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