BELLA BELLISSIMA Heritage and Italianity are two words that peppered Massimiliano Giornetti’s speech, as Charmaine Ho finds out in her exclusive interview with Salvatore Ferragamo’s creative director in Kyoto.
It was nearing the end of spring and the ground was beautifully clothed in cherry blossom petals. Since our arrival in Kyoto, the skies had been overcast, and the wind, chilly, making the warm intimacy of the hotel café a welcome respite from the unforgiving climate. Despite the sullen weather, beauty prevailed in this ancient Japanese city that, on this occasion, was commemorating the 50th anniversary of its town twinning with Florence. It was a celebration that Salvatore Ferragamo had taken on hand, complete with an exhibition on the majestic grounds of the city’s Nijō Castle, where some of the brand’s most emblematic shoe designs, including the Japaneseinspired Kimo sandal, were being showcased. This was in addition to a runway presentation of its Autumn/Winter ’15 men’s and women’s collections (previously shown in Milan), along with a much anticipated sneak peek at its never-before-seen Pre-Spring 2016 collection, at Mount Higashiyama’s picturesque Seiryu-den Temple.
It was an exciting itinerary that Salvatore Ferragamo had in store for us. But it was an exclusive interview with its creative director, Massimiliano Giornetti that had my undivided attention.
Graced with an earnest sincerity that puts you completely at ease, it’s easy to forget that Giornetti is the creative custodian of a global fashion empire. He is filled with historical knowledge and was as enthusiastic to chat about basket weavers of yore at Florence’s Piazza Santo Spirito as he was on Giovanni Battista Giorgini’s impact on the Italian fashion industry. There was an academic air about him that’s made all the more salient with his heavy use of words such as “evolution” and “Italianity;” the latter used to describe the very essence of what being Italian means. And as one soon discovered, he also lives up to his reputation of being a designer that’s not quite bothered with trends.
“I really want to work on something that’s different, not trends. I want to work on the concept of functional beauty, which is one of the most interesting ideas behind the work of Salvatore Ferragamo,” shares the 44-year-old who has been with the Florentine brand since 2000; first designing menswear, then as creative director in 2004. “To me,
Salvatore Ferragamo Autumn/ Winter ’15