It May not be The Uffizi
STROLL down the Through di Tornabuoni in the centre of Florence and turn into the Feroni-Spini Palace. On the second floor is the museum began by Fiamma Ferragamo’s family in 1995. It may not be the Uffizi, but it is maybe extra fun.
The Ferragamos are one of the industrious families which were the driving pressure of Italy’s economy. When you’ve got virtually all the things that millions of lire should purchase, what might be nicer than a museum Not even Bill Gates has his own museum, and indeed a group of old computer systems might be of restricted curiosity. Shoes, although, are intimately private. “How beautiful are thy ft with shoes, O prince’s daughter,” rhapsodises the “Song of Solomon”, the sexiest of the books of the Bible. Some 3,000 years later Miss Ferragamo would have been pleased to have endorsed that sentiment.
Italy has corrupt politics and the Mafia (as it once had the Borgias) however it additionally has great industrial designers (as it as soon as had great painters). With their seductive merchandise, the likes of the Ferragamos, the Guccis (one other Florentine business family) and the Armanis have softened the world’s view of Italian society.
Within the Ferragamo family every of the six kids was given a bit of the firm to run. One deals with scarves and ties, another looks after the Japanese market, and so forth. Fiamma Ferragamo, the eldest, designed the shoes. She joined the agency at sixteen when her father, Salvatore, the founder of the agency, was nonetheless alive. She was the one child to work with him.
The glad return
Salvatore Ferragamo got here from a poor family of 14 children in a village close to Naples, emigrated to America and, after a number of jobs in shoe factories, arrange his personal shoemaking business in Hollywood. In the event you occur to see a silent film starring Mary Pickford, the footwear she is sporting were most likely made by Salvatore. Pola Negri, Theda Bara and plenty of different as soon as well-known and now forgotten stars made him instantly fashionable. He had studied the anatomy of the foot at university, or so he advised his clients. To pep up production he arrange an meeting line with each worker making a part of a shoe by hand. It was the same manner that Ford made cars, besides, Salvatore mentioned, each one of many 350 pairs of footwear produced each day was completely different. This was the inspiration of the Ferragamo fortune. In the thirties Salvatore returned to Italy, a poor man made good, married a doctor’s daughter, Wanda (now president of the agency), and bought a Renaissance villa exterior Florence, where Fiamma and the other kids had been brought up.
Fiamma Ferragamo confirmed her first collection of shoes in London in 1961 when she was 20. Salvatore had died the earlier 12 months, and the family was depending on her to offer the creativity that’s the essential bankable asset in the ephemeral world of vogue. The show did well and Miss Ferragamo was a star. Famous feet had been happy to be seen in her shoes. Ultimately she gained many of the awards that the style trade bestows on its favourites.
Well-known feet are good publicity, however, as in the rest of the vogue trade, success in shoemaking depends upon selling to a wide market; and by now equipment had been put into the meeting line to push up production effectively beyond Salvatore’s ambitions.
Miss Ferragamo designed a shoe for “Ever After”, a film about Cinderella, possessor of probably the most famous toes in history. It’s a salvatore ferragamo chelsea boots reasonably factor of satin, covered in pearls and beads and primarily based on a design by Salvatore within the museum in Florence. It is way admired on Drew Barrymore’s dainty feet in the movie. But Salvatore and his daughter discovered that dainty ft usually are not all that frequent outside fairy tales. However, in their designs they supplied a little bit of magic too. Miss Ferragamo was a intelligent saleswoman. In her travels around stores in America and Europe, she would level out that one of many selling factors of Ferragamo shoes is their range of fittings. Each measurement is available in seven widths. Quoting a dictum of her father, she mentioned, “High fashion and consolation aren’t incompatible.” So do this for size, Madame Elephant. No, your ft don’t look huge in any respect. Nicely, not very.
The posh label did effectively within the mass market. In 1994 the company’s turnover (together with different style items in addition to footwear) was 516 billion lire ($320m). In 1996 the corporate swallowed Emanuel Ungaro, a French style agency.
An early design by Miss Ferragamo, a easy shoe with a spherical toe and a small heel known as the Vara, is still promoting properly greater than 30 years later. It’s seen as a press release of good style, and is not costly as chic footwear go: £115 ($194) in Ferragamo’s London store. Imelda Marcos purchased several pairs. The scoffing about Mrs Marcos’s seemingly insatiable desire for sneakers has come mainly from men. Many rich women have cupboards jammed with footwear, and less rich women envy them. Accumulating shoes might be no extra foolish than collecting postage stamps or vintage teddy-bears. And extra practical, Miss Ferragamo would argue.