Jacques Keklikian and his wife Elise, Armenian refugees, opened a small workshop in 1933 at 33 rue Allard in St. Tropez. Jacques, a gifted craftsman, began manufacturing strappy leather sandals while Elise enhanced her husband’s creativity with her own knowledge of couture. Jacques would trace the outlines of the feet of friends and neighbours on pieces of cardboard and later that night cut out the leather shoe soles; the starting point in the assembly of the highly acclaimed Tropezienne sandals.
Jacques was a kind and generous man bursting with vitality, who quickly befriended the people frequenting his workshop. Using clean lines, he created a style that was bold and chic. His sandals were already adorning the feet of artists, painters, writers, French filmmakers, and tourists: the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Madeleine Renaud, Françoise Giroud, Joan Collins, Cocteau, Picasso, Colette, Paul Géraldy, Oliver Hardy and many others, who flocked to St. Tropez every summer.