L.A.-based shoe designer Elisa Ferare (1944 - 2010)

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Funeral services were held Saturday at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Stockton for Elisa Rishwain, a longtime resident of Los Angeles who designed luxury shoes under the Elisa Ferare nameplate. Rishwain passed away at home in Los Angeles on April 25 at the age of 65 after a three-year-battle with cancer.

Elisa Ann Rishwain was born in Stockton on Oct. 28, 1944, the daughter of Italian immigrants Stefano and Jennie Ferrari. She graduated from Stagg High School in 1962 and married Dr. Anthony Rishwain of Stockton in 1963.

In addition to raising three children, Rishwain opened the Giovanna Ferrrari women’s clothing boutique in Stockton. In 1988, after her divorce, she and her children relocated to Los Angeles, where she engaged in a range of vocations that included interior design, an antique furniture store, a clothing and jewelry boutique, and acting.

Rishwain often took her store-bought shoes to a local Los Angeles cobbler to have the silhouettes, fabrics and hardware tweaked to fit her personal taste, often using the sort of luxe fabrics and trims more common to the world of interior design.


In 2003, she parlayed this penchant for customized footwear into the Elisa Ferare line of handmade-in-America footwear that would routinely juxtapose fabrics like crushed velvet, python, suede and vintage animal prints and go on to be carried by a range of high-end retail accounts including Maxfield, Madison and Fred Segal Santa Monica locally, Jeffrey in New York and Neiman Marcus.

Rishwain is survived by three children, Brian Rishwain, Benjamin Rishwain and Jennifer Gheur, and six grandchildren, all of Los Angeles, and a brother, Joseph Ferrari, of Stockton.

According to the family, a celebration of her life will take place in the Los Angeles area at a later date.

-- Adam Tschorn