The gen­er­a­tions of craftsmanship and style at Ital­ian fash­ion house Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo


Feed­back that gives our art team night­mares

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO IN­HABIT the name “Fer­rag­amo”? Af­ter all the fash­ion house has been been re­spon­si­ble for pro­pel­ling the ‘Made in Italy’ mark to the fore­front. What started out as a hum­ble shop in the small com­mune of Bonito some 90 years ago has flour­ished into a multi-bil­lion dol­lar em­pire.

“There is no limit to beauty, no sat­u­ra­tion point in de­sign, no end to the ma­te­ri­als a shoe­maker may use to dec­o­rate his cre­ations so that ev­ery woman may be shod like a princess and a princess may be shod like a fairy queen,” Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo is quoted in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Shoe­maker Of Dreams.

Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo was a marvel at fus­ing tra­di­tional Ital­ian craftsmanship with un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als for his women’s shoes. He was the in­ven­tor of the wedge heel, made an in­vis­i­ble san­dal us­ing fish­ing line as the up­per and fit­ted Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe with the now iconic steel-re­in­forced stiletto heels.

But it was his wife Wanda Miletti Fer­rag­amo who brought the brand to greater suc­cess af­ter his demise. With the help of their six chil­dren, she boldly ven­tured be­yond just mak­ing women’s shoes.

The late Fi­amma Fer­rag­amo di San Gi­u­liano, the el­dest of the Fer­rag­amo chil­dren, was the only se­cond gen­er­a­tion to have had the op­por­tu­nity to work closely with the founder. With her vi­sion and in­ven­tive­ness, Fi­amma con­ceived the iconic Vara shoe, which re­mains the brand’s top-sell­ing style.

And the in­stantly recog­nis­able omegashaped buckle? That was a Fi­amma cre­ation too. Called the Gan­cino, it be­gan as a clasp for a bag and has now been trans­lated into prints and metal­lic fea­tures on leather shoes and

ac­ces­sories. The Gan­cino is such an in­trin­sic part of Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo that it could well be the in­signia for the brand.

One ap­pli­ca­tion of Gan­cino can be found on the men’s Driver, Fer­rag­amo’s ver­sion of the mod­ern driv­ing shoe. Based on the brand’s own moc­casin style, the Driver em­ploys

Ital­ian leather craftsmanship fused with new tech­nol­ogy in the form of rub­ber sole in­serts and fin­ished with Gan­cino buck­les. For those who en­joy per­son­al­i­sa­tion, Fer­rag­amo has in­tro­duced a made-to-or­der ser­vice for the Driver. It’s a for­ward move for the brand, which has been a stick­ler for tra­di­tion, to ad­mit cus­tomers into the creative process.

Over the years, the busi­ness acu­men of the Fer­rag­amo fam­ily has al­lowed for the en­try of new man­agers to take on po­si­tions to pro­pel the brand for­ward. Michele Norsa was named Group CEO in 2006 and Mas­si­m­il­iano Gior­netti ap­pointed as Creative Di­rec­tor of all Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo Group prod­ucts in 2010. To keep to the val­ues set by Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo, Wanda and their el­dest son Fer­ruc­cio sit as hon­orary chair­woman and chair­man re­spec­tively on the board of di­rec­tors.

With Mas­si­m­il­iano Gior­netti’s help, the ready-to-wear lines are sharper than ever. Al­though the Fer­rag­amo man’s and woman’s stylings are younger, the look re­mains un­mis­tak­ably Ital­ian and time­less. Run­way suits are sleek and slim­mer but al­ways fea­tur­ing the level of craftsmanship that Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo can be proud of.

On the leather front, the wide ar­ray of bags and ac­ces­sories are con­stantly reinvented. The leather ex­per­tise of Fer­rag­amo is in­creas­ingly stretched to pro­duce prod­ucts with new in­ven­tive tech­niques to re­flect the in­spi­ra­tion of the sea­son. For ex­am­ple, huge vi­brant prints adorn leather jack­ets and bags as seen on the men’s spring/sum­mer 2016 run­way. There truly is “no sat­u­ra­tion point in de­sign”.

It is rare to find a fam­ily that has stayed united for over three gen­er­a­tions to cre­ate a busi­ness that has stood the test of time and the va­garies of taste. The Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo legacy is fiercely guarded by all mem­bers of the fam­ily who wear their name with pride in more ways than one. And by the looks of it, a name that has no fear of be­ing for­got­ten.

CLOCK­WISE The late Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo work­ing with his ar­ti­sans; Mas­si­m­il­iano Gior­netti’s ready-to-wear menswear de­signs for Fer­rag­amo’s spring/sum­mer 2016; a printed calf-leather tote; Fer­rag­amo’s iconic Driver

There is no limit to beauty, no sat­u­ra­tion point in de­sign, no end to the ma­te­ri­als a shoe­maker may use

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