Nicknaming is a lost art. Where we used to have evocative phrases like “The Splendid Splinter” or “The Yankee Clipper,” we now have banal retouching of the name itself, like “King James” or “D-Wade.” But here, as elsewhere, Hidetaka Fukaya is a throwback. He wears his nickname “il micio” (“the kitten”) well. He manages a sort of feline grace and dignity in his movements, his dress, and of course, the bespoke shoes that come out of his shop on the bank of the Arno in Florence.
Most bespoke shoemakers grow up in the trade. But Fukaya came to it as a young adult, having first completed a education in fashion which included winning a handful of design contests. He brings this refined aesthetic sense to the detailed and exacting craftsmanship learned during his apprenticeship under Alessandro Sella in Siena. He’s one of the few shoemakers that might be said to run a studio rather than a workshop.
Il Micio’s bespoke shoes will run you 3,000 euros (and up) and a trip to Florence. But fortunately for us, he also offers small leather accessories, masterpieces in miniature that carry the Micio purr. Just the sort of rare and noble breed that we travel the world looking for.