For the gamine Sabrina star Audrey Hepburn, he created a simple ballerina flat with ankle strap. Marilyn Monroe preferred to show off her curves in his steel-reinforced stilettos, memorably navigating a subway grate in a billowing white dress and Ferragamo slingbacks in The Seven Year Itch. Perhaps his most important invention, however, was the Ferragamo steel arch that shifted the weight from the ball to the instep, making way for ever-more-vertiginous styles.

Before movies could talk, Salvatore Ferragamo's shoes gave character to silent screen鈥搒tars like Mary Pickford and the dashing Douglas Fairbanks, who donned Ferragamo's gold Aladdin's-lamp slippers and an invisible cloak in The Thief of Bagdad. In the 1920s, Ferragamo's Hollywood Boot Shop was a mecca for the glitterati-Dolores Del Rio, Gloria Swanson, and Bette Davis all lined up for a custom fitting with the "shoemaker to the stars." At the nearby Coconut Grove nightclub, an aspiring actress who will soon be known as Joan Crawford-whose shapely gams Ferragamo admired-pounded the floor in his well-built heels to the tune of 100 dance trophies. And after a long day on set, Rudolph Valentino dropped by his pal Ferragamo's place for a genuine spaghetti dinner.