Salvatore Ferragamo (5 June 1898 7 August 1960) was an Italian shoe designer and the founder of luxury goods high-end retailer Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A.. Ferragamo worked with many Hollywood stars in the 1920s, before returning to Italy to found the eponymous company making unique handmade footwear. His scientific and inventive approach to shoes spawned many innovations such because the wedge heel and cage heel. Film stars and celebrities continue to patronize his company, which has evolved into a global empire spanning the world.
1 Early life
3 Death and legacy
4 Present day
7 Further reading
8 External links
Salvatore Ferragamo was born in 1898 in Bonito, near Avellino, the eleventh of 14 children, to a poor family. After making his first pair of shoes (a pair of high heels) at age nine, for him to wear (and his sisters to wear at their confirmation), young Salvatore decided that he had found his calling.
After studying shoemaking in Naples for a year, Ferragamo opened a small store based in his parent’s home. In 1914, he emigrated to Boston, where one in all his brothers worked in a cowboy boot factory. After a brief stint at the factory, Ferragamo convinced his brothers to maneuver to California, first Santa Barbara then Hollywood. It was here that Ferragamo found success, initially opening a shop for repair and made-to-measure shoes, which soon became prized items among celebrities of the day, resulting in a protracted period of designing footwear for the cinema. However, his thriving reputation as ‘Shoemaker to the Stars’ only partially satisfied him. He couldn’t fathom why his shoes pleased the eye yet hurt the foot, so he proceeded to check anatomy on the University of Southern California.
After spending thirteen years within the United States, Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927, this time settling in Florence. He began to fashion shoes for the wealthiest and most powerful women of the century, from the Maharani of Cooch Behar to Eva Peron to Marilyn Monroe. He opened a workshop within the Via Mannelli, concentrating his efforts in experimenting with design, applying for patents for ornamental and utility models and a few related inventions. Although he filed for bankruptcy in 1933 attributable to bad management and economic pressures, Ferragamo nonetheless expanded his operation in the course of the 1950s to a workforce of around 700 expert artisans that produced 350 pairs of handmade shoes a day.
“The Rainbowwas created by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1938 and was the primary instance of the platform shoe returning in modern days in the West. The platform sandal was designed for Judy Garland, an American singer, actress, and vaudevillian. This shoe was a tribute to Judy Garland’s signature song “Over the Rainbowperformed in the Wizard of Oz in 1938. The shoe was a crafted using uniquely shaped slabs of cork that were covered in suede to build up the wedge and gold kidskin was used for the straps. His creation was a result of experimentations with new materials because of wartime rationing during World War II
Death and legacy
Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960 on the age of 62, but his name lives on as a global company, which has expanded its operations to incorporate luxury shoes, bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes and a ready-to-wear clothing line. At his death his wife Wanda and later their six children (Fiamma, Giovanna, Fulvia, Ferruccio, Massimo and Leonardo) ran the company. Ferragamo was always recognized as a visionary, and his designs ranged from the strikingly bizarre objet d’art to the traditionally elegant, often serving as the principle inspiration to other footwear designers of his time and beyond.
His most famous invention is arguably the “Cage Heel”. Fiamma (Salvatore’s eldest daughter who died in 1998) inherited her father’s inimitable talent and came up with the “Vara pumps” in 1978.
A museum dedicated to Ferragamo’s life and work opened in the Palazzo Spini Feroni in 1995. The palazzo had been bought by Ferragamo within the 1930s.
In March 2013, Ferragamo’s fashion house, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A., established the Ferragamo Foundation in Florence. The muse was formed to cultivate young fashion designers, based on the ideas of Salvatore Ferragamo.
The corporate is currently owned by the Ferragamo family, which in November 2006 included Salvatore’s widow Wanda, five children, 23 grandchildren and other relatives. There’s a rule that only 3 members of the family can work at the corporate, prompting fierce competition.
– Wanda Ferragamo Miletti: has led the group since 1960, when her husband and founder of the corporate, Salvatore, died. She is currently Honorary Chairman.
– Ferruccio Ferragamo: he’s currently Chairman of the company.
– Giovanna Gentile-Ferragamo: she is currently vice president of Salvatore Ferragamo SpA.
– Leonardo Ferragamo, since 2000 he has been the Director of Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, Ferragamo Finanziaria and recently Executive Vice Present of the Fondazione Ferragamo.
– Massimo Ferragamo: he is Chairman of Ferragamo USA.
– Fulvia Visconti-Ferragamo: has run the fashion label’s silk accessories division because the seventies. She is the Deputy Chairwoman of Ferragamo Finanziaria SpA.
– Fiamma Ferragamo di San Giuliano: she died in 1998, many still believe her to be an influential figure in the life of the corporate today. Her passion for her work, her imagination and inventiveness have led to the creation of among the brand’s most iconic products, equivalent to Vara shoe and the Gancino.
James Ferragamo: graduate of NYU Stern, is the Women’s and Men’s Shoes and Leather Goods Division Director for the Salvatore Ferragamo Group.
– Angelica Visconti: South Europe Director
– Diego di San Giuliano: coordinates the digital activities of the brand
^ DeMello, M. (2009). Feet and footwear: A cultural encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO.
^ Kilcooley-O’Halloran, Scarlett (27 March 2013). “Salvatore Ferragamo Launches Fashion Foundation”. Vogue.
Ricci, Stefania; Glanz Margo; Mercedes Iturbe (2006). Walking Dreams: Salvatore Ferragamo, 1898-1960.