The Palm Beach style sandal a.k.a. Navajo was originally designed and hand-made for Jacqueline Kennedy in the early 1960s by shoe designer Luigi Pucillo who teamed up with Stephen’s parents Benny and Eva Bonanno of W. Palm Beach Florida.
Both deaf as young children, their handicap never held them back. Benny, a cobbler and shoemaker by trade and Eva, an expert with color, displayed their hand-crafted sandals on the counter for custom ordering (see photo above). Eva loved to pick bright colored leather hides to display her craft. She hand-cut the patterns, punched all the holes, then hand-cut long strips of leather for whip-stitching, while Benny lasted, sewed and sanded to perfection one pair at a time in their little downtown WPB cobbler shop, while their son Stephen worked side by side with them learning the craft. Jackie Kennedy made an appearance with her Mother in-law several times and ordered Black/White, White Multi, Baby Blue/White and Bright Yellow/White to name a few. The sandals were all the rage with the Palm Beach crowd.
THE TRADITION CONTINUES
1989 Stephen took over the family business and continues the tradition that makes every pair a truly authentic hand-crafted work of art. “We never lose sight of my parents vision to keep it all hand-crafted of 100% leather and completely made from beginning to end in the USA!” says Stephen.
2005 Stephen’s sister designed the company website www.StephenBonanno.com and manages it today.
2009 to avoid confusion in the marketplace they started stamping the bottom sole of every pair with a “seal of authenticity."
2012 Stephen moves his factory to a new location in W. Palm Beach. 1253 Okeechobee Rd (off Okeechobee Blvd) near City Place
It only takes trying on a pair to see why their customers always say, “If it doesn’t say Stephen, it isn’t Bonanno.”