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Distinguished Paris footwear designer dies

Master shoemaker Raymond Massaro died in Paris on April 5. He had just celebrated his ninetieth birthday.

Between 1967 and 2007, Mr Massaro ran the footwear firm that his father founded in 1894. The Maison Massaro supplied shoes and boots to a large number of Paris-based luxury brands, but was most closely associated with Chanel. Raymond Massaro sold the company to Chanel in 2007.

Among his achievements in shoe-making, highlights include putting a stretchable strap on a ballet shoe for the Madame Grès fashion house in 1955 and the development of a two-tone sandal for Chanel in 1957. In 1970, Raymond Massaro became the official supplier of footwear to King Hassan II of Morocco; other prominent people for whom the Massaro company designed shoes included Marlene Dietrich, Gina Lollobrigida, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot.

Mr Massaro was a board member of France’s Conseil National du Cuir. He was awarded France’s National Order of Merit in 1987 and, in 1994, the ministry of culture named him as Maître d’Art, a title reserved for the country’s most distinguished creative people.

After his retirement, he brought the house down at the 2011 World Leather Congress in Rio de Janeiro with an emotional, poetic and colourful tribute to the entire leather industry.

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