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Fresh Ferragamo

Profiles

The fashion house's new creative director turns out a sun-kissed sophomore collection, straight from the Mediterranean.

BY Lynn Yaeger

"I LIKE TO CALL THIS COLLECTION THE NEW 'bikini couture," says Ferragamo creative director Massimiliano Giornetti when asked to describe the floaty, filmy confections, a quiet riot of cream and cinnamon, he sent down the runway to general acclaim last September in Milan.

“The inspiration started from a French movie from the late '6Os: La Piscine (the swimming pool). My aim was to catch the atmosphere, allure and elegance of Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin in that movie, very natural and
effortless," explains Giornetti, who took over the women's line last summer, though he has headed up Ferragamo's men's division for the past decade.

When you’re the creative director of a line with a back story as rich as Ferragamos-everyone from Eva Peron to Marilyn Monroe has sported the firms iconic pumps in the last 100 or so years-you inevitably have to meet
the challenge of blending the venerable with the fresh. "Salvatore Ferragamo is a remarkable brand, with such a prestigious heritage, renowned worldwide for its superb quality, for the fine craftsmanship of its products, for creativity and innovation, and for being the perfect embodiment of the Italian lifestyle," says Giornetti, who gives every indication that he is equal to the task of honoring the past while making the brand completely contemporary.

Although Giornetti cites Julianne Moore and Gwyneth Paltrow as his ideal customers-and, really, what fashion house wouldn't be proud to accouter these lovely ladies?-the collection is also intended for, in the designer's words, “real men and women who have a real life, with lots going on. Men and women who love quality and colors-solid, elegant, sophisticated people who enjoy open-air life and sometimes like to be eccentric, but always in keeping with good taste and style. People who are able to make intelligent choices from the best offerings on the market interest me. They’re fashion conscious and attentive to detail, but they're not fashion victims.”

In fact, if these prospective Ferragamo wearers are victims of anything, it is for the universal desire to escape to a desert island, to indulge in a fantasy life of "plain air"-at least part of the time. “I wanted to tell a story of a woman who lives by the sea, a free spirit, naturally elegant, who mixes the items of her eclectic wardrobe with her own innate taste: a crochet costume with thin drawstrings, a mini-top or micro-polo made of ribbed silk over ample skirts with embroidered flounces, crochet dresses, all rediscovered and highlighted to symbolize a new-found sensuality," says Giornetti.

Or in other words, this season Ferragamo will be literally a day at the beach.

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