CASADEI. AN EMBLEMATIC STORY. “FAMILY FEELING” • Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana


In today’s world of luxury products, it sounds obvious to speak of tradition and excellence because they represent a vital lens that brings the way ahead into focus. And while these words are often used as mere marketing ploys, there are still companies that have always incorporated them as a genuine part of their DNA, the solid roots of their status, hallmarks injected with fresh energy day by day. This is the case of Casadei, which is rightfully seen as a guiding light on the international footwear panorama. From the outset, it has based its success on an adroit combination of these two elements. While tradition is a fertile source of inspiration and a point of reference, excellence is the ultimate objective to achieve and surpass. “Looking back to look forwards,” says Cesare Casadei, the company’s Creative Director and the family’s second generation in the business. He inherited his indomitable spirit from his parents, and undoubtedly passed it on to his daughter Arianna, who is now Communications Director. Their verve embodies the company’s distinctive drive towards constant development, which could be taken as a case-study for Italy’s world-renowned footwear industry.

Dedication, curiosity, a taste for challenges, team-thinking and open-mindedness are the cornerstones of Casadei’s tradition. These traits have forged the uniquely experimental nature of Casadei’s footwear in terms of aesthetics and style, but above all wearability. As Cesare’s father Quinto used to say: “A beautiful but uncomfortable shoe is not a shoe.” In the late 1950s, he was the first to realise that the shoe-manufacturing area around the town of San Mauro Pascoli showed enormous potential to establish itself on the luxury footwear market. “We have always involved this area in our reasoning and activity,” confirms Cesare. “Our shoes are the result of teamwork, which extends the Casadei family to embrace its employees and the companies that contribute to the production process.” Hearing about the 200 steps required to create a finished Casadei shoe is like retracing an age-old process, inspired by the same “determination to make the best” that underlies all of Italy’s finest production and craftsmanship. To arrive at the end product, the initial idea passes through thousands of hands and second thoughts, dozens of tests and evaluations, not to mention colours, materials and shapes. Casadei’s employees are part of the family. Their roles are well-defined yet fluidly intersecting, and the challenge of making something new each season seems more of an enjoyment than a chore. In the Casadei mindset there’s no such thing as ephemeral, even if it’s implicit in the concept of fashion. For them, even a successful result leaves room for improvement, and the limits of materials, shapes and colours can always be overcome. After all, if, as Cesare says, sources of inspiration can be found everywhere – “at an exhibition, the theatre, in the street, and of course by observing customers in the shop” – one can only deduce that at Casadei the mood board changes on a daily basis, as befits a company that is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Six decades of growth and success, made possible by that uniquely engaging spirit encapsulated in a “family feeling”.

Carlo Ducci