The house’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection leans into the ease and sensuality of new Hollywood to reinvigorate its archive
On Saturday, in the palace of the former Archbishop’s Seminary of Milan, Maximilian Davis transported his guests to the West Coast. “I wanted to pay tribute to Salvatore’s start by bringing in the culture of Hollywood,” said the designer upon his Ferragamo debut. “But new Hollywood. Its ease and sensuality; its sunset and sunrise.”
Salvatore Ferragamo, the house’s founder, became known as “shoemaker to the stars,” early on in his storied career. He designed rainbow-colored platforms for Judy Garland; black calf-skin pumps for Gloria Swanson; cowboy boots for Cecil B. DeMille; ballet flats for Audrey Hepburn; white stilettos for Marilyn Monroe. For Spring/Summer 2023, Davis sought to build from this legacy: “It was about looking into the archive and establishing what could be redefined to become relevant for today,” he explains.
The show was staged in the palace’s courtyard, which was swathed in “Ferragamo Red”—a new house color. Red sand covered the ground. It papered the venue’s walls. And it appeared in the clothing itself: fitted jumpsuits, strappy heels, v-cut hoodies, two-tone bags, sheer-knit robes. The collection was expansive, taking usually-conservative ensembles and breathing in new life. A suit jacket was paired with matching short-shorts; another was sleeveless, paired with thonged sandals. Overall, the effect could be described as streamlined, elegant, or playful in its subversion of old Hollywood norms—in Ferragamo’s words, insouciant and louche.
In any case, Davis had a strong start in taking ownership of the Ferragamo brand—in imbuing it with a part of himself. “The sand relates to Ferragamo, to Hollywood, to the ocean,” he said in regard to his set design. “But also to me, and to my own DNA. 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.”