BEST FOOT FOR­WARD Paul An­drew at Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo.

At Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo, PAUL AN­DREW tweaks the house’s shoe her­itage for a new gen­er­a­tion — and a chang­ing foot shape.

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - By CLARE MACLEAN

TH­ESE DAYS, EV­ERY­ONE WEARS SNEAK­ERS SO OF­TEN …” says Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo women’s footwear de­sign di­rec­tor Paul An­drew, look­ing down at my navy blue Nikes. I laugh ner­vously. we’re in the Fer­rag­amo show­room in Mi­lan, sur­rounded by the so­phis­ti­cated heels and dress flats An­drew has de­signed as part of his first col­lec­tion for the iconic brand, and I’m wear­ing … a sports shoe. He’s not judg­ing, though. Af­ter all, not even the house of Fer­rag­amo is im­mune to the al­lure of sneak­ers. What he is do­ing is fix­ing a prob­lem.“up un­til the 1980s, peo­ple didn’t wear sneak­ers, they wore for­mal dress shoes, and that meant their feet were nar­rower and more en­closed. also, ev­ery­one nat­u­rally had a lot more col­la­gen on the ball of their foot, which is why I’ve added pad­ding to the shoes, be­cause peo­ple just don’t have it any­more,” he says, pick­ing up a black pump and squeez­ing the in­sole be­fore hand­ing it over for me to feel. “the first thing I did when I started at Fer­rag­amo was to study the lasts [the 3-D foot-shaped moulds on which shoes are con­structed] to un­der­stand — how is the fit? And we re­ally es­tab­lished that it was not per­fect, which is sad be­cause the house was built on that premise, so we changed the pro­por­tions and the length of the arch, the width of the in­soles and other tech­ni­cal de­tails like the pad­ding. I wanted to make sure we have shoes that fit a mod­ern foot.”

An­drew, a Brit turned Newyorker, has been in the shoe busi­ness for 18 years, and, be­fore start­ing his own CFDA Award­win­ning brand in 2013, worked for ev­ery­one from Calvin Klein to Donna Karan (“She taught me so much about com­fort and fit, now it’s my pas­sion too”). So it’s not sur­pris­ing to hear that he walked into the Fer­rag­amo job last year with a pretty thor­ough knowl­edge of the house’s ar­chive. “As a shoe de­signer, it’s

the best ar­chive in the world. Sal­va­tore cre­ated the most iconic shoes in fash­ion,” he says. Still, that doesn’t mean there weren’t things to learn. “I knew a lot, but even though I had known the shoes visu­ally, I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand — ‘Oh my good­ness, that was made in the 1930s, that was made in the 1940s ...’ — he was so ahead of the game.” An­drew is re­fer­ring to some of the key styles he looked to for in­spi­ra­tion while de­sign­ing the pre-fall 2017 col­lec­tion, most notably the In­vis­i­ble heel — or “‘F’ wedge”, as he refers to it — from 1947, a cur­va­ceous cut-away gold wedge with a vamp (the front of the up­per) made from a sin­gle strand of ny­lon thread, which went on to win the Neiman Mar­cus prize (the same year Chris­tian Dior was awarded for his New Look). “Isn’t that wild? Could you imag­ine that walk­ing down the street in 1947?”An­drew asks.

No, I can­not. But the shoe re­ally is so mod­ern, I can pic­ture a pair walk­ing down a street today. And so can An­drew, who has reimag­ined the F-wedge shape for a new gen­er­a­tion of Fer­rag­amo cus­tomers. tak­ing a page out of Sal­va­tore’s play­book, he’s utilised new technology to add an even more dra­matic line to the wedge shape and in­cor­po­rated it into sculpted boots (cut-away, an­kle and over­the-knee) and an­kle-strap pumps in lush pur­ple, blush pink, red (very A/W 2017) and an evening-friendly black-and-gold com­bi­na­tion. “it’s one of the most com­fort­able shoes on the mar­ket and you should see it on the foot — it looks like you are walk­ing on air,” he en­thuses.

The style is the most fash­ion-for­ward in the col­lec­tion, which also in­cludes homages to other Fer­rag­amo icons: think Sal­va­tore’s 1951 Kimo sock shoe. An­drew says, “he was the first de­signer to ever do a sock inside a shoe. In the new col­lec­tion, we’ve made them with this fly-knit technology and the sock also comes out so you can wear the shoe with­out them as well.” also Col­umn heels, a nod to a de­sign first dreamt up in 1939 to ap­peal to Hol­ly­wood star­lets, also fea­ture heav­ily in the range. “when you look at them from un­der­neath they have this sort of flower shape, but when you see it ver­ti­cally they look like Ro­man col­umns. I like the de­tail be­cause it speaks to ar­chi­tec­ture, it speaks to Italy and it’s also strong, and this is ev­ery­thing that we are as a brand,” an­drew says. “and if you look closely, I have added th­ese hor­i­zon­tal stri­a­tions [lin­ear marks] to the heels that mimic our iconic gros­grain bow. you’ll now see this de­tail on other el­e­ments mov­ing for­ward, maybe as but­tons or as ac­ces­sories — who knows? There are so many pos­si­bil­i­ties.”

“Isn’t that wild? Could you imag­ine that walk­ing down the street in 1947?”

Paul An­drew. Inset: his sketch of the Plain Wave Evening shoe with ‘F’ wedge.

Clock­wise from this im­age: an archival Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo Col­umn Heel San­dal from 1939; Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo boots, $2375, 1300 095 224; An­drew’s sketch of a Gan­cio shoe with Flower Heel; Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo shoes, $1375; the In­vis­i­ble shoe from 1947.

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