Salvatore Ferragamo makes its big come-back in Florence
Salvatore Ferragamo closed the first day of Pitti Uomo in style on Tuesday evening with the debut menswear runway show from creative director Paul Andrew. Making its come-back on the Florentine catwalk, the brand chose the city's iconic Piazza della Signoria as its venue, the first time that the square has been reserved for an event of this kind.
In a perfectly orchestrated choreography set to the rhythms of hits from the 80s including Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug", David Bowie's "Fashion", and "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer, the models came and went through the doors of the Palazzo Vecchio, descending the catwalk set up in front of the imposing fortress that now houses Florence's town hall, and sauntering in the shadow of the Loggia dei Lanzi.
The slim figures of various ages gave an impression of freshness and levity. With sunglasses perched on their noses or headbands in their hair, they floated through their historical surroundings with a laid-back but never misplaced nonchalance, sporting colourful raincoats or windbreakers that fluttered in the evening breeze. Nylon jumpsuits alternated with hi-tech banker suits, before giving way to a simultaneously sporty and sophisticated aesthetic channelled by super-light parachute jackets that ruched around models' necks, as well as parkas and gilets in every imaginable size and material.
This collection for Spring/Summer 2020 takes much of its inspiration from the brand's archives from the period 1920-1940, which have been reinterpreted with a young, cosmopolitan spirit. Taking their lead from the colour palette of the legendary Rainbow sandals made by Salvatore Ferragamo for actress and singer Judy Garland in 1938, the 41 menswear looks and 16 womenswear looks were ordered on the runway to create a gradient which shifted from natural tones of washed-out green, sand and cream to bolder shades, such as rust, caramel, ultramarine, orange, burgundy and plum.
Workwear and tailoring were beautifully balanced. The suits were comfortable and chic, classic and modern, informal and sophisticated, making for a menswear wardrobe defined by timeless elegance. The new Ferragamo man combines ultra-soft beige leather t-shirts with white cotton trousers featuring discreet vertical zips at the bottom of the leg, allowing the wearer to modify their fit, while straw-coloured leather biker vests with zipped pockets are worn with vaguely retro short-sleeved fitted jumpers and sienna leather pants.
On the runway, a blue cotton shirt was ruched down the back, and a bomber integrated into a mustard raincoat with leather braiding running down its sleeves was worn over a cotton boiler suit. "This collection is very transversal. It reflects the label's customers. It's multigenerational, targeting men from the ages of 17 to 70 years old," explained Andrew, who worked alongside head of menswear design Guillaume Meilland on the collection, the pair taking their bow together after the show.
"You'll never find hoodies or maxi-logos at Ferragamo! I dress men who are young and mature at the same time, who have class and appreciate the authentic luxury of well made products," he added. Everywhere one looked in the collection there were smart details, such as zipped pockets that can either be removed or customised thanks to their drawstring edges.
The quality of the collection's materials also took centre stage, as shown by a suit in aquamarine leather made to look like cracked paper. In particular, the label has been researching materials that combine "high-tech" and "high-craft", injecting traditional savoir-faire with a good dose of innovation by introducing technical linens, rubber-effect cotton jerseys and other new fabrics.
In terms of accessories, Andrew offered up some soft deerskin bags that were both simple and functional, as well as shoe-sneakers that combined classic, understated shapes with thick rubber soles which recreated the rope decoration of the brand's espadrilles in relief. The espadrilles themselves were also modernised in a suede high-soled version, while the brand's 1951 Japanese-inspired "Kimo" model with interchangeable uppers was also brought up to date.
For the ladies, there were 70s-inspired dresses in revealing lace and macramé, or suits with superb leather trousers that mirrored the men's versions. At the end of the runway, the designer paid tribute to the show's venue with a series of pieces printed with drawings of the famous Fountain of Neptune, which can be found in the square near the Palazzo Vecchio.
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