Because Magazine’s Little Black Book is far more than your average city guide. An insider directory to London, as seen through the eyes of our friends in fashion, beauty, fitness, food and the arts – all of them, experts in their fields – it’s your go-to Where’s Where for niche and noteworthy recommendations to help you navigate and use our Capital at its best. This week, Natalia Barbieri of Bionda Castana uses her footwear nous to recommend her go-to cobbler...

"The Village Cobbler in Southfields is my local."

Where... The Village Cobbler in Southfields (28 Replingham Road, SW18 5LR) is my local: Tony, the owner, is Cypriot, and has been working as a cobbler all his life. He’s so enthusiastic when you present new problems for him to solve!

Why... Living in London and travelling about in heels means that there’s a pretty high risk of getting caught between escalator ridges or stuck in cracked pavements – and, when the leather lifts on your favourite shoes, it’s heartbreaking! Tony has saved me from many a moment like this.

Because… Archived classics are always the best – and you can’t replace them unless you repair. If you can make old favourites look brand new, then it's the best position to be in. So, praise be to Tony!

Image courtesy of Bionda Castana by Moeez Ali.

Fifteen years ago – following a process of professional elimination that included fields of investment banking, retail and hospitality – Natalia Barbieri made the decision to follow her one true passion: Footwear. ("Mainly high heels, because I always seem to be short in comparison to my long-legged friends!")

Since then, and with no formal training except for an inner compass of good taste that’s guided her design, Natalia has channelled her creativity into the luxury footwear line Bionda Castana, which she co-founded in 2005.

Now, after a period of careful reflection and re-branding, the label has launched with a new guise and business model – creating made-to-order monthly capsules with a zero-waste philosophy that uses up any leftover materials. 

Among the vanguard of progressive (and delicious) London footwear designers – and with an extensive personal collection of shoes in all shapes and sizes, Natalia was naturally our first port of call when seeking out a reliable cobbler. 

Click here to visit Bionda Castana – and get ready for the next capsule drop! Image of Natalia by Rebecca Naen.

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