Former models Tove Nord and Terri Coleman custom-cobble authentic Italian sandals in Miami Beach.
Their start When Tove Nord was an 18-year-old runway model, she wandered into a tiny shoe shop on Capri, the Italian island where she was vacationing, and saw a cobbler named Vincenzo Faiella hammering away at a pair of sturdy yet feminine leather gladiator sandals. Nord ordered three pairs—and was amazed when they outlasted her designer styles by years. She thought, "Why not bring handcrafted Italian sandals to America?" Seventeen years later, she mentioned the idea to her friend Terri Coleman, another model looking for new adventures. The women tracked down Faiella and convinced him to train them as cobblers. After four months, they returned home to open the Miami Beach boutique Tuccia di Capri in 2007. "As models we watched others be creative," says Coleman. "Now we're the designers."

Their craft "On Capri, legend has it that the Roman emperor Tiberius started the strappy-sandal trend," says Nord. Because cobbling is back-straining labor—leather straps are stretched, braided, then hammered into the soles—it traditionally has been a men's profession passed down through families. "Everyone is surprised when we sit down at our tool bench," says Coleman. "But we love every minute of it." She and Nord can cobble a custom pair of sandals in about 30 minutes.

Their sandals The duo offers traditional Italian toe-ring and T-strap styles, updated seasonally with vibrant colors, animal prints, and antique appliqués. "Whenever we see anything interesting, from an old Elizabeth Taylor movie to wicker patio furniture, we'll say, 'I see a sandal there!'" says Nord. Adds Coleman, "We hope that customers will come to our shop one day and say, 'I bought these sandals 20 years ago, and I'm still wearing them.'" (Sandals start at $178;
—Arianna Davis

Photo: Jeffery Salter


Next Story