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Salvatore Ferragamo, Italian excellence

 

A few days ago Salvatore Ferragamo opened its biggest flagship store on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris. Numéro caught up with Leonardo Ferragamo, son of the founder of this traditional Italian house.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Flagship in Paris

 

In the 1920s Salvatore Ferragamo won the hearts of Hollywood with his elegant and comfortable shoes that were seen on the feet of the biggest stars of the time from Judy Garland to Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn… Famous in America, he decided to open his workshops and boutique in Florence, a city known for the excellence of its craftsmanship. After he passed away his wife and then his children took over and continued his vision with ready-to-wear and accessory collections as well as menswear lines.

 

Almost 100 years after opening that first boutique, this July the Salvatore Ferragamo brand inaugurated its biggest flagship store in Paris in a shop that resembles an Italian palazzo with 1300m2 dedicated to Italian excellence. For the occasion Numéro met up with Leonardo Ferragamo, Salvatore's son. 

 

Roxane Mesquida and Leonardo Ferragamo at the flagship opening on Avenue Montaigne.

 

Numéro: The house of Ferragamo will soon be celebrating its 100th birthday, how has the brand traversed so many eras and trends?

Leonardo Ferragamo:  I was lucky to be born into a family with a beautiful history, blessed with extraordinary heritage. The strength of my father Salvatore Ferragamo was to breathe true values into the house: passion, determination, the ability to move forward, complete integrity in everything he undertook as well as an innate sense of fashion. It is our duty to continue his work and to take his legacy further. Rather than putting him in a museum, we want to keep his vision alive and we use our incredible archives to inspire future creations. It is a source of constant energy and a thread connecting the past and the future.

 

To start with Ferragamo was an accessories brand, how did it become a house of fashion?

My father always wanted to have a big family that would be at the head of a fashion house, but when he started he preferred to concentrate on shoes. Little by little as my siblings and I grew up we joined the business very naturally, and we all developed trades: Fiamma takes care of shoes and accessories, Giovanna set up the fashion and ready-to-wear division, Fulvia is in charge of silk accessories and I launched the menswear collections. 

The flagship Salvatore Ferragamo in Paris.

 

Massimiliano Giornetti started as a designer at Ferragamo 16 years ago before being appointed artistic director of menswear, then womenswear and image, becoming the first creative director of the house. Since he left Ferragamo, what’s your creative strategy been?

When we made him artistic director we wanted to affirm a stylistic bias. The evolution of Ferragamo was very positive with Massimiliano, but then we wanted to focus on the product and craftsmanship. For the moment we don't have to choose a new artistic director, we will let the creative studio take care of things. But equally we are aware that we need a creative impulse and that's why we invited the designer Sara Battaglia to do a capsule collection for us. She instantly proposed a contemporary version of the "Rainbow" platform shoes that my father had created for Judy Garland. This is how we want to use our legacy, and we are so proud of this collection and the energy it radiates.

 

You’ve just renovated your Parisian flagship store, can you tell us more about that?

Paris is the capital of fashion and the Avenue Montaigne is a crucially strategic location. We’ve had this store for twenty years but we wanted to turn it into our global showcase and for it to concentrate on the very essence of Ferragamo. When the opportunity arose to buy the first floor, the creation studio started renovating the place. The boutique is a fusion of French style outside and Italian decoration inside. We’ve kept all the works of art, like the Anastassiades lamps and the Venini and Barovier vases. 

 

 

 

 

In 2013, you opened the Ferragamo Foundation, what is its role?

The Ferragamo Foundation has always existed more or less, we just reorganised it. Its principle role is to keep the heritage of the house alive: there are over 4000 pieces, including shoes, handbags and clothes, and then there are the 2800 prints which are pure inventions on the behalf of Salvatore Ferragamo. Through the Foundation we organise exhibitions like A Palace and the City in 2015, and the creative competitions like the Comics Jam in 2013, which was based around the drawings of comic books.

 

You have a huge following on the social networks with 1.3 million adherents, how do you use that to promote the brand around the world?

The digital era has been a fantastic accelerator for the brand. Firstly the social networks facilitate communications with the clients. We can integrate them into the Ferragamo business and keep them updated in real time about what’s happening in the life of the house. Then we also have an instant reaction, which allows us to measure the popularity of the brand. It does have to be used with care however; we don’t want to drown our clients with messages.  

 

www.ferragamo.com

 

Interview by Léa Zetlaoui

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