“Casa Fagliano“, a fifth generation family owned business, was established in 1892 and became world known for finest polo boots ever produced in the world. After 120 years of commitment and hard work you have became an icon in the shoemaking business. How were the beginnings, how did Fagliano connect with Polo and what are your European roots?
Our family ancestors came from Italy, from Cuneo province to be more accurate. They started as shoemakers here in Hurlingham, Argentina, and also made country boots repairs from rural workers from the nearby areas. In a few years, they learnt how to make country boots and riding boots for these people, and also for polo players from the Hurlingham Club, which is located one block away from the workshop.
Eduardo Fagliano said once “It was never about money for us; it has always been about the boots”. As a family owned family you have preserve the independence in a time that more and more producers sell their business to major corporate firms. Please introduce the family members involved in the business.
At the moment, Rodolfo Fagliano is he oldest family member in activity. With an age of 83, he still comes to work every day.
His two sons, Eduardo (53) and Hector (51) are currently managing Casa Fagliano.
I am Eduardo’s son (25) and also working in the family business.
You have turned your back to modern factory machine using the same methods from shoemaking beginning. I noticed that you have a very old but trustful Durkopp sewing machine. Why this approach? It is man superior to machine?
We know that better and newer machines save time when it comes to large productions. But, when you focus your work on one customer at a time, you don’t need to be faster, and certainly don’t need a state-of-the-art sewing machine. Our machines have been in use for 100 years, and they’re still as good as new.
Your boots are bespoke so the manufacturing processes have many stages and is very skill demanding. Tell my readers the procedures from the beginning to the end so that they can have a clear imagine of the process.
Polo boots productions follow a seven steps strict procedure:
Measurement taking: This is made here at our workshop or by the customers from this home and then sent by e-mail to us.
Leather cutting: The leathers are cut using the measurements.
Sewing stage: The leather parts are sewn and the boots starts to be shaped.
Last preparation: using our customer’s measurements, we prepare a last with his measures and prepare it to shape boots´ feet.
Welt: After the both feet have been shaped, the insole is welted by hand.
Sole and heel: Taking note of customers choice, we finish the sole and heel. The heel can be nailed with bronze nails or just a rubber heel.
Polishing: The boots are polished and will wait for the customer.
What materials do you use for your boots ?
We use Calfskin, buffalo skin, horse hide, sole, rubber (for sole), bronze (nails, zippers and buckles), nylon threads, superglue and wood (for lasts and wood trees.
Where do you get your inspiration for the models and how the Polo boots change over the last century?
We usually inspire our models from English shoemakers, from our own designs and we often take into new designs our customers’ advice Over the last decade Polo play has become a more rough game, and this has forced us to produce reinforced boots to protect players from injuries.
If a Gentleman want to give a personal touch of his Fagliano boots what are his options?
It can be done special embodied logos, contrasting thread colors (black leather, red threads). It’s up to the customer’s imagination…
Bespoke shoemaking is for the patience ones. What is the time between a placing an order and riding in the grass with the Fagliano boots?
Around 6-8 months for a pair of polo boots with matching knee-pads and full wood trees.
Over the years you have left the quality to speak for you instead of aggressive marketing and you have succeeded to have very famous customers like members of the British Royal Family or one of the world’s best Polo player Adolfo Cambiaso. Could you name other famous clients that you had over the years?
Prince Harry ordered calfskin polo boots 4 years ago. Tommy Lee Jones has ordered several pairs for him and his wife.
Can you describe the most unique shoe that a client has ever ordered for bespoke since 1892?
A customer a few years ago ordered a complete white pair of boots!
Tommy Lee J
What is the oldest Fagliano boot “in working” that you have knowledge about?
Some customers usually bring for service (broken seams, polish) boots that have 15-20 years old and are still in good shape. We have in our workshop a pair of 80 years old country boots in perfect shape. However, this pair is “retired from service”.
You have relatively recently developed a partnership with Jaeger-LeCoultre. Can you tell me more about this?
We manufacture special Cordovan leather watchstraps for Reverso 1931-2011 Tribute edition. It was a very interesting partnership that we are proud of.
Golden care advice for a Polo boot owner…
As a golden advice clean the boots with a wet cloth after use (to remove horse’s sweat) Let them dry in the shade with trees on. Polish using shoe polish. Once a month, spread some natural oil inside the boots and on the zipper. This will prevent the leather from cracking. That’s all.
In the end let’s talk a little bit about passion. I know that you are a very talented photographer. The readers should know that all the interview pictures are due to you love for photography. Please tell me more about your after work passion.
Photography has been a passion since I was very little. I was always the family vacation’s official photographer. My passion for photography has grown with the pass of time and after getting my business administration degree, I managed to work part time at Casa Fagliano (which is very important to me to continue my ancestors work) and part time as a photographer. Every time I do a photo shoot here at Casa Fagliano is different. I´m always trying to get a new point of view, a new angle, a new image that will communicate my passion for photography and our passion in shoemaking.