Fer­ruc­cio Fer­rag­amo re­counts his love of Florence, as his fam­ily re­stores the city’s his­toric her­itage and un­veils an ex­hi­bi­tion ex­plor­ing the over­lap of art and fash­ion.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Cristina Car­rillo de Al­bornoz. Pho­tographed by Elena Olay.

The el­dest son of Salvatore Fer­rag­amo re­counts his love of Florence, as his fam­ily re­stores the city’s his­toric her­itage.


Fer­ru­cio Fer­rag­amo is re­call­ing his fa­ther’s love for Florence. “My fa­ther Salvatore was born in Bonito, a small village a half-hour away from Naples. He em­i­grated to the United States when he was 17 years old. Upon his re­turn to Italy 14 years later, he chose to set­tle in Florence, “the birth­place of beauty”, be­cause of its rich artis­tic his­tory that in­spired his cre­ations and re­spect for the craft, which he de­fended un­fal­ter­ingly,” he says.

The el­dest son of Salvatore Fer­rag­amo is sit­ting in one of the 13th-cen­tury lounges of the Palazzo Spini Feroni. He has taken the man­tle of the com­pany’s pres­i­dent since suc­ceed­ing his 94-yearold mother, Wanda Fer­rag­amo Miletti, who is now hon­orary pres­i­dent. “My fa­ther, a dreamer, bought it lit­tle by lit­tle,” he says of the com­pany’s cur­rent head­quar­ters and the store in Florence. “Tus­cany has al­ways con­trib­uted to Fer­rag­amo. The com­pany was founded and cre­ated here, and it gained in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and mo­men­tum with the lo­cal cul­ture. We have al­ways thought that it was our duty to give some­thing back to the city that we love so much,” re­marks Fer­ruc­cio, ex­plain­ing the rea­sons be­hind his work as patron of the arts, start­ing in 1996 with the restora­tion of the Ponte Santa Trinita. His last two con­tri­bu­tions were the ren­o­va­tion of eight rooms in the Uf­fizi Gallery with a 600,000euro do­na­tion, and the on­go­ing restora­tion of the Nep­tuno foun­tain in the Piazza della Sig­no­ria, a white mar­ble masterpiece by Bar­tolomeo Am­man­nati, the first public foun­tain do­nated by Francesco I de’ Medici in 1565.

“These ges­tures come from the heart and are deep-rooted in Fer­rag­amo even more than the city’s his­tory,” adds Fer­ruc­cio. The Fer­rag­amos, six sib­lings, all Floren­tine, are con­sid­ered by many as the con­tem­po­rary Medici. “It isn’t com­pa­ra­ble, but they were a his­tor­i­cal ex­am­ple to fol­low, and an ex­am­ple of how cul­ture ex­alts our lives.”

The idea of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween art and fash­ion, closely akin to the con­cept of the Re­nais­sance, when art and craft were one, is com­pletely in tune with Salvatore Fer­rag­amo him­self, a cre­ative ge­nius fas­ci­nated by the artis­tic avant-gardes of the 20s and who was con­sis­tently in­spired by and worked in col­lab­o­ra­tion with artists. It spurred the sub­ject of the Salvatore Fer­rag­amo Mu­seum’s ex­hi­bi­tion, Across Art and Fash­ion, which takes a look at this re­la­tion­ship since the Re­nais­sance, pass­ing through the 19th cen­tury, when haute cou­ture was born, and up to the present. The ex­hi­bi­tion (on un­til April), which for the first time is be­ing ex­tended to five more mu­se­ums through­out the city, in­clud­ing the Bi­b­lioteca Nazionale Cen­trale, the Gal­le­ria del Cos­tume di Palazzo Pitti and the Marino Marini Mu­seum, raises a key ques­tion: is fash­ion art? Ste­fa­nia Ricci, di­rec­tor of the cen­tre

and of the team of cu­ra­tors who or­gan­ised the ex­hi­bi­tion, re­sponds: “It’s a ques­tion with quite blurry lines, due to which we can’t give a clear re­sponse. I would like visi­tors to leave the ex­hi­bi­tion think­ing that fash­ion can be a new way to see the world. Fash­ion isn’t a lim­ited uni­verse on what clothes to wear, but rather there is so much cul­ture, so much re­search be­hind it.”

The idea for the ex­hi­bi­tion came to Ricci from a par­tic­u­lar shoe – one of the 30,000 held in the mu­seum’s ar­chives – that Salvatore Fer­rag­amo made for Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe. The adorn­ment of con­cen­tric cir­cles on the heels and sides mim­icked the ab­stract cir­cu­lar paint­ings of Ken­neth Noland from the same pe­riod. The ex­hi­bi­tion also ex­plores col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween artists and de­sign­ers, like Elsa Schi­a­par­elli with Dalì, Cocteau and in par­tic­u­lar Al­berto Gi­a­cometti, who made Schi­a­par­elli but­tons. Also fea­tured is So­nia De­lau­nay, the pain­ter who de­signed fash­ion and tex­tiles. Spe­cial at­ten­tion is given to fash­ion de­sign­ers such as Yves Saint Lau­rent, who looked to Mon­drian and Pi­casso; Yo­hji Ya­mamoto, who de­signed dresses in­spired by Joan Miró; and Warhol’s work as an il­lus­tra­tor for fash­ion mag­a­zines. A se­lec­tion of re­cent projects, such as gar­ments by Vik­tor & Rolf, Ca­pucci, Azze­dine Alaïa and Hus­sein Cha­layan, closes the ex­hi­bi­tion. In the form of ar­chi­tec­tural shapes, they ex­em­plify how in­spi­ra­tions, from na­ture to the art of the past, can come to­gether in fash­ion. “Fash­ion looks to art to grow its own pres­tige,” ex­plains Ricci. “And art is cu­ri­ous about the world of fash­ion, the freedom of rep­re­sen­ta­tion and its con­tem­po­rane­ity.”

Left: Fer­ruc­cio Fer­rag­amo, pres­i­dent of Salvatore Fer­rag­amo. Above: shoe moulds for ac­tresses such as Rita Hay­worth, An­gelina Jolie and Bette Davis.

Clock­wise from above: A Neon Cal­lig­ra­phy Se­ries (2004) by Gu Wenda, next to Salvatore Fer­rag­amo scarf de­signs by Korean artist Sea Hyun Lee (2015); Un­ti­tled (2013), painted bronze by Mimmo Pal­adino; Por­trait (La Source 1,2,3) (1986-90) by Ya­sumasa...

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