MFW SS23: Ferragamo

WHEN it was announced earlier this year that the Fashion East and CSM graduate Maximilian Davis would be taking the reins at Ferragamo (renamed without ‘Salvatore’ in a decisive gesture of the contemporary simplicity Davis intends to introduce), a wave of appreciative nods in the industry concluded that the collaboration would be a triumph,  both aesthetically and conceptually.

Ferragamo is a brand with humble beginnings yet rich with history – Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo began as an apprentice, opening the Hollywood Boot Shop in Boulevard las Palma in 1923 – and Davis is a designer that oozes modernity, with an exquisite understanding of the relevancy of fashion in today’s society.  Each are recognised for similar visual approaches in their use of red, the application of draping, and the utmost attention to the craft of tailoring. The anticipation for their debut SS23 show has, naturally, built in intensity.

Unveiling a new chapter for the house of Ferragamo, Davis intertwined his vision into the codes that had built the brand almost a century ago. “I wanted to pay tribute to Salvatore’s start by bringing in the culture of Hollywood – but new Hollywood,” explained Davis. “Its ease and sensuality; its sunset and sunrise.”

The relaxed backdrop of the Hollywood beachfront is approached with a quintessentially Davis eye. Knits are wide-woven to reveal skin; sheer layers of organza build impressively intricate yet simple dresses; and the ultra short shorts offer a subversion to the brashness of Hollywood glamour. Washes of degradé prints inspired by artist Rachel Harrison’s Sunset Series accentuate the palette of the collection, applied on patent leathers, organza, and cotton poplin, colouring in the neutral corners with deep indigo, sky blue and burnt orange.

In a claim to a new house colour, the red that Davis applied to his Fashion East collections in celebration of the flag of Trinidad and Tobago has been reinterpreted in a brighter hue, one that echoes the sparkling red shoes Ferragamo made for Marilyn Monroe in 1959. Dyed into the sand that glazed the entirety of the courtyard of the former Archbishop’s Seminary of Milan on which the models walked, built into the adaptation of the Wanda bag, which was first introduced in 1988 and named after Salvatore’s wife, and culminating in monochromatic ensembles embroidered with red sparkling crystals.

“The sand relates to Ferragamo, to Hollywood, to the ocean–but also to me, and to my own DNA,” explains Davis. “To what the sea means to Caribbean culture: a place where you can go to reflect and feel at one. I wanted to show that perspective, but now through the Ferragamo lens.”

The sculptural elements to the jewellery and footwear, namely the new Elina heel, is mirrored in the ready-to-wear with mini dresses, grecian sandals and sharp suiting presenting a construct and framing to the otherwise soft and silky collection.

If Davis is hoping to revitalise the formative codes of the Ferragamo DNA, his first instalment to the house is vital proof that the process has well and truly begun.

by Lily Rimmer