An exhibition traces the 50 years of success of the iconic model created by René Caovilla in 1973

[On the cover: “The Art of Dreams: Cleo, A Style Icon for 50 Years” exhibition]

From the encounter between art – and it is not just a question of inspiration from a Roman bracelet from the 1st century BC, but also of Venetian manufacturing art – and the creative flair of René Caovilla comes the Cleo sandal, which wraps around the ankle with a sophisticated snake strap, which has become the emblem of the brand. During fashion week, an exhibition in the Milan showroom entitled “The Art of Dreams: Cleo, A Style Icon for 50 Years” was dedicated to this model, the object desired by all women. A timeless and seasonless sandal that represents the manufacturing heritage of a district, the Riviera del Brenta, where hands still count more than machines in the production of footwear: the crystals of Cleo sandals, in fact, are carefully applied by hand by specialised workers. On display are archive pieces categorised by years and enclosed in cases to underline their preciousness, and only one new model, very precious, with 680 diamonds for the head and tail of the snake. A masterpiece, which in the curation was placed next to the sandal that was exhibited in 1975 at the MoMa in New York, decreeing the entry of the shoe into modern art.

The new model with 680 diamonds


René Caovilla with the sandal exhibited at MoMa

Over the decades there have been many variations of the Cleo sandal, declined in various heel heights and enriched with decorations that include feathers, pearls, embroidery and lace. But always faithful to the DNA of the original model, the result of technical studies that have never lost sight of the wearability and construction of the serpentine strap, which is an expression of engineering inventiveness, inspired by the springs of alarm clocks. It is, in fact, designed to have a memory that maintains the spiral shape over time. Another distinctive trait is the “stardust” sole which adds further brilliance to all the brand’s creations. The models on display are all very contemporary and of these five, belonging to the decades 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2020, they will be re-edited in the next collections, ready to thrill the celebs who tread red carpets all over the world and who already have illustrious admirers including Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, Emma Watson, Zendaya, Rihanna, Bella Hadid, just to name a few. René Caovilla’s creativity is unstoppable and, as he himself likes to remember, “the best version of Cleo is the one that is yet to be born”.

Cleo – 80s


Cleo – 90s


Cleo – 2000s


Cleo – 2010s


Cleo – 2020s