Walter de Silva
W is for love
Walter de Silva – from the automotive world to intriguing shoes
»The journey started with a love story in 2016 …«
Until recently, your name was associated primarily with iconic automobile designs spanning decades. Instead of retiring you started your own shoe brand. Please tell us a little more about your story.
I spent many years designing cars for Alfa Romeo, Audi and VW. But retirement was never an option for me, I wanted to pursue my other passion and create beautiful hand-made women’s shoes, just like my ancestors had done before me.
My grandparents, based in Milan in the 1920s, rose to fame for their artisan craftsmanship creating women’s authentic and quality footwear.
When did you decide to design shoes? Was there a key moment?
The journey started with a love story in 2016. I remember the day when I first designed a pair of evening shoes for my wife Emmanuelle. That’s the moment our brand was born. My most iconic model is the Emmanuelle. This is a story about two lovers in Paris and a first gift.
This gift is a pair of high heels which inspired me to design this model that I named after my wife. It was launched in Paris as part of the Noir Extreme collection. It’s our story, and I am glad that we created the shoe line together.
What makes your shoes special?
Our luxury shoes are delicately handcrafted in Italy and we only produce one collection a year. This is to highlight our brand’s slow and sustainable corporate philosophy and goals. We want to combine timeless, classic designs with ethical fashion.
Our shoes are known for their architectural silhouettes with slim stiletto heels and bold orange insoles. The heel carries my signature: a broken arrow that outlines the W in Walter. It’s strong, precise and chromed to express quality and innovation. For example, the weight of our high heels (less than 160 grams) makes it one of the lightest shoes on the market.
We’ve also created a one-of-a-kind collection with unique patterns inspired by my father’s comics, and my own car sketches. It’s all about impeccable Italian craftsmanship with a fun twist and timeless style.
What makes Walter de Silva an ethical brand?
We fight against mass production by concentrating only on one collection per year. We offer each pair in limited quantity to minimise the waste of goods and manpower. All our shoes are carefully handcrafted in Italy, and all materials – from the leather to the thread – are sourced in Italy to avoid long distance transportation and to help reduce CO2 emissions.
But that’s not all. We’re constantly looking for ways to be more sustainable and are actively implementing ethically produced and recycled materials for the product and packaging.