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Ferragamo’s Archival Moment

Kristen Bateman, Usa
09.04.2018
The Italian fashion house’s forward-facing shoe looks to the past.

When Paul Andrew, the newly-minted creative director of Ferragamo, was dreaming up the latest footwear silhouettes for the Spring 2018 runway, he went straight to the brand’s colorfully inspired and boundary-breaking archives. From his research, Andrew developed a new process for the brand in which he found shoes galvanized in Italian car factories (“Unheard of!” according to Andrew) and others with colorways influenced directly by the sculptor and video artist Richard Serra.

True to its bold aesthetic, the label sent models down the runway wearing a selection of scarlet-hued heeled mules, python-embellished boots, and sandals in a variety of supple leathers. The unifying force that brought it all together? A gilded flower-shaped heel rendered in an array of different heights and widths. The reference points were a pair of 1956 caged heels and 1939 column heel sandals. “Both shapes were unique creations of their time,” says Andrew. “But as time passes, fashion evolves in design—weight, shape, the general architecture. With a sleeker silhouette and venturing to create something new from something old, the combination of the two heels speaks to an entirely fresh-faced generation of Ferragamo women.” In fact, both of these mid-century shoes were ahead of their time in their design: The heel acted as a removable case so that the wearer could swap out various styles in different circumstances.

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Archival Ferragamo shoes

Ferragamo may present two ready-to-wear womenswear collections per year (in addition to menswear), encompassing everything from trousers to leather jackets, but it began in the 1920s as a line of footwear catering to Hollywood’s elite. Founder Salvatore Ferragamo was known as the name behind iconic shoes worn by leading actresses, such as Audrey Hepburn’s ballet flats and Marilyn Monroe’s stilettos in the 1950s. Naturally, Paul Andrew also comes to the brand with a background in shoe design. After honing his craft at Calvin Klein and Alexander McQueen, he launched his namesake footwear line in 2012 and became the first shoe designer to win the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Likewise, he plans to revive some of Ferragamo’s groundbreaking shoe designs with a modern spin. “I speak the language of Salvatore as translated by Paul,” he explains.

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Drawing by Paul Andrew
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Drawing by Paul Andrew

When asked how he’ll continue to modernize such statement shoes, Andrew answers, “Becoming a statement is a magic formula of design, quality, craftsmanship, and creativity that not only stands as a testament to fashion but also to a woman’s confidence, charisma, and personal style.”

“The archives know no boundaries of imagination,” says Andrew. “And it’s where I plan to continue taking the brand.”

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