Lady-like Ferragamo Vara low-heel pumps might not be the first footwear conjured by an image of the beach. But surf and sand is one of the ways the Italian brand is celebrating the 35th birthday of their most iconic shoe — with an oceanside photo of L.A.-based socialite and designer Minnie Mortimer carrying a surf board in one hand and a pair of beige, bow-topped Varas in the other.
The photo is part of the Icona Project, a digital photo series shot by Claiborne Swanson Frank, Anna Wintour's former assistant-turned-fashion shutterbug (not to mention a recent L.A. transplant and the author of Assouline's 2011 coffee table tome, American Beauty) that features boldfacers including actress Lake Bell, model Jessica Hart and fashion fixture Olivia Palermo rocking custom Varas, the brand's signature shoe style that was designed by Salvatore Ferragamo's daughter in 1978. The project exists on a brand microsite — icona.ferragamo.com — and marks the first time styles of the polished slip ons are available for shoppers to customize.
Through the years, everyone from Princess Di to Zooey Deschanel and Alexa Chung have been fans of the Vara, which, with a prim-and-proper vibe, look especially awesome juxtaposed against distressed denim and lots of leather. They're also a coveted vintage store find, with styles in all colors of the rainbow frequently found at high-end boutiques The Way We Wore and Decades Two in L.A. (and, for those who have especially fantastic luck, lesser-known resale shops that don't often realize the historical fashion gems in their midst).
Mortimer, a Standard Oil heiress who is married to Oscar-winning Traffic screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, has become a Los Angeles style maven herself with a namesake line of casual, mostly striped cotton pieces. The customizable Vara pumps she so effortlessly carries on the sand feature the style's signature matching grosgrain bow and rise to and retail for $550.
As of late, Ferragamo has been cementing itself in L.A.'s burgeoning culture scene with an announced partnership and opening night gala sponsorship of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills that is scheduled to open in October.