Ferragamo New Renaissance
Ferragamo announces its new renaissance, a fresh direction, which celebrates the city of Florence and its rich tradition of artistry, beauty and innovation.
The story of Ferragamo is not simply, as the founder put it, “the story of the small,
barefoot, unlettered boy who became a famous shoemaker”. It is also the story of
constant rebirth and evolution. Certainly Salvatore Ferragamo, born in the village of
Bonito, the 11th child of 14, who had been making beautiful footwear since the age of
12, was reborn in the States as a young Italian artisan who understood the desires of
Hollywood. That was Ferragamo’s first Renaissance.
This transformation was achieved through embracing Italian heritage with daring talent.
The interiors of his store at 6683 Hollywood Boulevard were pure Italian Renaissance:
walls featuring batik resembling 14th-century tapestries, hand-carved sofas, and
luxurious draperies complementing classical columns. Though from the Avellino region
near Naples, as an Italian, Salvatore was under the spell of Florence, the “Jewel of the
Renaissance”, and imbued with the spirit of that place and time; he understood its
power and resonance. So, when a few years later he decided to return to Italy there was
only one place that would do: Florence. A new Ferragamo Renaissance had begun.
The Italian Renaissance was a time of intense creativity and new ideas. It celebrated
innovation and craftsmanship, and married art and artisan excellence. All this was in
evidence at Palazzo Spini Feroni, the home Salvatore gave to Ferragamo in Florence in
1927. Dating back to the 13th-century, the Palazzo, which is still Ferragamo’s
headquarters, seemed emblematic of the Florentine bottega, the workshop or studio of
the master artists and craftsmen where dialogue and the exchange of ideas and
knowledge allowed Renaissance thinkers, intellectuals and artists to develop local
philosophy and skills into a global phenomenon.
Multiple rebirths were required along the way – after the Great Depression, after the
Second World War – but always the power of creativity prevailed and the “shoemaker
to the stars”, as Salvatore became known, like his Renaissance forebears, did enchant
Throughout this time, a creative community fed the founder’s imagination and
broadcast his Florence-infused collections. This included not only Salvatore’s fellow
craftsmen, but also his extraordinary clientele: the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Greta
Garbo, Sophia Loren, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Eva Perón (years later
Madonna would wear Ferragamo when she played Perón in Evita).
Central to the Florentine experience that drove Ferragamo’s creativity, the symbol of
the beating heart of the city’s continual celebration of the Renaissance, was the Uffizi. Started by Giorgio Vasari as offices – uffizi – for Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1569, it was one of the earliest modern museums, opening its gallery to the public in 1769 and becoming a museum just under a century later. Throughout the history of the house of Ferragamo in Florence, the Uffizi has been there, a guiding light, reminding the importance of fresh ideas, art, beauty and creativity.
Today Ferragamo is experiencing a contemporary Renaissance and partners with the
Uffizi to showcase Creative Director Maximilian Davis ‘collection of sensual, elegant and
sophisticated ready-to-wear, shoes and bags for Autumn/Winter 2023, using some of
the most famous artworks of the 15th and 16th centuries to act as settings for his work.
By placing the sharp tailoring and exquisite suiting, the richly textured fabrics and the
bold materials and colours, the Hug bag and the archive inspired gold sandal in the
context of works by Bellini, Veronese and Botticelli, Davis has created a dialogue
between past and present, where both the spirit of the Renaissance and the world of
21st-century luxury are thrown into different relief by juxtaposition.
And just as founder Salvatore collaborated with an artistic community, Davis has invited
a group of creatives to feature in the pictures taken by photographer Tyler Mitchell. The
New Renaissance campaign narrates a community in the making, with a cast of
characters portraying models, musicians and creators that inhabit the artwork-based
mise en scene, animating them in a contemporary way.
Maximilian Davis says: “The Renaissance is hardwired into Florence, and Florence is
hardwired into Ferragamo. At this time of a new beginning at the house, it made perfect
sense to reclaim the cradle of the Renaissance as our spiritual home, and to harness the
deep, artistic spirit of this city to showcase the new collection.”
In a parallel series of images, Ferragamo’s contemporary Florentine bottega is also
brought to life, as Tyler Mitchell captures the connectivity of Maximillian Davis’ group
of models, and even steps from behind the lens to participate as one himself. These visual insights into a modern-day artist’s studio have precedents from the Renaissance
to today, from an image of Tintoretto in his bottega, via Gustav Courbet’s famous The
Artist’s Studio to Richard Avedon’s Andy Warhol and members of The Factory. Mitchell’s
depiction of the new Ferragamo community serve to show how through participation
and collaboration people can achieve self-expression.
Just as the Renaissance masters of craftmanship and art in Florence came to be
esteemed all over world for their creative achievements, so today Ferragamo is
constructing its future through the skilled hands of its artisans, the study and evolution
of its heritage, the harnessing of new, creative talents, and the establishing of its
Welcome to Ferragamo’s New Renaissance.
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