Fashion / Shopping

Swank New Shoe Store Opens in River Oaks Shopping Center, Bringing Handcrafted Tuscany Luxuries — Clorinda Antinori Has Arrived

Get an Inside Look at Houston's New Shoe Palace

BY // 06.15.20

So many best-laid plans went awry as COVID-19 became a worldwide disrupter. Consider the luxe Italian shoe brand Clorinda Antinori, which originally scheduled the opening of its Houston boutique for March 15. Alas, the doors  didn’t open on the swank salon in River Oaks Shopping Center until last week.

It was a delay that only heightened anticipation for the shoes, which are beautifully handcrafted in Tuscany.

The dashing Antonio Aransaenz welcomes visitors to the boutique, where the interiors reflect a sophisticated and sometimes playful sense of Italian style, much like the shoes. Aransaenz and his wife, Valentina Sorzana Antinori, designed the sleek interiors and are the creators of the vast array of women’s shoes and a sprinkling of men’s.

The duo founded the company that has, for a decade, been pleasing residents of and vacationers to Naples, Florida, where they first began. With the opening of the Houston store, the couple has decided to make the city their home.

“Our mission is to make very wearable, elegant shoes that are usable everyday,” Aransaenz tells PaperCity. “And we focus on using the most high-quality leathers available, so we focus just in Tuscany because of the craftsmanship. It is unmatched in Tuscany.”

While a number of luxury footwear brands have outsourced manufacturing to other countries, Clorinda Antinori follows old-school methodology employing family-owned factories with long traditions of working in leather and in footwear. These craftsmen, he says, have invaluable knowledge and understanding of the structure of the foot.

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“Our focus is to never cut any corners in terms of quality,” Aransaenz says. “Usually the customers see that when they wear the shoes. They are very comfortable. They last longer. Our goal is to make very comfortable shoes in timeless design.”

With some 180 different designs, a dedicated shopper could spend hours in the store, where Aransaenz encourages shoppers to try the shoes on. Sandals, flats, espadrilles, pumps, wedges, and sneakers are among the offerings.

For what appears to be the quality of Prada and St.Laurent, the price points are remarkably friendly, with costs running primarily from $300 and $400, as opposed to the $900 and $1,200 of the better-known luxe brands.

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