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The Edit

Power Pieces: The Salvatore Ferragamo Vara

Power Pieces: The Salvatore Ferragamo Vara

"Vara is iconic because it’s timeless and incredibly elegant for any generation," so says Olivia Palermo of Salvatore Ferragamo's bestselling shoe. Also counting Lily Aldridge, Jessica Hart and Lake Bell as A-list fans today, the Florentine fashion brand’s minimalist design has garnered maximum attention ever since it was first launched in 1979, despite a misunderstanding in its original design.

"When the Vara was created," explains the shoe’s original designer, Salvatore Ferragamo’s eldest daughter, Fiamma, "the boutique collection needed a shoe that was both casual and elegant. The designers began working on a model that had been around for a few seasons, a shoe with a low heel and round toe, known for being comfortable." Embellished with a make-shift grosgrain bow found in the atelier, that prototype was sent to the shoemaker. "[We] asked him to make the bow in the same leather as the upper, but he misunderstood and left it in grosgrain." 

  • Power Pieces: The Salvatore Ferragamo Vara
  • Power Pieces: The Salvatore Ferragamo Vara
  • "Vara is iconic because it’s timeless and incredibly elegant for any generation."
    Olivia Palermo

Now available in a multitude of colourways and finishes – including the Vara 1, which matches the bow to the shoe’s leather, as per the original design – the Vara is a sophisticated style that just stops short of being prim, making it as easy to style it with summer dresses as it is with skinny jeans and a leather jacket.

Based on the Vara’s success, the Varina – a flat ballet shoe that boasts the same signature bow – was launched in 2007. These are shoes to take you from brunch to boardroom meetings, shopping trips to dinner à deux.