Saturday, 8 January 2011

Ferragamo, the Shoemaker

Shoemaker to Fashion Empire.
The Story.

Known as the "shoemaker to the stars," Salvatore Ferragamo is renowned first and foremost for its footwear. In the early 1920's, Ferragamo, a Naples native who apprenticed with a shoemaker as a teenager, set up the Hollywood Boot Shop after moving to California. Soon he was crafting boots and shoes for movie stars' on-screen looks. Enamored of his designs, actors from Douglas Fairbanks to Mary Pickford enlisted him to custom-fit their feet off-screen as well.

After moving his company back to Florence in the late twenties, Ferragamo achieved worldwide success in the next few decades as he pioneered such innovative designs as the "invisible" sandal, wedge heels, and the all-important steel-reinforced stiletto, popularized by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.

In 1959, a year before his death, Ferragamo's daughter Giovanna introduced the label's first clothing collection. Accessories soon followed. Today, the ready-to-wear collection, shown in Milan, focuses on Italian sportswear.

From 2003 to 2007, Graeme Black, a Giorgio Armani alumnus, oversaw the label, offering mostly ladylike looks in a neutral palette. In 2007, Cristina Ortiz, formerly of Brioni and Lanvin, assumed the post of creative director. While her first collection met with mixed reviews for its flashy vibe, which was out of sync with the house's traditional aesthetic, hopes are high that she will forge a distinct image for Ferragamo rather than let the clothes be a backdrop for the accessories.

While shoes and that famous fit remain the focus of the house (certain sizes come in six different widths), Ferragamo today also includes eyewear, watches, and fragrances. In early 2008, the house celebrated its 80th anniversary with a blowout party in Shanghai.

1 comment:

Rachhh. said...

Great post, i love reading stuff like this. I think i'll be buying this book xoxo