Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe - Part II

Joe Famolare and the Platform Shoe
Part II.

The Capezio and Bandolino Years

Read Part One HERE

westsidestory3Capezio was founded in 1887 by Salvatore Capezio and still exists today as a tristed source and household name for dance shoes, later on fashion shoes, and now competitive ice skates. During Joe's tenure he designed shoes for the Bolshoi Ballet and many others. Other highlights were designing shoes for the legendary Twyla Tharp's Dance company.

His designs and selections also most notably appeared in the original Broadway Production of West Side story. The "Dance Oxford" created by Joe especially for West Side Story is still in use on the stage to this very day.

In my opinion, heading for the theater not only gave him an understanding of what was required in active shoes but gave him a lot of inspiration on how to be savvy, unconventional marketer and promoter of his product. One instance later found him skating on a float in a Thanksgiving Day parade to promote his shoes!

He left Capezio in 1965 over irreconcilable differences. Capezio was heading more and more into putting fashion before function, and wanting to break into the fashion market more while eliminating some comfort features in shoes, and Joe wanted to concentrate a little more on function.

His next stop along the way, was in 1965, as an executive for Marx and Newman. He was in charge of their popular division, Bandolino shoes that were sold at Neiman Marcus and elsewhere . He not only was executive vice president but designed while he was there. I am not sure exactly which models he designed, but they all were at least selected by Joe even if he didn't design every single model during his tenure there. The company started to take a turn when Mr. Newman left the business, and as the company got more political, Joe decided that it was time to leave.

In 1969, Joe formed Famolare shoes...and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomorrow: Part Three...Joe "Gets There".



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