When Paul Andrew entered Salvatore Ferragamo in late 2016, the designer was tasked to inject his contemporary sensibility into the brand’s bread and butter offering: shoes. The family-owned company was looking towards expanding beyond its well-known classics, and Andrew, an established British footwear star with an eminent namesake of his own and a CFDA/Vogue Fashion under his belt was the youthful energy it needed.
The appointment proved rewarding. Andrew, as the design director of women’s footwear, injected a fresh zest to the Florentine house’s footwear selection. His designs, at once daring and practical, combined Ferragamo’s deep-rooted heritage with the notion of modern luxury. His success was stratospheric. The numbers spoke for itself: in the first half of 2017 alone, his footwear was responsible for 43.6 percent of group revenues.
Ferragamo, seeking coherence in all categories, went on to trust Andrew with its womenswear sector. Despite lacking experience in designing clothes, he was named women’s creative director of the brand in October 2017. Together with Guillaume Meillard, the brand’s relatively new menswear design director, they debuted their very-first united vision for Fall/Winter ’18 with a co-ed presentation. Tailoring, in both men’s and women’, was razor-sharp and well-executed. The renewed focus on clothes revealed the duo’s main objective: shifting Ferragamo to the forefront of ready-to-wear.
Presented last September, their Spring/Summer ’19 collection was an elaboration on the idea. Shoes were, of course, the underpinning foundation. Ferragamo’s iconic Vara had its bow updated in sculpted metal; mules were supported by columns of stacked wooden blocks; chic dessert boots of which each pair required 16 hours of weaving and 330 metres of nappa leather. This equilibrium between innovation and time-intensive high craft brought together an effortless lightness which translated to its apparel selections.
“The soul of this house lies in the artistic and technical genius of Salvatore’s shoe designs — his genius never gets old — and that is where we started with this collection,” explained Andrew. “Alongside Guillaume, I’m working to make a Salvatore Ferragamo that not only appeals to all generations but also acts as a point of connection between them.”
The key phrase here is “all generations”. The show’s casting saw veteran models the likes of Stella Tennant and Saskia de Brauw, alongside fresh faces Binx Walton and Kaia Gerber. Andrew and Meillard distanced their tropes from the pendulum of short-lived trends in favour of luxe timelessness. Leather was, in particular, the main subject. “It all begins with leather,” said Andrew. “Leather ready-to-wear is something I feel Guillaume and I should own.” Leather was rendered into dresses, handkerchief-hemmed skirts, Bermuda shorts and overalls. In the form of fluid lines, plush materials and a classic selection of neutral shades, Ferragamo’s new look was a radiation of poised composure.
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