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Raymond Massaro, shoemaker to Karl Lagerfeld, dies at 90

Published
today Apr 8, 2019
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Raymond Massaro, one of France’s most famous shoemakers, whose footwear shod Karl Lagerfeld for many decades, has died at the age 90.



A legendary bootmaker, Massaro was president of the French national federation of bootmakers, which announced his passing on Monday.
 
Massaro’s grandfather first opened the family firm in 1894 with an atelier at 2 rue de la Paix. Born in 1929, Raymond Massaro would later serve his apprenticeship making Louis XV era shoes for women, before going on to build “with the force of his passion, exactness and hard work his team of artisans into a reference in the shoemaking industry.”

After meeting Mademoiselle Chanel, he created one of fashion’s most indelible looks, the beige and black slingbacks in the signature colors of the fashion house.
 
In the '50s he would go on to design a ballerina shoe for Madame Grès, with an elastic back inspired by cyclist racing shoes, that would become a worldwide cult item after being worn by Brigitte Bardot. Massaro would also design footwear for Thierry Mugler; John Galliano; Azzedine Alaïa and Christian Lacroix. Elizabeth Taylor; The Duchess of Windsor; Léon Blum; Romy Schneider and Barbara Hutton would all wear his creations.



In 2002, Massaro sold his family business to Chanel’s Paraffection group, which includes almost a dozen specialist artisan houses producing haute couture quality feathers, gloves, buttons, hats and embroidery.
 
Famed for his slanted heel Cuban boots, which Lagerfeld almost wore exclusively when taking his post-show bows, Massaro wrote a memorable page in fashion history.
 
A service for Massaro will be held at 10.30 a.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Notre-Dame de Lorette church in Paris.
 

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