We’re thrilled to announce The Helm’s partnership with Magnanni for our main spring/summer 2020 footwear collection. Each of the 16 styles in this collection has been hand-selected by our team, paying attention to everything from the leather and silhouettes right down to the colours and stitching.
We have been offering Magnanni footwear for a few years now, and each season we are more and more impressed with their commitment to their craft, the quality of the leathers used, the unique and beautiful patinas, and their contemporary styling. Their attention to detail is second-to-none, and their eye for design is among the best in the biz. This is a brand of footwear that we can firmly stand behind.
To launch these 16 new styles, we’re digging into Magnanni’s story along with some of the top looks of the season.
The History of Magnanni
Magnanni is a family affair. This third-generation-owned company began as Sebastian Blanco’s shoemaking business on the main floor of a house in Almansa, Spain, in 1954. Sebastian’s only child, Pascual Blanco Martinez, began studying shoemaking under him when he was 14, and very soon after became the company’s head designer, thanks to his passion and dedication to the craft. Over time, Pascual’s six children also joined the business, and they own and operate Magnanni today.
Miguel Blanco was the first of Pascuel’s children to join Magnanni, and now works as the company’s alchemist, developing the dyes and patinas that are so unique to their footwear.
Rocio Blanco, Pascuel’s only daughter, also joined the team as their master painter, using her skills with colour, shadow, and transparency to develop and deploy techniques for hand-painting the patina on the shoes.
Luis Blanco works with the family as the designer of Magnanni to create not only the styles and silhouettes, but also to collaborate on their signature patinas.
Sebastián, Pascual, and Julio also run the business with their siblings, overseeing each step of the process.
Maganni has maintained their commitment to hand-crafting their shoes while incorporating modern tech like 3D modelling, which allows them to achieve a level of detail that many shoemakers are unable to achieve.
Their in-house experts use a rigorous process to select each piece of leather, which is then inspected and cut by master shoemakers. Only Grade-A full grain calf leather sourced from Italy, Spain, or France is used. Their process includes hand stitching, painting, and finishing for a truly artisanal result.
Their shoes are made using Bologna construction, where the leather upper is wrapped all the way around the shoe, rather than being stitched into a separate sole. Bologna construction is sometimes referred to as “tubular” construction for this reason.
Having the leather wrapped all the way around creates extra cushioning in the footbed, making Bologna constructed shoes among the most comfortable to wear. It also creates a sleeker look and is more flexible than the hard leather sole of a Goodyear welted sole. These shoes are often said to have a glove-like fit.
Magnanni was one of the very first companies to hand-dye natural leather, creating what’s now known as a patina. A significant focus in their creative process is the development of the dyes and painting techniques that make their footwear so elegant.
Brothers Luis and Miguel work together to skillfully blend the patinas, paying special attention to transparency. Inspired by the way you can see the sand and rocks while looking into a crystal clear lake, their patinas allow the gentle build up of colour while still showcasing the leather’s natural grain.
Each shoe is hand painted by artisans trained by the Blanco family, resulting in a completely unique and beautiful pair of shoes every time.
Four Key Footwear Looks For the Sprint
Magnanni is constantly evolving, producing footwear that is both timeless and contemporary in style. The combination of traditional footwear craftsmanship and their fresh take on design means Magnanni offers the best of both worlds. These aren’t your granddad’s shoes (though your granddad would love them too).
Here are four key looks for spring/summer 2020.
1. White sneakers
The white sneaker is iconic. Fresh, white sneakers can be worn with everything from distressed jeans to suits. Take them to a cobbler occasionally to bring tattered sneakers back to life. You may even want to keep baby wipes on hand to deal with immediate stains.
White sneakers also look fresh with a hint of ankle showing, so be sure to wear no-show socks.
2. Wholecut oxfords
A wholecut oxford is among the most refined shoe styles. It’s sleek, simple, and contemporary. Magnanni’s wholecut oxfords feature a patina done with linear strokes, which adds to the streamlined look.
Despite their dressy appearance, colours other than dark brown and black can be worn casually. Wear coloured oxfords with slightly cropped trousers or cuffed jeans, showing a skiff of ankle in the summer if you’re feeling it.
3. Spring boots
Chelsea boots have been a style staple since the 1960s, worn with everything from jeans to suits. They’re versatile, and they can be worn year-round. Choose a light brown or beige suede to maximize the easygoing summer feel.
Wear a slim fit chino or pair of jeans, and make sure the pant length hits just barely below the top of the boot. They shouldn’t be tucked into the boot, nor should they gather at the bottom. If you find your pants are too long, try cuffing them.
4. Suede Shoes and Details
The texture of suede will always make a shoe feel a little more easy going by default. It’s a smart alternative to leather that can balance out any footwear collection. Suede loafers make a statement, while suede chelsea boots are easygoing and fresh. Even small suede details on the heel of a shoe can add dimension and interest to a plain leather sneaker.
Be sure to brush your suede after each wear to keep them looking their best, and store them in a fabric dust bag when they’re not in use to avoid stains from built up dust and grease.