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Peter Nappi: Art and Sole

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011

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When we first received notice that Peter Nappi was opening on Adams Street in Nashville’s Germantown we knew it would be something special. A recent visit proved this gut reaction to be spot on.

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To enter the space is to feel the passion of a true artist. The soul — or, should I say, sole — of the business is men’s shoes, made by hand in Italy according to Nashvillian Phillip Nappi’s designs.

PeterNappi Line Peter Nappi: Art and Sole

Photo: John Moessner

 The story of Peter Nappi’s beginnings must be told. It started with a thought about shoes, and how a good pair of boots stays with you for decades. And that thought became a burning desire to create an enduring line, to buck the trend of mass production in favor of small, handmade collections. As he researched the possibilities, Phillip discovered that his Italian grandfather had actually been a shoemaker with a thriving business in Ohio, which he started after immigrating to America. Phillip never knew this, but upon uncovering his family history, the idea became a plan with a name: a shoe line named after his grandfather, Peter Nappi.

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Nappi's daughter wearing the pair of shoes that launched this entire line. These shoes were handmade by Phillip himself. Photo: John Moessner

If you plan to name your company after your grandfather, you want do it right. Without doubt, Peter Nappi honors the man behind the name, and when you enter the store, that love and dedication are on display.

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Can you see the Nappi name? It's old packing tape from the original Peter Nappi store in Ohio, used here to back an old family photo.

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Washed leather is being introduced to Nashville through the newest Peter Nappi collection. Strength and softness combine to make an instant worn in feel and look.

While men are discovering the store, women are finding they love the shoes and want them for themselves. To that end, a large shipment is coming in mid-October with a full suite of women’s sizes. Lucky women are able to find their sizes right now. And, come December, an exclusive women’s line (think feminine features like wedges) will roll out. Shoes now start at $545.

My tour included a tutorial on how shoes are made. I was blown away by the craftsmanship and attention to detail. I asked if anything comparable exists on the market and was told, “Yes, but only two other lines come close and they range from $1300-$2200.”  Gulp.

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Peter Nappi shoes modeled by Phillip's wife Dana

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These boots work well for women

When visiting the studio, be sure to checkout the line of bags and belts. If you don’t see exactly what you need, speak up. Handmade bags are known to be made right here in Nashville to fulfill a customer’s desire.

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The bag you will reach for time and time again. For men or women. Handmade in Italy using leather rich with texture. Under $500.

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This bag represents one of the two lines specifically made for Peter Nappi. Every stitch, made by hand.

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Even the felt hats are special and handmade

 What makes this space extra special and a treat for designers, as well, is the collection of antiques on display from Belgium, France and Sweden – and all for sale.  They even sell Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella apothecary goods.  These have been made since 1221 by Dominican Friars. Everything sold here is done with purpose and has a story to tell.

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The studio itself is a stunning space with concrete floors, exposed brick, wood beams and soaring ceilings.

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A perfect place for musicians. That flag, from 1865, is for sale. It's a stunner, huh?

 Come down and enjoy.  Many Saturday nights find the studio open. It’s a stunning space, filled with some of Nashville’s great musicians. Grab a bottle of wine — the munchies and ice are provided. Mingle and shop. Talk and be inspired. One visit, and you’ll know that you are experiencing greatness.

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Phillip and Dana Nappi.

 To be added to the Peter Nappi email list to find out about shipments and special events, click here.

Be sure to spend some time on their website, as it is beautiful, with even more details about a company that is destined for greatness. 

1308 Adams Street
Nashville, TN 37308

Open Thursday-Saturday from 1pm-5pm

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Ahhhh, the Nappi good life. Photo: John Moessner

 

 

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