The so-called Countess Nina de Hamong, the wife of fashionable palm reader Cheiro, bought these hand-made bespoke evening shoes from Ignazio Pluchino who had a shop at 83 Walton Street, Chelsea in about 1927. Pluchino came to England from Sicily in 1900 and lived with his family over their shoe shop in Walton Street, Chelsea. His son John joined him in the business. He is mentioned in a 1952 article in 'Vogue': 'Of Italian extraction, Mr. John Pluchino is a brilliant craftsman like his father before him, and will make you a well-cut court shoe or a delicate silver sandal in one month'. The family lived over the shop.
Each pair of shoes was hand made to fit the client, who had a personal cast made from which the shoemaker could work. It took three days, working long hours, to make one pair of shoes. Ignazio and his son made most of the shoes but occasionally they took on extra workers, who were always Italian.
As hemlines rose in the 1920s, so shoes became more of a fashion statement. This elegant pair are made of red silk, gold lame brocade and silver leather. Most remarkable are the ornate Louis heels, made of layers of leather covered with pearl-coloured lacquer. They are diamanté and decorated with tiny gold beads set in a geometric pattern radiating from a bronze-coloured plaque at the centre back of the heel. The pattern is contained within a green diamanté border that is also set with gold beads. The insole is stamped in gold, 'HIGH CLASS SHOEMAKER / I. Pluchino / 83, WALTON ST. / LONDON, SW3'.