The name Papusse, so sweet and feminine, is quite evocative. It tells a tale of tripping the light fantastic, sounds as ancient and colorful as a festival. Papusse is a collection of traditional slippers from the Friuli province that originated in the mountains of Carnia before making their way through the Veneto hills into the narrow lanes of Venice. Today, thanks to the talent and effortless elegance of Carlotta Minuto, these slippers have become a hallmark of Italian style, from Milan to Paris, from London to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
When we say something is “authentic made-in-Italy”, we are talking about its artisanal expertise, exceptional raw materials and uncanny balance of sophistication and ease. Every brand-new page in the book of Italian lifestyle and fashion has its own “once upon a time” tale, and Papusse is no exception. Today, as in the past, these slippers are born from the hands of women. Once upon a time, they were made of fabric scraps with soles from old bicycle tires. The colors came from Mother Nature herself, beige from walnut husks, light green from juniper needles, blue from the bark of the ash tree, burgundy from onion skins, purple from blueberries. The hemp thread for the seams was boiled in water with ashes and resins from the forest, rinsed and then spread to dry in the sun. Sweet-smelling and hardwearing.
Black velvet was reserved for celebrations. Dreaming of their wedding day, young women would spend hours sewing and embroidering a pair of papusse for their future groom. Their “quiet” comfort, with soles that allow the wearer to move in total silence (perhaps stealing away from a secret rendezvous?), made the papusse a favorite among the 17th-century aristocracy.
The story might have ended there if it weren’t for Carlotta Minuto. Backed by a successful career in the fashion industry, Carlotta decided to revive the tradition of Friulian slippers, building on the exquisite craftsmanship and materials of the past and adding unrivalled fit and comfort. The velvets, each unbelievably soft and incredibly durable, are sourced from a select group of Italian weavers, with colors that transcend the seasons and a fresh palette of shades each year. The ultralight rubber sole is sewn to the insole and attached to the upper with the distinctive “witch’s stitch”. Seven hundred and fifty “witch’s stiches” to be precise, more than twice the amount on a conventional Friulian slipper. And as the finishing touch, a grosgrain trim to match.
Papusse’s legacy is ultimately a story about Italian women; after all, even today the artisans working with Carlotta are proud friulane, the daughters of the daughters of the early pioneers of Italian style that came before them. But Papusse is also a story of two specific Italian women, namely Valentina and Carlotta, who share a friendship that goes back years. Together, they designed a limited edition Papusse slipper for the Grand Hotel Tremezzo and its new online boutique Sense of Lake. In lieu of the traditional velvet, they chose silk to honor Como province’s textile heritage and a deep blue hue that calls to mind our beloved lake. Nothing left to do but slip them on, our very own Papusse, and leap feet first into life, strolling down elegant city streets, through an age-old garden, along the beach, on a terrace under the stars, in a caftan, a pair of jeans, an evening gown. Every step you take is carefree and happy. Bringing you one step closer to becoming as original, effortless, sophisticated and “Italian” as you can be, no matter where in the world you roam.