Magical things can happen over a glass of good wine. Romances are kindled. New friendships are forged. And for Michael Tonello, a casual conversation led to connections that catapulted his unique product to swift success.
Author of the best-selling book Bringing Home the Birkin, Tonello was chatting with fashion industry icon Fern Mallis at The Polo Bar when he presented her with a gift: a pair of custom, handstitched espadrilles made from a vintage Pucci print dressing gown. Walking over to greet Mallis, Ralph Lauren caught a glimpse of the inventive footwear and was intrigued. He introduced Tonello to executives from Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, who were dining at the restaurant that evening, and the brand now known as Respoke found its home.
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