The dance and wedding lines are completed with everyday shoes and bespoke models
[On the cover: Massimo Arcolin and Laura Zmajkovicova wearing Paoul’s shoes]
The choice to produce certain types of footwear is often pushed by the need to fill market niches where there is a lack of beautiful and well-made shoes, thus exploiting ‘Made in Italy’ know-how. This is how Paoul dance shoes were born in the early ‘70s, when Paolo Pizzocaro started dancing the reverse waltz and was not able to find good Italian dance models, but only English- or German-made ones. The temptation to create some samples was too strong for him, taking in all the suggestions of his dance masters. So, thanks to the experience gained in the ‘50s and ‘60s in his workshop, he presented his first Enchufla model -still available in the catalogue today- consecrating the brand in the Olympus of dance shoes. Such production immediately bound him to the world of dance sports, so much so that he was a sponsor of the first world dance championship in Udine, Italy – an initiative that has continued for 13 editions with the Paoul Trophy, kickstarting the company’s internationalisation process.
A Paoul dance shoe
Keeping dance in its blood and the heritage in the Riviera del Brenta territory alive, the brand expanded its production to the bridal and ceremony segment when Katia and Cinzia – Paolo’s daughters- joined the company. In 2012, the collections were Dance, Wedding and Theatre. In the world of theatre and entertainment, Paoul’s shoes can be seen on the feet of actors and comedians such as Claudio Bisio and Paola Cortellesi in Zelig, presenters and dancers in programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, ‘Ballo del Doge’ by Antonia Sautter, in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and again in X-Factor, in the musical ‘Karol Wojtyla’, and in the ‘Panariello sotto l’albero’ show worn by the protagonist – just to name a few examples.
“Up until the pre-pandemic period” – confirms Katia Pizzocaro – “the Dance line still represented 95% of our turnover, thanks to the quality of the product and its characteristics – so much so that it is defined as the Ferrari of the dance shoe. We are, in fact, well known in national and international competition circles, especially for Latin American dances. All our footwear -designed with top dance professionals in the brand’s 50-year history- features extreme comfort, breathable and flexible materials, from natural tanned leathers to fabrics such as satins. Each dance then requires specific models: the sandal, for example, is worn by the woman in Latin American dance, while the high-heeled pump is the star for the standard dance or for amateur dances. Argentine tango, often danced in very elegant contexts, requires an open shoe or a minimal sandal, but a very design one. Every shoe is designed to support certain steps and exercises”.
The wedding shoes
In 2020, the Daily line was born. It has models that combine fashion and comfort, including sneakers, to get closer to a wider audience who identify with the brand ambassador Francesca Tocca who wears Paoul shoes in episodes of the show ‘Amici’. Tailored footwear is also part of the line, with unique and customisable models, where foot measurement is taken through video calls and with increasingly direct contact with customers thanks to social channels.
If Katia and Cinzia have clear ideas about the future of the brand, the link with its past is kept alive by the museum, which tells the story of the company and goes hand-in-hand with the evolution of the Riviera del Brenta district. “This is a project that was very close to my father’s heart” – explains Katia Pizzocaro who follows the administrative and ecommerce side of the business, while her sister Cinzia is engaged with design and supplier management. “The museum shows the machinery arranged in chronological order, starting with some that were in use before the advent of industrialisation, all enriched with objects and equipment from a century ago, which were collected by my father. With this initiative we want to offer visitors and students an immersive and experiential journey to bring them closer to the essence of footwear”.
Flavia Colli Franzone