The hand-made ‘Made in Italy’ shoes of Orchidea Nera (Black Orchid)

Born in Modena in 1971, with a background as a designer of furniture products, Luca Bergamini has always been fascinated by the worlds of fashion and of footwear. So much so that in 2015 he decided to launch his own brand, to which he gave the name of Orchidea Nera (Black Orchid), a flower that he knew as a child, from the TV series of Nero Wolfe, a detective who cultivated orchids.

Being the rarest and most delicate and most precious of the orchids, choosing the black one was above all a declaration of intent by Bergamini: his shoes had to be equally unique. To achieve his goal, the designer has therefore decided to focus primarily on careful research both in terms of materials and workmanship.

Sneakers made with the Italian slip-lasting method and with microfiber interiors – “there are very few people who make them this way”, he told us, “maybe no one”. I chose microfiber because it is anti-fungal”. And then the choice of calf leather, instead of pig leather, for the interiors of some models – “during winter the foot sweats and calf leather, when it dries, remains soft. Unlike pig leather, which gets dry and risks splitting”.

Coming from a background in industrial design, Bergamini has a modus cogitandi that always pushes him to find the best possible solutions. And his eyes literally shine when he talks about materials, techniques and ideas born trying to improve comfort, wear-ability, resistance, or durability. These are characteristics he obtained by working very closely with the manufacturers and small businesses of Vigevano (for sneakers), Bologna (for female models) and Modena (for bags, which Orchidea Nera, also, produces) where only Italian craftsmen who have been doing this job for a lifetime work.

However, attention to functionality does not mean “sacrificing” form. Quite the contrary. Bergamini has in fact chosen to focus on collaborations with different artists, assigning, for example, an airbrush professional the drawings (all unique, made one by one) that appear on some of the shoes. Or commissioning an abstract painter to create a work of art on leather, which was then reproduced on heels and bags and the original, cut especially, became the upper of some of the sneakers.