Daniel Storto

World’s master glove maestro

Canada / US

“The haute couturier of gloves.“ That‘s what Hamish Bowles, Vogue‘s global editor at large, has called him. “He’s to hands what Manolo Blahnik is to feet“, wrote Cathy Horyn, The New York Times's former fashion critic. Deserved praise for a self-taught artisan who creates gloves by hand with needle, thread, and thimble only using the finest Italian leather and suede. His gloves are works of art that are featured in popular movies and editorial pages of fashion publications around the globe and has collaborated with such designers as Oscar de la Renta and Alexander McQueen. Madonna wore his gloves when she kissed Britney Spears at MTV’s Music Video Awards 2003 and in her 'American Life' video of the same year. Lady Gaga wore his long black satin gloves during her Tony Bennet concerts in 2014. Despite his products' top quality, the popular clientele, and the publicity - Marylou Luther of Fashion Group International, [a worldwide membership organization of industry leaders in fashion], crowned him “the world’s master glove maestro“ - he‘s one of the last of his craft and somebody with an adventurous biography!

Daniel Storto

World’s master glove maestro

Canada / US

'The Master': Daniel Storto dresses in tune with the saying
'The Master': Daniel Storto dresses in tune with the saying "you are what you wear" - an attitude in personal style that he learned from his Italian grandfather who always wore a white shirt and a black tie in his shoemaker's workshop. | © Daniel Storto

Mamma Mia, what a life! With its numerous ups and downs, it is reminiscent of a wild rollercoaster ride. This man‘s story features all the necessary ingredients of a fantastic movie script: exclusion, family affairs/drama, courage, love, despair, male and female partners, death/tragedy, hope, divorce, being a single father, success, top fashion designers/magazines, unexpected turns over various decades on two continents. Plus: the main character „had never been animated by commercial success or money“, states Nuovo Magazine. „He disliked the corporate world, preferring to work with his hands.“ And that’s not all: this man has always stayed true to his beliefs, passion, and skill as well as inner values come what may!

The trouble began in childhood already. Daniel Storto grew up as one of three sons by a conservative family of immigrant Italian tailors. Despite being male he was presented dolls by his mother and aunts from early on. 

While Ontario’s capital was freewheeling in the 1960s, the atmosphere at home was stern and serious like in the 1950s. Only when the family traveled to Francavilla al Mare, a small seaside town on the Adriatic coast in Abruzzo, Italy, in the summertime the child experienced warmth. His grandfather Antonio, a poor artisan shoemaker, took time for little Danny and conveyed to him the knowledge of his craftsmanship. So the boy started sewing by hand in the old world tradition at the age of seven under the guidance of the old school-trained instructor in his shoe shop. 

Back in Canada, the situation worsened for this teenager that was different to the others: one day the twelve-year-old noticed that the trunk with his beloved dolls was empty. His father had thrown them out. Shocked by this revelation he planned his escape. About a year later he left home and school too (in the ninth grade). His parents didn’t show any interest in finding out where the runaway was staying. The young teenager had met and fallen in love with Ken, a dancer at the National Ballet of Canada, and soon moved in with him. Almost overnight Daniel Storto was surrounded by all types of people from the wild world of the swinging art scene. Because of his partner’s involvement in dance and theatre, the creative started designing and making fabulous costumes with no budget for experimental theatre companies. Three years into their relationship fate struck: Ken, aged 30, died of a sudden heart attack. That shocking tragedy left the young man shattered, but his friends in the community cushioned him and after some time of grief the widower threw himself into his work. 

It was around 1973 that the multi-talented artist made his first encounter with gloves after having been presented vintage editions by his then-boyfriend. „I was fascinated by the construction“, he told Huffpost.com. „How they were sewn. The Victorian period as well as gloves from the 1950‘s. All hand sewn. I wanted to make some. It was a technical challenge. I was up for it.“

During this time Daniel met Walter, who was a business-orientated American writer who convinced him to switch from costume design to avant-garde fashion. When Mr. Storto was in his early twenties he opened his first shop in Toronto, called Daniel S. [only because his full last name didn't fit on the storefront window] where he made everything himself, experimental clothing and accessories for men and women. The first summer season he began designing and making swimwear. Of course, it was something special like a tic-tac-toe strapless one-piece swimsuit, on which one could actually play a game. Extravagant designs like that did not only catch attention in New York and were for sale at prestigious department stores, Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, and Barney’s but made it into fashion magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar. 

His swimwear, Daniel Storto frequently says, wasn’t to swim in. "It’s swimwear to be seen in." Considering that aspect it was just a natural step to lighten the glamour which he called his “Evening Swimwear.” so they were always accessorized with matching fingerless satin gloves [they were 75 inches long and gathered up the arm which he still produces today] as an additional eye-catcher. Then one thing led to another when some stores that didn’t carry swimwear asked for just his gloves. Requests from fashion magazines for the gloves for their editorial pages kept coming. His gloves were featured in fashion magazines resulting in an increasing popularity and demand. 

The much sought-after designer had made connections to the sunnier part of the US in the meantime and moved there in 1980. Well-paid stints as creative director with the two mammoths of the swimwear world Cole of California and Jantzen Swimwear followed. However these didn’t work for him for very long. The reasons therefore he told TIME magazine: “You have to understand where I come from... Corporations would say to me, ‘Daniel, you need to design something that’s going to make a million dollars.’ But I don’t work that way. It made me sick.”

Los Angeles was the place to be for him in 1982 as there were hardly any glove producers available in the center of the movie-making industry. The new designer in town didn’t arrive either unprepared or with empty hands. In advance, he already had made a brief personal contact with Bob Mackie. He showed up for his first interview carrying a violin case full of gloves. The effect: The famed, multi-awarded costume designer placed orders with him immediately and garnered the title of “The Glove Maker To The Hollywood Stars.” From his small workshop in Pasadena [formerly Albert Einstein’s office when he taught at Cal Tech] the Canadian designed gloves for movies starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep (Death Becomes Her), Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Cher, and many more - not forgetting Sylvester Stallone’s iconic fingerless gloves for ‚Rocky'! The presence of his artworks on the screen was accompanied by constant coverage in American Vogue.

When the big budgets were shrinking and Daniel Storto wanted to reconnect with his family after decades of separation, it was time to move on again! In 1997 the lost son was back in Toronto. He opened a studio in downtown Toronto doing commissioned work for luxury designers such as Paul Smith of London. Shortly thereafter Daniel Storto was appointed lead designer of accessories for fashion designer Dries Van Noten in 1998 and worked in the headquarters based in Antwerp, Belgium. 

In 2001, back in America, the creative remembered a small city in Upstate New York he had read much about and drove to Gloversville from New York City. “It was once the hub of the United States glove-making industry, with over seven hundred and fifty manufacturers. Upon his arrival, Daniel Storto got in touch with the last three glove factory owners. From them, the “supposedly expert“ (self-assessment) learned the handed-down secrets of the industrial trade of glove-making and was presented the vintage glove tools and equipment dating as far back as the 1800s.

“There really are more important things in life than making money“, he told The New York Times and added: "You know, I’ve always thrived on being underground. When you go to Paris, you expect to see fashion. When you come to Gloversville, I’m giving you glove!“ What these unique, handmade ready-to-wear artworks might look like the designer explained in the Huffington Post: "I enjoy working against the grain because it is so not fashion industry shit! I am inspired always by shape and form and by some great artists such as Richard Serra (sculptural artist), Ellsworth Kelly (painter/sculptor/printmaker), and architect Zaha Hadid, just to name a few.“

Daniel Storto’s gloves are available at his storefront glove shop [the only glove maker storefront shop in North America] which is based in downtown Gloversville, New York, US, and periodically through his virtual store on Etsy,


Interview August 2023

Old craft & old values: Go your own way – whatever may come!


I know immediately if it is something I want to make. Not so aggressively as I worked in the past. I've become more judgemental of my work always seeking perfection and being content at the end of the process. If I'm working on a series such as my Louise Nevelson Series it can take years to complete. I have a hard time letting go of the feeling that I am enjoying what I am doing. 


In the past artists inspired my work such as Ellsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, and Louise Nevelson. I was consumed with shape and form. I prefer American artists. They have a cool vibe. My Typewriter Series has been ongoing since living in Hollywood, California from the late 70s to the late 90s. I began collecting vintage typewriters from screenwriters at Paramount Pictures. Royal, Remmington, and Underwood typewriters. I feed leather into the typewriter and type on the leather. My current work is based on the life of Film Director Billy Wilder. Authors inspire me more than artists or photography or for that matter anything associated with art such as paintings. Words affect me. I gravitate to text. I'm a loner so I can get lost in passion and embrace myself in a mood that makes me someone I'm not. I'm a huge fan of Nathanael West. His words are quite visual. The description of his characters. The way he describes the way they dress. I find that so inspiring that I go out of my way to dress in the same manner. To remove myself from this world and enter the unknown is a wonderful creative experience. Music also plays a big role in my work. Joni Mitchell's Blue album is extraordinary. Laura Nyro brings me to tears and I like being sad. It fuels my work. It gives me energy. 


I don't like being around people. I'm always in my head so I can never listen to what they are saying. I always find myself somewhere else. I'm focused on being calm since my work is all needle thread and thimble only. Each stitch is vital. Sometimes one stitch goes astray but I kind of like it to show it was the human hand. I need calm. No drama. No noise from other people. I prefer reading. Visuals don't interest me. I prefer an avant-garde approach. That no longer exists today. Everything is logo driven which I find disgusting and lazy. People are lazy. No more thinking. Robots. As a glove maker, I never think of how it's going to look on a person. I dislike that approach. I'm more fascinated by how a person is going to carry the gloves and where they are placed. The manner in which they drape and swoon. Since I made them it's part of my personality. For me, it's always romantic. I never sketch. My ideas are formed first in my head and how I want to photograph the type of gloves, then I create the gloves to go with my imagination. I never follow fashion. I'm a dreamer. I never get frustrated because I'm in tune with myself. It must be perfect from the beginning or I do not start. I am a slow poke. It takes me a long time. I don't like being rushed. I make what I like and that's it. I'm not interested in what people want anymore. I've done that and that is being subjected to their demands. 


I've always said that I make work that will be discovered after I'm dead. I don't need the attention when I'm alive. What you leave behind is what is important. 


The Typewriter Series is my favorite. They are all obituaries. The research is fascinating and I like to get lost.

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