In 1919, Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo moved to Santa Barbara and opened up a boot shop that soon caught the eye of some of Hollywood’s elite. Quickly earning a reputation as “The Shoemaker to the Stars he spent the following several years developing close ties to the Hollywood film industry and designing shoes worn by the stars of the silver screen, before returning to his native Italy and establishing the Salvatore Ferragamo footwear company in Florence in 1927.
While growing his company in Italy and abroad, Salvatore continued to design shoes for the rich and famous, and became internationally known for his innovative designs of ladiesfootwear. He is credited with the invention of the cage heel, the wedge heel, and the ‘invisible sandala creation which won him the prestigious Nieman Marcus Award, fashion’s Oscar equivalent.
Salvatore’s family followed him into the fashion industry, along with his daughters Fiamma and Giovanna overseeing the creation of the brand’s handbags and ready-to-wear collections in 1965. Two years later, Fiamma Ferragamo followed in her father’s footsteps by winning the Nieman Marcus Award. She also designed the Vara shoe in 1978, which today remains the Ferragamo brand’s most iconic and best-selling shoe.
In addition to footwear, the Ferragamo brand is understood for leather goods, apparel, silk products and other accessories, women’s and men’s fragrances, in addition to eyewear and watches manufactured by licensees. As of December 2015, the Salvatore Ferragamo network boasts over 660 mono-brand stores operating in Italy and worldwide.