Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy

The Classic Driver editorial team is game for anything. So, when BMW said “Would you like to drive a 5 Series GT to Venice?” we didn't hesitate. Now, after many kilometres in the Munich ‘space shuttle’, we understand the car better..and we've learnt a lot about hand-made ballet pumps in the process.

Our first ‘Design Tour’ behind the wheel of the capacious 5 Series GT (a sort of ‘business executive’, rather than ‘people’ carrier) was to Copenhagen. On that occasion, the big car’s 1700-litre boot was put to good use stowing examples of modern Danish furniture. This time we met up with Bavarian businessman Fritz Unützer, who splits his working life between a house in Brighton, the family fashion business in Munich and the shoe factory in Fosso, some 30km outside Venice.

Unützer believes that a pair of shoes can “make a woman’s heart beat faster”. He must, then, be responsible for a significant increase in the heart-rate of the female population as some 50,000 pairs are sold every year by the fashion business first started by Fritz Unützer Snr. in 1948.

 

Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy
Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in ItalyUnützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy


The company is known for its timeless ballet shoes, now available in around 100 different combinations of style and material: moccasins, sandals, pumps, lace-up, ankle boots and full boots – all can be found in the latest catalogue.

 

New for 2012 is luggage, and a totally different range of shoes that includes loafers and brogues. Unützer – who once worked for Church’s in the UK – joins better-known brands such as Louis Vuitton and Prada at the top table of luxury footwear.

 

Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy
Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in ItalyUnützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy


And it’s luxury footwear proudly carrying the Made in Italy label. Over 100 separate operations go into the making of a typical Unützer shoe. Customers can choose from a rainbow palette of colours in materials as varied as goatskin, crocodile, ostrich or python.

 

As the factory tour progresses, we meet head designer, Mariella. A look at her desk reveals the influences which guide her: press clippings of Bardot and Belmondo, vintage covers from Vogue, and multiple leather and fabric samples from the many trade fairs she attends every year.

 

Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy
Unützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in ItalyUnützer Shoes & Bags: Handmade in Italy


Choosing a Unützer product to grace the white leather interior of the immaculate BMW is no easy task but, taking our inspiration from Mariella, we choose a Mediterranean Bleu leather weekender. Like Unützer itself, the effect is a combination of Venetian and Bavarian classic style.



Photos: BMW, Classic Driver

Unützer: www.unuetzer.net

The BMW 5 Series GT: www.bmw.co.uk