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HomemifashionFerragamo Eyeing the Future

Ferragamo Eyeing the Future

When British designer Maximilian Davis took over the reins as creative director of Ferragamo in March 2022, he initially questioned whether he was ready for the challenge. Sixteen months on, the brand has a new lease of life, dressing men and women around the world, from head to toe.

mivision took time out to explore this world-famous brand that defines quintessential Italian luxury.

Eyewear was most likely the last thing on Salvatore Ferragamo’s mind when, as a young man, he ventured from Naples in Italy to Boston Massachusetts in the United States.

That was back in 1915. Having studied shoe making for a year, he felt ready to take on the world. After a brief stint in a factory, he made the move to Hollywood, opening a shop for repair and made-to-measure shoes.

Salvatore established a reputation as a “shoemaker of the stars” in the United States, experimenting with materials including kangaroo, crocodile, and fish skin, while also drawing on historic inspiration for his shoes. His customers included Eva Perón, Judy Garland, and Marilyn Munroe.

Thirteen years later, in 1927, Salvatore returned to his homeland to establish a workshop to produce women’s shoes in Florence. In 1960, at the age of 62, he died leaving behind an international company that had expanded its operations to include luxury shoes, bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes, and ready-to-wear clothing.

Made in Italy Style

Today Ferragamo designs its collections for women and men, aged 25 and over. Women who are “self-confident, elegant, and refined, who love colours, chic silhouettes, and fluid elements that provide sophistication and simplicity at the same time”. And men who “lead fulfilling, active lives and love to feel at ease in every situation”.

According to Maximilian Davis and his team, both male and female buyers of Ferragamo love fashion, yet “they’re not fashion victims” – they simply appreciate ‘Made In Italy’ products and lifestyle.

Davis shares their passion. Born in Manchester, he graduated from London College of Fashion, and founded his eponymous brand in 2020, attracting immediate international recognition.

It was while studying, designing, and creating that he was noticed by the team rebuilding Ferragamo. CEO Marco Gobbetti, who had arrived at the helm in January 2022 picked him up. Less than a year later, Davis’s first collection for Ferragamo was presented at the renovated Portrait Milano hotel, located in a grand seminary from the 16th century.

Davis said although he had aspired to be a designer ever since he was young, when Ferragamo called him to discuss taking on the role of Creative Director, he was amazed.

“I remember thinking that maybe it was too soon. But then I told myself that everything happens for a reason. From that moment, when I had finally been able to devote myself to my dream until the announcement, everything fell into place.

“It was Marco Gobbetti who gave me the strength to believe in myself and in this adventure. I spent two weeks researching the brand, looking at all the old ad campaigns and look books, studying the shows.”

A Balancing Act

Ferragamo eyewear is renowned for balancing iconic elements from Salvatore Ferragamo’s brand heritage – like the Gancini monogram, the Vara bow and signature prints – with innovative shapes and materials, and diverse colours.

Metals, acetates, and eco-plastics are often enriched with iconic details or leather inserts. Colours range from classic black, tortoise, and red to unexpected and contemporary combinations.

Davis said he seeks inspiration for his new collections from the local fashion scene. Describing Italian, and particularly Milanese fashion as “more relaxed”, he said he tries to capture and tell the story of its “innate elegance” through his work.

Reflecting on the first few weeks of his engagement with Ferragamo, commuting between London, Milan, and Florence, he said “the Tuscan capital was perhaps the real shock”.

“Florence is lazy and beautiful, but also very inspiring. I went to a Catholic school and finding myself surrounded by all that art almost shocked me. It made me feel inspired in a way I hadn’t known before.

“Then, in Florence, I have the privilege of discovering that path that leads to a material or fabric waiting to be transformed into a product that I have imagined.”

Evolving Iconic Designs

Evolving the iconic designs of an internationally celebrated fashion identity is a delicate balancing act, yet it’s one that Davis manages to achieve with ease.

The Gancini monogram is an example. First used as a symbol in the 50s, the Gancini turned into the clasp on a bag designed by Salvatore’s daughter Fiamma (also a shoemaker) then quickly became one of the brand’s iconic symbols.

It has since been interpreted in the eyewear collection in endless ways, from hardware integrated on metal temples, to a Gancini jacquard print. In its latest iteration, the Gancini is elegantly extruded on the hinge of its namesake’s eyewear collection for women.

The evolving use of Ferragamo’s logo is another bold example. In the Classic collection for women, which “perfectly interprets the Ferragamo codes: clean shapes, refined materials”, the logo appears, for the first time, in capital letters without the founder’s first name on the temples. Meanwhile, in the men’s collection, the classic logo is now elevated by a lappato (semi-polished) element.

Davis has also evolved Ferragamo’s elegant offering for men with a collection of more sports-oriented frames.

Inspired by the Ferragamo men’s ready-to-wear collection and branded leisure accessories, this new eyewear line takes advantage of innovative materials, such as rubberised finishing, as well as eye-catching colour contrasts. As with all men’s eyewear by Ferragamo, Ergofeel nosepads enable the frames to be quickly adjusted to different facial features for enhanced comfort and vision.

Acetate Renew

All Ferragamo eyewear continues to be manufactured in Italy. Rx-able sun and optical collections are available in a wide price spectrum to suit a broad audience.

Moving forward, Davis has plans to evolve the collections with continued innovative design and technology. Its Responsible Eyewear Collection, for example, is made from Eastman Acetate Renew. Ferragamo was the first brand to bring eyewear manufactured with Acetate Renew to market.

Perhaps inspired by Salvatore who wrote, “We are all flowing with the eternal tide, and of the eternal tide only is there no end”, Davis is expected to draw on his own limitless imagination to propel Ferragamo into the future.

Ferragamo is distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Marchon Eyewear (AUS) 1800 251 025 or (NZ) 0800 141 444.

1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvatore_Ferragamo.
2. Ferragamo, S., The Shoemaker of dreams, Electa, Milan 2020.
3. vogue.com/article/maximilian-davis-ferragamo-interview