PARIS – 58 years old
Compagnon du Devoir
A shoemaker since the age of 16, Philippe’s first love is horse riding. After completing his schooling, he decided to study for a vocational qualification in shoe and boot making, undertaking his “Tour of France” with the French artisan training network, the Compagnons du Devoir. After eight years travelling, he joined the company John Lobb, where he worked his way up to become Head of Bespoke Design, a position he held for ten years. He then spent nine years in charge of Massaro (owned by Chanel).
In 1991 he was awarded the title Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the most prestigious award a craftsman can receive in France.
In 2016, Phillipe decided to open his own atelier, specialising in both men’s and women’s shoes. The stakes were high! His experience and a desire to stand on his own two feet were incredible assets that he freely exploited. The workshop is now operational and includes a partner, a first and a second‐year apprentice.
There are around 15 bespoke, non‐subcontracting shoemakers remaining in France.
In 2019, he became Chairman of the Union of Shoemakers (an organisation led by Raymond Massaro for 30 years).
Trained by the Compagnons du Devoir, passing on his skills runs through his DNA: Philippe took on approximately 15 apprentices during his time at J. Lobb, and around 10 at Massaro. He also recruited two apprentices immediately after opening his own workshop.
Philippe Atienza describes himself as keen to transmit his knowledge and is acutely aware of the need to pass on this disappearing savoir‐faire.
He also collects equipment that he uses daily and which date back as far as 1932.
The Fondation Rémy Cointreau is supporting Philippe Atienza by helping him to buy a leather splitter that would save him valuable time and enable him to recycle a large proportion of offcuts by turning them into leather accessories.
Find out all about Philippe Atienza’s savoir-faire in video: