by Gianluca Isaia
Flip-flops, mi amorby Gianluca Isaia
Many have asked me – and continue to ask me – why I always wear simple leather flip-flops in coral red, our signature color, in the summer, even with the most serious formal suit. Well, forgive me for this little quirk.
I'd like to finally tell you the whole truth.
Jackie Kennedy Onasis walking in Capri
Jackie Kennedy Onasis shopping for flip-flops
It all started by chance, due to sheer comfort. Better yet, it is the result of a providential oversight that I believe coincides with the classic Freudian slip. A few years ago in Milan, on one of those impossible days in mid-July suffocating from horrible humidity as the asphalt melted and the searing sidewalks were as hot as barbecue grates, I hurried back to our showroom because I was expecting several important foreign buyers. Very hot and tired, I took a shower. Then I slipped into a beautiful suit with a linen shirt and tie and tried to relax a bit before this business meeting. Due to the delightful cool air and the shadowy darkness of the backstage area, I completely forgot about the flip-flops that I was wearing instead of shoes. Unaware, I went to welcome my guests. I was amazed when they thought my forgetfulness was a deliberate and provocative form of dandyism and an extreme and daring expression of elegance. They began to profusely compliment me on my ability to invent a personal style based on my presumed and imaginative Neapolitan elegance. That's all they spoke about that day.
The business aspect of the meeting, which took the back seat, nevertheless went quite well. Bingo!
Since that day, seeing the success of my involuntary joke, I have adopted this bizarre combination on a continuous basis. It has gradually become a part of me. Believe me: it's also incredibly comfortable and liberating in the summer months. Wearing flip-flops also immediately reminds me of Capri in Fall, which is the place that I adore and am addicted to, as you have probably gathered. These leather sandals based on styles dating back to ancient Greek and Roman days are simple yet sophisticated. Today they mainly come in the prosaic Brazilian version in colorful plastic or rubber.
Thanks to VIPs in Capri, like the unforgettable Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who had them custom-made in countless versions by Canfora or the eccentric jet-setters of the fifties and sixties such as Dado Ruspoli or Pupetto Caravita di Sirignano, flip-flops have been tied to the image of Capri and have become an integral part of its lifestyle. The other school of thought generated by the Island of the Sirens is composed of the fans of fabric espadrilles with a cord sole.
Called "zabattigli" in the Neapolitan dialect, they were shoes that Italian comic genius Totó and charmer Pietro Capuano, a.k.a. Chantecler, loved.
So, it's your choice.
Oh, some friendly advice: if you wear open sandals, make sure your feet have a perfect pedicure. There's no worse sign of scruffiness and true rudeness towards others than having poorly groomed feet.