Boots are a basic part of the clothes used by polo players. They must be strong, as they are under constant friction with the horse, the stirrups, and the sticks—but they also have to be comfortable and beautiful! The family business Casa Fagliano perfectly meets all these requirements.
Although polo is considered an elite sport, you don’t need to join a large organization or a lot of money to practice amateur polo in Argentina. Important national polo figures learned this noble sport with limited means in inland villages. Casa Fagliano originated from this tradition.
In the beginning, it worked for modest customers and country people. As years went by and Polo became a professional sport, polo players, famous actors, noblemen, and kings added to their list of customers. Today, the workshop, with eight employees, uses the same tools and techniques by their ancestors. Boots are still handmade, and quality and detail are specially taken care of.
Polo Lady visited Fagliano’s workshop, where Eduardo, Héctor, and other employees welcomed us with their friends and told us how they make the most popular boots in the world—regarded as the ‘one and only’ boots for those wishing for the ultimate in footwear.
The company was established in 1892. How did it start and does it continue to this day?
“My great grandparents came here as a result of immigration. They were shoemakers from the north of Italy. They lived for a few years in Boca, where they started working in this trade. In 1892, they came to Hurlingham, although they continued working for different houses in Northern Italy. They brought some shoes, mended them, and took them back. As the Hurlingham Club is around the corner, Englishmen who lived in the area came to play polo and brought their boots to have them repaired. In time, we thought about making the boots ourselves. From then on, we started making boots for polo. For a long time afterward, we made country boots, boots for farmers (who worked at the Quintas country houses), and ankle boots—a very limited range of products but high-quality ones.
What is it like working with the family?
“Sometimes, co-existence is quite difficult, but we try to work together with each of us taking on different roles. However, some matters need to be solved in a group, but the principal element is that the business is moving forward.”
What are your main products?
“Basically, a high percentage of the team is dedicated to making polo boots, some ankle boots, and some shoes. But our strength is making boots.”
Do you also make country boots or riding boots?
“Yes. Although most are polo boots with a front fastener. There are also other types with laces or closed boots for the countryside. These represent 20% of our production; the rest is only for polo.”
What kind of clients do you have?
“Most are polo players or people who work in the countryside and need strong boots.”
Have you had any famous clients?
“We really have very well-known clients, either because they are princes, top-level players, or members of families that have been playing polo for generations and so their names are influential in the polo world. They have chosen our products because of the quality and we always strive to maintain this.”
What percentage of your clients represent the women’s market?
“Women’s polo has been growing in recent years. We have some women clients that represent 5% approximately of our customers’ list.”
What products are specially designed for women who play polo?
“We are thinking about launching a Polo boot designed for women’s use that, apart from being strong, must have a more feminine design. It is a project for next year.”
Do you have many orders from other countries? How do you deal with sales abroad?
“We normally assist clients personally and directly with those who come here; we take their measurements, choose the design, the type of leather, and we do the work. They either collect them when they come to Argentina on a trip or we can also take them if we travel to where they are located. Otherwise, we post them.”
You are making the workshop bigger. What are your future goals for Casa Fagliano?
“Yes, we are enlarging the back of the workshop without altering the style of it. We want to work more comfortably and place things in a more elaborate way. The idea is to continue producing the same quality products and our expectations are good. We think that polo, and mainly women’s polo, will grow immensely. This is good as the sport will not be for men only and more women will be playing it.”
You also designed an exclusive watch strap for Jaeger-LeCoultre. How did this collaboration begin?
“A few years ago, they invited us to collaborate with Jaeger’s Reverso watch, designed for polo in 1931. Eighty years later, in 2011, it was relaunched. Then we thought about making a watch strap with the same materials, as we make polo boots used by players. As the watch was made for polo and we work with polo players, we considered it a good challenge. We made some samples that were accepted, and presently, we make the straps for this kind of watch, known as Reverso watch 1931.
Is the strap sold with this kind of watch?
“Yes. We are now making 10 special watch straps for Palermo. They are a limited edition for customers who buy this watch at the Palermo Open. They buy the watch and they are given an additional watch strap by Fagliano. This formula is arranged all year round worldwide.”
What’s your opinion of women’s polo?
“I agree with having girls play and enjoy themselves. They can share comradeship and everything that comes with a sport like polo.”
What do you think of the creation of Polo Lady?
“As the sport grows, other issues evolve, like the growth of women’s polo, and other complements are added. In this case, a magazine designed and specialized in showing women polo deals with subjects like fashion that blends polo and women. It is a very interesting concept being developed. This is the first news related to this subject. So, carry on! Congratulations!”