Salvatore Ferragamo: From psychoanalysis to Nancy Pelosi
Not many creators begin collections after reading proper works of psychoanalysis, but Paul Andrew did this summer, and the result was a powerful statement of modern fashion for the house of Salvatore Ferragamo.
Polished, plausible, poised and a neat soupçon of the unexpected, this was exactly the sort of aesthetic that a classy Florentine brand like Ferragamo should stand for.
Andrew’s starting point was Christmas reading, and the thoughts of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who hypothesized the idea that women are composed of seven key archetypes – queen, mother, lover, sage, maiden, huntress and mystic.
“And when I thought about that I realized that today’s women are all those different things at any given hour of the day. That’s the premise of this collection,” explained the designer backstage, standing before a look-board with black-and-white photos of icons likes Oprah Winfrey, Sharon Stone, Grace Jones and Nancy Pelosi.
All the way, of course, to Wanda Ferragamo, the widow of Salvatore, “who is the reason this house is at the level it is today. While Nancy Pelosi represents brains and intelligent power to me,” smiled Andrews, as a circle of Italian editors recorded his words on their mobile phones.
Staged in the Renaissance church of San Michele, the show began with a perfectly cut mannish cashmere coat, though worn with a charming golden fringed calf-length skirt; followed by an impeccably cut business suit in dark olive. Two sages setting the scene for a classy show.
Andrew also offered funnel-neck suede spy coats in tobacco or fiery red for mystic women; deerskin cat-suits worthy of 'The Avengers' for his huntresses; and a strict Wren’s dress with military pockets in beige calfskin -- worn by Carolyn Murphy for a goddess. One of a half-dozen veteran thirty-something models in this cleverly cast show.
A shoe designer by origin, Paul had plenty to chose from in footwear – the heart of the Ferragamo business: great combat boots with contrast laces; variations on the house’s classic pumps; and an excellent new pointy boot with the house’s signature double-loop buckle.
The British-born designer also upcycled with wit, after finding a scrap book by Fulvia Ferragamo - Wanda’s daughter, who launched the brand’s silk scarf business - in the archives with cut-out leaves and flowers that inspired prints. He then created some posh hippie woven leather bags, using those autumnal colors and patterns; the material sourced from surplus skins he discovered in a company warehouse.
Jung, the son of an impoverished rural pastor, would surely have approved of this ecological frugality. And admired a great morning’s work by Andrew.
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