In 2011, designer Philip Nappi and co-founder Dana Nappi sought to restore a century-old tradition of shoemaking that grandfather Peter Nappi brought to the US from Italy over 100 years before. With that, the brand Peter Nappi was born and the dedicated grandson—designing from Nashville, Tennessee—revived his family’s legacy, and along the way, began producing top quality leather shoes manufactured by hand in Tuscany. The Peter Nappi luxury brand would expand beyond men’s and women’s shoes, into bags, jackets and other leather goods. There’s a noticeable blend of modern Americana and touches of Italian heritage in the designs, but first and foremost, these are well-made products designed to be used.
A former meatpacking warehouse, on the banks of Nashville’s Cumberland River, plays host to the Peter Nappi showroom—where all items are on display, as well as selections of European vintage homewares. As Philip Nappi explains to CH, the Nashville identity is integral to the brand: “Nashville has such a strong sense of community—especially among the creative class. There’s an overwhelming sense of support; a ‘rising tide carries all boats’ type of environment,” he notes. “Nashville is also still pretty economical. We were able to launch our brand in a big way—in a way that would not be feasible in LA or NYC. And, as we grow, we get to offer talent a fair compensation that permits a quality of life that is really attractive. And that’s what excites us—helping people grow while enjoying a fruitful life.”
As for the choice to produce in Italy, Nappi furthers, “There was never a question about where we’d produce our shoes. I’m Italian and proud of where I’m from. There’s no doubt Italians are among the finest, if not the finest, shoemakers in the world. Engaging that talent, while supporting their culture, is an honor.” The man Peter Nappi settled in Ohio and made shoes in a storefront, but sacrifice came into play. “He had to give it up to provide a better life for his family of six. After I lost my father at a young age, I’ve felt a need to reconnect with my family, my culture. Shoes are in my blood, and I’m honored to revive our heritage.”
Of the latest Peter Nappi line, there were many standout products, from dress shoes and boots for men and women to a stunning moto jacket—dubbed the Mauro Leather Jacket and hewn from black vachetta leather. After testing the Celso Weekender Duffle, crafted from washed, soft green suede, we found it to be durable and dynamic, not to mention beautiful. But at heart, the Peter Nappi brand is masterful at shoes—and whether it’s dress up or dress down, their offerings are reliable and reliably good looking.
Browse Peter Nappi’s men’s and women’s apparel, shoes and accessories online.
Lead image by Cool Hunting, studio and product images courtesy of Peter Nappi