Artisans of the World: Amedeo Canfora

If the Shoe Fits

Put your best foot forward with Canfora’s custom, wearable art.

By Debbi K. Kickham

If there’s one ultimate souvenir from a trip to Capri, it’s a pair of the handmade, custom-fit sandals that Jackie Kennedy made famous in the ’60s. Who can forget the inimitable shots of her strolling the Italian island’s cobblestone walkways, looking oh-so-chic?

The tony streets of Capri boast several sandal-makers, but the most prestigious of these is Amedeo Canfora on the sun-splashed Via Camerelle. Today it is owned and operated by Costanzo Canfora, whose grandfather, Amedeo, founded the company in 1946. The business shot to international prominence in 1962, when First Lady Jackie Kennedy made a visit to the Canfora store while on a trip to the Amalfi Coast. She was traveling with friends, who suggested that she procure a pair of the elegant sandals that Canfora was known for, and which had previously been made for Princess Margaret and Grace Kelly.

“Mrs. Kennedy came in around midnight and ordered several pairs of sandals,” says Costanzo Canfora, inside the tiny shop. “My grandfather made a style especially for her, called the ‘K,’” which consists of a webbed design of silver interlocking chains. “After that, she kept ordering our sandals from a store in New York,” says Costanzo.

Inside Canfora are several large photos of Mrs. Kennedy, which were taken that memorable night when she stopped by the boutique. There’s also a store log book that displays the page where Mrs. Kennedy had her right foot traced so that Amedeo Canfora could obtain her precise foot….

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Photo: Jona Pakingan/Windstar Cruises

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