In October, Paul Andrew was appointed to be the Women’s Creative Director at Salvatore Ferragamo. I had a coffee with him the day after his debut show in February to speak about the collection. This was a special conversation because all of our previous exchanges had been about the shoe business or his own namesake line. Today we were going to talk about the whole vision: the ready-to-wear and the accessories. All of the accolades he had won before had been in shoe designing. How interesting for him to be one of the few designers to have such a strong clear vision in shoes that the owners of the brand gave him the keys to the kingdom. Shoe lovers rejoice, he is designing clothes with shoes in mind.
Congratulations on such a beautiful collection. I found the collection to be modern, handsome and luxurious in the most tasteful way. Even from my seat I could see the wonderful textures. I also love the rich color palette. I adore the Ferragamo Studio Bag!! Adore!!
Thank you darling.
I also need to make a note of the interesting music choices. Sade and the Terence Trent D’Arby had the barely twenty year olds and the fashion heavyweights (Fabien Baron, Carine Roitfeld ) all tapping their toes in the front row. It was barely standing room only backstage. I could hardly make through the crowd to congratulate you! Tell me what was your thought process when you started the collection?
I couldn’t stop think about codes. Codes for the brand. There are so many good elements that exist in the house to work with already. But my thought was “What were the pillars that our customers should be coming to Ferragamo for? The first was Leather. I wanted the most perfect leather clothes. Super soft nappa leather full garments. Do you see this skirt (he points to the first look) – It is 19 meters of leather – it’s not heavy. There are godets in godets.
I just tried it on in the showroom. It’s like a shammy.
The one that is like a burlap color. Oh yes! It is super slim but there is this quiet volume for movement. Everything is designed with serious consideration to the hem in order to showcase the shoes. The second thing is The Perfect pant. The Ferragamo woman is incredibly modern and living such a mobile life. We need to give her the perfect trouser options.
The third thing is The Shirt Dress. Interestingly, when I was going through the archives of all of the glamorous women that Salvatore Ferragamo used to dress – Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Hepburn, Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly – they all used to wear shirt dresses. It was so interesting to see. I like the idea of us owning this category of shirts and shirt dresses since it is so authentic to the brand. In this collection there is this new proposition of the shirt dress with double collars and shirt pins.
Look #26 was my favourite! A floor length shirt dress in jersey, I mean! Can we talk about the oversized belt? The funny thing is that I had secretly wished that you would make one when you came into the house. It’s as if you heard my prayers, Paul.
I redesigned the hardware for every aspect of the collection. The Fourth: Coats. I love good tailoring. Any excuse to be able to design into this category, I am thrilled – plus it services my consideration for the shoes.
The fifth: Prints – is something that is so inherent to the brand. The prints that exist in the house are amazing. I feel like I am just beginning to uncover them.
The sixth: Knit – did you see the rib knit cashmere sweater dresses? Even the underpinning – super fine cashmere knit turtlenecks or the racer back tank top. Maybe it was the decade of working with Donna where I learned the amazing qualities of a bodysuit. It holds the body in and gives the look of such a super flat stomach and smooth silhouette.
A super flat stomach and a smooth silhouette? In super fine cashmere? Who doesn’t want that? I do believe in curating the ideal wardrobe, good basics and underpinnings are super key.
The idea behind the collection was that show: “The Crown”. I fell totally in love with the Princess Margaret character. I didn’t realise she was so naughty. I love the idea of the mackintoshes and the ponchos – all of the outerwear pieces – with the riding boots. I started to play with these ideas in my head: “She’s been out all night long in this beautiful velvet dress – it’s 7am. She’s lost one of her earrings and she’s lost her bag. And then she’s come home to the estate and then she realises ‘oh damn! I need to feed the pigs.’ Throws on a poncho and a flat boot in ostrich and a bag in ostrich – to go feed the pigs.” Did you see some of the girls walk the show with only one glove?
I did! Is the approach to ready to wear versus shoes different or related?
Everything started with the shoes. Meaning I designed the shoes first and then the ready to wear came to complement the shoes. Not to say that this takes away from the desirability or the design integrity of the ready to wear. But the shoes dictate a lot and I think this is how it has to be at a house like Ferragamo. I also think this the way a lot of women put themselves together, starting from the shoes up.
Absolutely. I am feeling lower proportions in heel heights which lead to this value of ease in dressing. I think we will stick with that. I don’t think we will be a brand that does shoes heels in 120mm or platforms heels.
Your collection had his instant appeal. I think it is because of your awareness of how women want to be dress to be modern and timeless. I could see very easily that these are pieces and looks that people will not tire of. I think it is interesting that most of the codes you want to own are based on materials.
When you buy a Ferragamo coat or shirt dress – the idea is that it’s not just for the season. You can wear it forever. It’s an investment piece. And I think that this is what luxury should be today with the house of Ferragamo. I am working really hard to take this level to the highest place it can be in terms of quality and style function to our customer.