For years, Salvatore Ferragamo has been grasping for a coherent identity, never seeming comfortable in its own skin as it traded out designers season after season. As a heritage leather goods brand that reliably churned out classic Italian luxury pieces for decades, the need for a designer with a stable vision was not only needed, it was crucial. Otherwise the brand would be bereft of direction, leaving the customer to constantly ask, “Who is the Salvatore Ferragamo woman?” without an answer.
Enter Paul Andrew.
The first thing you should know about Andrew is that he is a bonafide footwear designer with zero experience in designing ready-to-wear clothing, which makes him a very interesting candidate for Creative Director. Yet, in the short time he worked at Salvatore Ferragamo as its women’s footwear design director, he resurrected the brand’s iconic ‘Doppio Gancini’ fastening, which gave his creations a coherent foundation on which to build. He also rebooted the archival 1930s block heel – a vintage style beloved by collectors, which still fetches a pretty penny on Ebay today.
As the ultimate crossover artist, Andrew’s debut collection had a lot of eyeballs on it. What path would this footwear designer choose to walk? As you might guess, for Andrew, it started with the shoes, “What I have found is that my Ferragamo woman dresses from the ground up: from toe to head,” he told The New York Times.
Cohesion and a brand identity have finally been found. Now, it must be maintained.
That’s where we’ll start too. The boots in this collection were the kind of investment piece you wear for a lifetime, crafted out of ostrich leather, suede, and shearling and featuring a sophisticated square-toe and Gancini logo tab. The new Salvatore Ferragamo woman matches her footwear to her ensemble, therefore, the matchy-matchy looks suggest a refined approach to dressing.
With a focus on impeccable fit and eye for draping, the clothes were as sophisticated as the shoes they were paired with. It was an elegant debut, much more promising than what we’ve seen in previous efforts. On a diverse cast of models, the new Salvatore Ferragamo look emerged as a combination of rich outerwear – long capes, suede ponchos, breezy longline coats, silky trenches, and handsome wool pullovers – and smart menswear. Surfaces were minimal and unembellished, fabrics were opulent, and shapes were loose and elegant. A few archival baroque prints appeared to break the surface tension of so much monochrome, and there were a few terrific velvet looks in the mix as well. With such a strong inaugural point-of-view, Andrew is clearly onto something here. Cohesion and a brand identity have finally been found. Now, it must be maintained.