As it turns out, the best souvenirs are free. Relaxation. Laughter. Memories. Inspiration.
Most tourists will hit the big cities, dashing from one monument or museum to the next as they "do" Rome, or they "do" Venice. But my first visit to Italy was a business trip for my former employer, to a small beach town on the Adriatic called Pesaro. It was the last week in July and although my days were spent inside a dark photo studio without air conditioning, mornings and evenings were free to relax and observe the ease of the Italian lifestyle.
From my balcony each morning I watched the perfectly aligned umbrellas and lounges on the beach below being set up for the day. Soon entire families would arrive on bicycles and Vespas, looking forward to another day together enjoying the seaside. Later in the center of the town, la passeggiata, the daily stroll. I was smitten by the relaxed everyday life in this Italian town, and there was no turning back. After visits to many other Italian cities and towns since then I've discovered that it's everywhere in Italy, every day.
As I walked through the streets of Pesaro one afternoon, I had the idea for Pantofola. I wanted to combine my design background, my love for dogs, and this incredible country. Italian craftsmanship is the best in the world, so I knew the final products would be perfect. But I also wanted to do what I could to support this intoxicating way of life, this special souvenir, especially because so much of Italy's luxury manufacturing has moved elsewhere. I was going to create a new brand, raise money for dogs in need through profits, and make an investment in Italian craftsmanship.
Collezione Lido was inspired by the time I spent in Pesaro. A day by the sea, the relaxed carefree attitude, the color palette and combinations, my own intangible souvenirs from that trip. In the photos below, you can see the translation from my view from the hotel balcony to final product and fluffy friend.