, Clara Tosi Pamphili and Alessio de Navasques, chose to include vintage shoe brand Albanese as a means of creating a future from the “Made in Italy” history, bridging the past and present.
It was staged in the new modern-art gallery of Giacomo Guidi, which will officially open in September, a contemporary space in the Trastevere area framed by the Tiber and the botanical gardens.
If I had the money — part two: I would sponsor a year-round dedicated site to face off established artists and young designers. When the applied arts are inspired by film and touched by artistic hands, you get a powerful creative energy.
And great shoes.