In His Shoes

Tommaso Melani walks down memory lane, giving us snapshots of his boyhood, his family’s leathercraft legacy, his love affair with Florence, and becoming CEO of an iconic men’s footwear atelier.

Photo courtesy of Tomasso Melani

“I don’t design anything I wouldn’t wear,” says Tommaso Melani. He imbues the shoes created by his company, Stefano Bemer, with all the Florentine flair that is in his blood. “When you are born and raised in Florence, some standards of beauty and refinement become part of who you are,” he says.

His grandfather would wear a white tuxedo in the summer to lounge in the garden, not for the benefit of others, but for his own enjoyment. Melani rebelled against the refined style of his elders when he was a boy, vowing never to wear leather shoes, only sneakers.

In spite of his willful younger self, Melani took his grandfather’s example to heart. He took over the family leather atelier, including the leatherworking school his grandfather had founded to train orphans in fine craftsmanship after World War II, called Scuola del Cuoio.

The art and aesthetic of this work and his overall environment became part of Melani, and he brought that with him to Stefano Bemer. Melani took over Stefano Bemer when its eponymous founder — his good friend — died in 2012.

Melani now enriches Stefano Bemer’s beautifully handcrafted and bespoke offerings with his own aesthetic vision.

Tommaso Melani’s favourite things

A classic aesthetic energized with a modern edge defines Tommaso Melani’s effortless style, from his timeless Ray-Ban Aviators, down to the Adidas L.A. Trainers on his feet. Clad in a casually cool uniform of well-worn jeans, and a T-shirt topped with a cashmere sport coat — with no jewellery besides his steel Patek Philippe Nautilus watch — he emanates a relaxed vibe, which is matched by his enigmatic signature scent, Aventus by Creed. A knack for blending the antique and the modern is evident in Melani’s home, where sleek B&B Italia sofas meet baroque velvet and antiqued copper leaf. When it comes to downtime, Melani enjoys challenging non-fiction (Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is a top pick); treating himself to a good bottle of Sassicaia, a Tuscan Cabernet; or partaking in a leisurely brunch of buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries. And travel means heading towards the ocean, armed with Rimowa luggage and a Bose QuietComfort headset. “I’ve made most of my life-changing decisions on the Island of Formentera in Spain,” he says. The sight of purple bougainvillea blossoms against a white island home never fails to lift his spirits. Another beloved destination is the Amalfi Coast, with a stay at the old-world Hotel Santa Caterina, which he says encapsulates the uniqueness of Italy he so loves.