The Cuban Heel meets The Fabs

Read Mark Baxter's (AKA The Mumper of SE5) blog for Art Gallery Clothing. The Speakeasy is published online every Monday. The Speakeasy is now available as a paperback series. available exclusively from artgalleryclothing.co.uk Bax's musings cover all things mod, everything from sixties film. music & style to football, cycling & art

The history of Anello & Davide, originally shoemakers to the ballet, dance and theatrical world, is a captivating tale of tradition meeting modernity in the heart  of London. Founded in Covent Garden in 1922, they quickly became synonymous with timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship that combined  Italian design, flair and English tradition.

From its shop at 96 Charing Cross Road (they later moved to number 30 Drury Lane circa 1965) they specialised in ballet shoes and theatrical footwear as well as later making high quality fashion footwear for men and women.  Their ability to cater for the diverse needs and preferences of their customers, whether it was a classic Oxford shoe for a formal affair or a stylish Chelsea boot for a night out on the town, meant the brand could go on to offer a wide range of styles to suit any occasion. Each design was meticulously crafted, using only the finest materials sourced from renowned suppliers, ensuring that every pair of shoes upheld the brand’s commitment to quality and durability.

Among those who discovered the shop, were the Beatles. During the height of the early days of Beatlemania, Anello & Davide became a trusted supplier of custom-made boots and shoes for band members, John, Paul, George and Ringo, who turned to the esteemed shoemaker to create footwear that reflected their evolving personal styles and complemented their stage presence.

It is said the Fabs first noticed Chelsea boots with Cuban heels worn by a London band, whilst they were out playing in Hamburg in their formative years. Upon their return to the UK in late 1961, they visited the shop to buy the boots and then later returned  to commission different variations in other colours and fabrics, and the Beatle boot was born.

They were characterised by their streamlined silhouette and Cuban heel, and quickly became synonymous with the band’s emerging ‘smart’ image with a nod to the pervading mod fashion of the early to mid 1960s. 

The boot was in fact a direct descendant of the Chelsea boot, from which the pointed toe and centre seam stitch (running from ankle to toe) was derived, and the Flamenco boot, from which the Cuban heel was derived. The style would then feature an elastic gusset or a zipper.

From that first fortuitous meeting between the shop and the Fabs and the resultant massive publicity, crowds of young men were soon queueing outside the shop, demanding the same styles. A&D then built on their raised profile to become known as sellers of fashionable streetwear. The styles ranged from tap dancer shoes to black leather kinky knee length boots for the likes of Mary Quant. 

‘As a band, like a thousand others, we all went to a shoe shop called Anello & Davide and bought ourselves Beatle boots, which were basically Spanish dancing boots. They were a cool thing before the Beatles, but afterwards they were mandatory.’ – Mick Fleetwood.

Other pop performers and 60s icons who also wore the Anello and Davide label include Mark Feld (later Marc Bolan of course) Roy Orbison, Mick Jagger and photographer David Bailey. In fact, they weren’t strangers to the world of celebrity at the shop, numbering Orson Welles, Marilyn Monroe and David Niven among previous customers. Among the films they supplied footwear for, included, being involved in making the red slippers for Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and later Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. Theatre credits include Cats, Miss Saigon, 42nd Street and Mamma Mia.

In early 2009 the company had a serious fire at their warehouse in Park Royal, resulting in a loss of machinery and stock, as well as the foot casts of their customers, including Queen Elizabeth II, who wore A&D leather slip-ons for over fifty years. She wore size 4, in calf leather, often with a brass ornamentation, and the style were known as her ‘work’ shoes.’ These came in mostly black, though other colours were also ordered. It is reported she had a servant – named Cinders – who wore them in for her!

In 2004, Anello & Davide produced a ready to wear collection for men, but in truth their hey-day was gone. 

A Google search tells me they are still in operation making handmade shoes, but I can’t locate a shop. Of course, if any of you know differently, you know where to find me.


The Mumper of SE5

Read The Mumper’s other weekly musings on ‘The Speakeasy’ blog page




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THE SPEAKEASY Volume Three by Mark Baxter (The Mumper)

Illustrations by Lewis Wharton

Foreword by Eddie Piller

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The Speakeasy Volume 3 by Mark Baxter, Bax began writing for the The Speakeasy on the Art Gallery Clothing site in 2017 & has covered various mod related subjects from music to film & clobber to art & literature.




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