This is an English translation of the latest Harper’s Bazaar article: La Franco Spada: A luxury brand of heels with a seductive design
Read an exclusive interview with Gianfranco Dadone, designer of La Franco Spada:
A new brand is disrupting the luxury stiletto industry and filling an emptiness that fashionistas have been craving. Their design brings out a captivatingly seductive yet rebellious side to womens footwear and it begins with their never-seen-before signature heel. On the eve of January 13th 2023, we decided to do an interview with Gianfranco Dadone, the designer of La Franco Spada. We asked him several questions with aims of gaining insight into the creation of the brand and his stiletto designs.
Gianfranco, welcome to Harpers Bazaar Serbia. Tell us how it all started. How did you come to want to create the most beautiful shoes in the world?
As crazy as it sounds, the idea of La Franco Spada came to me in a dream. Prior to being in luxury footwear I was in a very different field. I was in medical school studying to be a doctor. Nearly 5 years ago, after a midday nap after a long medical school study day I woke up from a dream where I saw the signature heel piecing itself together. I woke with such an overwhelming feeling of unexplained passion and desire that later that month I dropped out of medical school to pursue this stiletto brand. It was the clearest vision I had ever seen and from there the idea of La Franco Spada was born. I then spent years working closely with some of Italy’s most experienced luxury shoemakers and craftsmen. From there, the designs I had seen in that dream were eventually brought to life.
Tell us about the unique style of your luxury stilettos?
Well, to best understand the style, it would help to have a little background on me. I was never a fan of following the rules or abiding by the status quo. Being untamed is what appeals to me. So when I design, I do it as a reflection of my personality and philosophy. Starting with our signature heel, you immediately notice a degree of modern aesthetic disruption interconnected with the traditional craftsmanship. I was working outside of the conventional rulebook with what it means to build a high heel shoe. And regarding the upper designs, I think less is more. I want the foot to be as naked as possible. Sleek curvature, sharp cuts and alluring shapes. This is how La Franco Spada constructs the sexiest and most captivating footprint in the world of luxury footwear.
How did you come to create your unique heel piece, the sword, that gives La Franco Spada its signature look?
The heel of our stilettos is an art piece in itself. It was first designed as art with zero thought to how it would mechanically work as a heel. After the design came to life, we had to find a custom method to turn the sword artwork into a functional heel. It wasn’t until we had the sword handcrafted by metal artisans that we were able to get the customization to craft it and connect it with the shoes. And for it to be as sexy and slender as it is and still function as a heel to a shoe, we had to make the sword out of real sword-graded steel for strength and stability. So with every step, you’re truly walking on real swords as heels.
Tell us about the quality of fabric and leathers you use when handcrafting your stilettos?
Our products are made with world renowned ultra premium leathers and silks out of Italy. When you hold and feel our stilettos in your hands, you can truly appreciate and admire the quality of both the traditional craftsmanship and the material we use to craft them. We craft with higher quality materials than most of the industry’s top brands as overtime they’ve had to sacrifice quality for mass production. At La Franco Spada, quality trumps everything.
Where do you look for inspiration when designing luxury stilettos?
There are a variety of ways I find inspiration. Of course, I travel a lot and with that comes constant new experiences and an endless indulgence in creative thoughtfulness and culture. Especially in gothic-oriented literature/illustrations. Though to dig a little deeper, one very unique source of inspiration for designing comes from immersing myself in dark underground techno scenes around the world. It is that unexplainable feeling and impression from those moments that has inspired a large part of the signature look of our brand which illustrates the rebellious and seductive side of every stiletto design.
How would you characterize the girls who choose your shoes?
La Franco Spada is not your typical luxury brand. You won’t find us walking on eggshells, conforming to norms, or filtering ourselves to do what society “expects” us to. Keeping that in mind, the persona I envision associating with the brand is a woman who is real, and rebellious. A woman who accepts no bullshit. A woman who has a sexy, dark and mysterious side to her. A woman whose energy and aesthetic intimidates the room when she enters it. A woman who by the gaze of her eyes, knows she can take over the world. A woman who isn’t afraid to push the limits. And most notably, a woman who can do all that, but with the utmost class.
Psychologists say that the first thing a man pays attention to when meeting a girl is her shoes, do you agree with this?
Yes, I agree. Think about it… two women walk into a room of people. Both are wearing the same outfit but one is wearing high heels while the other is not. Which of the two captures your complete attention? Which of the two is more fierce and captivating? Which of the two shows they have that extra fire in their soul? Luxury stilettos are the essential compliment that can make or break any outfit, regardless of how nice that outfit may be.
Your origins are Italian and Italy has created some of the world’s most luxurious brands and most well designed attire and footwear in the world. How do you think your background influenced your development as a designer?
Italian culture is very detail oriented, especially in everything we do relating to design and aesthetic. When I say everything, I mean everything… ranging from building architecture all the way to the design of an Italian pastry. For many, when you see Italian luxury brands and assess the caliber of products they create, it may deter designers from competing with them. But it’s admiring those high-level Italian brands that inspire me to deliver an unparalleled product. In the end, luxury stilettos require rigorous attention to detail – it’s a game of millimeters. I love it.
Which celebrity would you like to create a unique pair for?
There are so many unique individuals I’d like to create something special for and there are also many prominent figures out there whose personalities and images assimilate with La Franco Spada. But right now if I had to choose a celebrity I’d be hard-pressed to choose between Megan Fox or Kourtney Kardashian… I mean why not both? Recently they’ve really been in tune with their edgy, rebellious, seductive, gothic side in all aspects from their relationships to their attire and I’m loving it. I think they’d not only look amazing in a pair of La Franco Spada but it fits their personalities and personal brands perfectly.
How comfortable are your stilettos and how do they compare to other luxury stilettos?
We know that high heels, in general, are not worn for comfort, but instead for sex appeal… and typically the higher the stiletto the sexier the aesthetic. However, I prioritized comfort as much as I did aesthetic. At La Franco Spada we found a unique solution that delivers both aesthetic and comfort. Based on my design, the heel portion stands at 4 inches, known as the height for optimal aesthetic, however, the stiletto is in reality crafted on a 3.5-inch sole. So you get the comfort of a 3.5-inch sole, with the sexiness of a 4-inch heel height.
Where does the name “La Franco Spada” come from?
First and to no surprise, “spada” is the Italian word for sword, and given our signature heel, “La Spada”, “The Sword”, was born. Then in keeping to naming tradition, the name of the designer was integrated. While my name is Gianfranco, to most I go by Franco. And so, the name La Franco Spada was born.
How can I buy shoes from Franco Spada?
At the moment, you can exclusively get your hands on a pair from our website lafrancospada.com. We are also in the process of designing our first La Franco Spada boutique which will be in Milan, Italy.
Read the original version of the article in Harper’s Bazaar.