The name Bemer is more than known in shoemaking. Until recently, when you heard Bemer you were sure it was about Stefano Bemer, the late Florentine shoemaker. More than one year ago, however, his brother, Mario Bemer, opened his own studio, and I am glad to say that he is progressing pretty fast.
At first, Mario worked under the same roof with Stefano learning the craft from him, but after this one’s death, his path divided from that of Stefano Bemer’s studio, now taken over by Tommaso Melani. Nevertheless, I believe that the dissociation was a good thing for shoe lovers, since now there are two addresses to visit in Florence: Via San Niccolo 2 where you can find Tommaso Melani (Stefano Bemer) and Via Maggio 68 where you can find Stefano’s brother, Mario.
The influence of Stefano can be seen in Mario’s creation, but he evolved a lot lately, refining his creations. My two favorite models remain Otto (with it’s eccentric ricrac) and Oriano (an in-between model, half oxford half derby). In the end, Oriano punctuated for its ambiguous character and especially because it captures very well the Italian spirit.
Once the MTO model was chosen, Mario provided the leather samples. What I had in mind was a light brown model on last 165. Mario advised me for the so called whiskey box calf. The result, I must confess, surpassed all expectations.
I believe that few shoemakers can pride themselves with a better made shoe. What impressed me about it was the softness of the leather and the sole. Mario manages to leave his print both on the leather (which doesn’t have the perfect aspect of a showcased product) and on the sole, which is truly a beauty. The shoe seems antique in certain aspects, reminding me of a splendid pair of Cleverley with an unique patina.
Another positive aspect is the elasticity of the sole. Mario told me that he worked a lot on this aspect and, apparently, his efforts paid. The shoe opposes no resistance, the foot fitting instantaneously with the last and the sole. The stitches are properly executed, but that is an aspect on which I had no doubts.
Finally, Oriano is one of the most beautiful shoes I own. It perfectly embodies the Italian ludic spirit, ignoring the patterns. Just like Mario Berner, Oriano is a pleasant surprise. It’s a shoe with which you fall in love as soon as you see it. It has nothing to do with the unreal perfection of Japanese shoes or the classical English lines. Oriano seems to be detached from a pure Florentine Dolce Vita. These are certainly not going to be my only pair of Mario Bemer.