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.

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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

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