Leonardo: the stylist of our shoes

Anan Alshalabi alias LeonardoAnan, Italian-Jordanian of Palestinian origin,  son of a merchant family, arrived in Italy in 1986 as a student. In fact he studied the Italian Language at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, then moved to Rome where he graduated in Optics. The art in all its forms has always been his true passion: music (it is a good musician and composer), drawing, sculpture ...

In 1996 he moved from Rome to Florenceto pursue his immense passion for art and the Renaissance. And Florence was able to offer a means of expressing his art form in leather processing, starting off ”as a beginner,” as a clerk in charge of selling various leather items, until he got to sell his creations.

Of that period, he remembers leisurely admiring and studing the windows of the famous stylist and shoe stores downtown: Ferragamo, a Florentine, who had situated the main office and a shoe museum at the corner of via Tornabuoni in Florence, Gucci, another exceptional Florentine, Giorgio Armani and many more. Also just outside the city he has been able to learn from a myriad of small companies, the ancient art of the craftsmen and shoemakers who still work the leather and sew shoes by hand, as did Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo, to transform with handcrafting skills, raw materials into art: jewelry for your feet.

Anan with the handicraft masterPerhaps not everyone knows that making a shoe requires many steps and each of these steps must be performed directly and handcrafted. We can say that the footwear is the sum of various skills, each of which is refined only after years and years of experience. And so after a short period of study and "learning the trade with his eyes," he was able to realize his dream and start producing handmade shoes, in a small workshop: the first shoe store "LEONARDO SHOES" drawing inspiration from the name of the famous Leonardo that trained, lived and worked right here, in Florence, . And "Leonardo" has become his stage name and the commercial brand of shoes.

Anan with his shoesThe first store, "Leonardo shoes," was opened in the historic center of Florence, in the oldest part of the city, between the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria. It was small, but immediately gained so much popularity that after a few years he was finally able to open another shop, in an even more central but also more spacious location, where a bigger showcase could finally display a greater number of models of handcrafted shoes Made in Italy, which were articles born from the work of skilled hands of Italian craftsmen.

This is the trump card of Anan who produces sandals with refined designs, using quality materials, and with great care and attention to detail. Leonardo also produces a line of leather that supplements and extends the range of the brand. It began as the story of Anan alias Leonardo in Florence, where from being an admirer and observer, with tenacity and passion has managed to become the architect, attracting the attention of the great designers to his line and finally starting to work with the best ”cobblers” throughout Italy.

His art is constantly evolving thanks to a dynamic growth in line with the times. Given the success of its shoe production in Italy, Anan (now "Leonardo") has decided to bring the fruits of his labor and his name all over the world, heading to other markets from the Arab countries of the Gulf, which are always open and well-disposed to the quality and packaging of the famous line entirely Made in Italy.

A Leonardo likes to look ahead, thanks to the validity of his art and his experience in the field. And if you can afford it, his recipe is "leather, string and lots of love for beautiful things". His first goal has always been to create excellence. And Qatar tops all those markets, with its strong economy and trade, and which literally "thirsts" for things beautiful and well made, as in the art of shoemaking by the Florentine, Leonardo, still processed and sewn by hand, rich in the choice of the hides of best Italian tanneries and in the care of all the details.