Words by Nerys d’Esclercs
Boasting nearly 100 years of fashion history, Ferragamo is at the precipice of an exciting next chapter. With a new creative director at the helm — 27-year-old rising star Maximilian Davis — the brand unveiled its debut show at Milan Fashion Week this season. Here’s everything you need to know about the brand and its new creative team, and key highlights from the spring/summer 2023 runway.
Ferragamo: where it all began
Salvatore Ferragamo found his calling at just nine years old, after making his first pair of shoes for his sister. At the age of 16, Ferragamo moved to the United States and soon found fame in California, where he started designing footwear for celebrities. After thirteen years in the US, Ferragamo returned to Florence, Italy, in 1927, but continued to create shoes for Hollywood stars including Marilyn Monroe. His signature styles include the Cage heel and the Vara pumps, but it is his distinctive Rainbow style, created in 1938 for American singer and actor Judy Garland as a tribute to her song ‘Over the Rainbow’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz’, that cemented his position in the footwear hall of fame.
Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62, but his name lives on as an iconic international brand, which has expanded into bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes and clothing. The Ferragamo family still owns the company, and appointed new CEO Marco Gobbetti from Burberry in January 2022, with the objective to appeal to customers of new luxury. His mission started with the appointment of Maximilian Davis as creative director, who will show his first collection for the brand in September 2022.
Who is Maximilian Davis?
After completing his studies at the London College of Fashion, British designer Maximilian Davis joined talent incubator Fashion East where he made his fashion week debut for the spring/summer 2021 season. Having worked as a designer for Grace Wales Bonner and Supriya Lele before launching his namesake label, Davis is renowned for his tailoring. The design star was a semifinalist for the LVMH Prize 2022, but pulled out of the running as the fashion world had other plans for him: he was named creative director of Ferragamo in March 2022.
A new chapter for Ferragamo
Maximilian Davis has been tasked with reenergizing the Italian brand, which he has achieved by looking at its Hollywood past — what he calls ‘the new Hollywood’ — and subverting it with flashes of fetishism: glossy leathers, second-skin fits and micro shorts. Elevated everyday essentials — tank tops, rollnecks, leggings — are seen next to effortless knits that reveal skin beneath, while sheer pieces, liquid silk and layers of organza are grounded by suede sandals and polished accessories.
Scatterings of crystals make their way throughout the collection, inspired by an iconic pair of sparkling red shoes that designer Salvatore Ferragamo made for Marilyn Monroe in 1959. This significant moment in the brand’s history also informed the collection’s key color: a new shade of Ferragamo red, designed specifically by Pantone. The rest of the collection’s palette is extracted from artist Rachel Harrison’s Sunset Series, seen through degradé prints on clothing and accessories. You can pre-order Davis’ collection from 19 October and shop the pieces from 4 November.