Working from Martin’s detailed costume sketches, some of which she says were inspired by the treasure-trove archive of the company’s 14,000 sets of shoes, the design team mixed skins—a peep-toe wedge in pale blue suede and kidskin; a two-tone lace-up oxford in brown iguana and suede—to create a lineup that would look right at home in the wardrobe of a rich European woman circa 1939. Ferragamo also made sure to honor his grandfather’s innovations when designing styles for Kidman: raffia instead of expensive leather, for example, or a wedge heel rather than a spindly stiletto. He was so pleased with the Martin partnership that in November the firm will release a limited-edition sandal: a red velvet number with a lacquered heel, based on one Kidman wears in the movie. “The last collaboration of this scale was Evita,” Ferragamo says, referring to the 1996 film starring Madonna. Eva Perón was, not surprisingly, a Ferragamo devotee. “For that film we basically just re-created the shoes we had of hers in the archive,” he says.
And while dozens of contemporary flicks have featured characters sporting the label’s pumps and loafers—from the obvious, as with The Devil Wears Prada, to the unexpected, like Traffic and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy—Australia represents a throwback for the house, a return to the times when Salvatore himself, who died in 1960, would cradle Tinseltown heels. “When my grandfather began in Hollywood, the first thing he did was study the foot anatomy,” Ferragamo says. He notes that the company’s scrawled logo therefore signifies “not only durability and attention to detail but comfort.” Consider, for example, the minty gray shagreen and panne velvet evening shoe Kidman wears with a bright red dress in a party scene. “It’s a lovely ode to the Thirties, because it uses two materials that were very popular then, but it’s also a sandal, not too high, easy to pull off...painless,” Martin says. “A good glamour shoe.”