Salvatore Ferragamo: an annual exhibition meets a brand new collection

Six styles recall the master Italian shoemaker’s late-1920s homecoming

Designs on display at 1927 The Return to Italy reflect both art deco and contemporary trends
Designs on display at 1927 The Return to Italy reflect both art deco and contemporary trends

The annual exhibitions at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence have become something of a pilgrimage for admirers of one of the greatest-ever shoe designers, not to mention fashion and culture historians. The next one, 1927 The Return to Italy, opens on May 19 and runs to May 2 2018, but just as eagerly anticipated as the show is the accompanying annual capsule collection – a limited edition line based on the designer’s original sketches and available from May 19 at selected Ferragamo boutiques. 

Salvatore Ferragamo Lottie shoes, £780
Salvatore Ferragamo Lottie shoes, £780

These capsules have given the world iconic collectors’ pieces such as the 1940s multicoloured stripe-soled wedge, and this year’s Creations collection of six handmade styles (from £695) draws on designs created between 1925 and 1930. Very much inspired by the museum exhibition, which focuses on art movements prevalent in Italy when Ferragamo returned there after a 12-year period living in California, some of the shoes look startlingly contemporary, despite being only slightly altered from the originals.  

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Lottie (£780, designed in 1925) is distinctly art deco, yet its high, curved heel and fan-shaped high vamp look contemporary, as does the thigh-reaching Indiana (£1,000, also 1925), a leopard-print forerunner of this autumn’s on-trend sock boot (although the original was a shoe and stocking). The Star (£915, 1926), a sequinned suede, ankle strap pump, is reminiscent of the accessory world’s preoccupation with all things celestial over winter; the monochrome geometric stitching on Labirinto (£695, 1930) and the black patent ankle strap on Preziosa (£740, 1929) both nail two more current trends; Autunn (£2,085, 1926) features unusual-shaped leaves, handpainted on cotton/linen. 

Salvatore Ferragamo Indiana boots, £1,000
Salvatore Ferragamo Indiana boots, £1,000

The museum show will feature works by Gió Ponti, Thayaht, Ottone Rosai and Giacomo Balla alongside clothing, textiles and photographs that influenced Ferragamo’s work, but his shoe designs take pride of place, alongside original sketches and photographs of them being modelled.

Salvatore Ferragamo Autunn boots, £2,085
Salvatore Ferragamo Autunn boots, £2,085

As for the Creations collection, each numbered pair comes with a limited edition certificate in a bright blue box with a gold metal plaque and matching plush shoe bag, made from a design patented by Ferragamo in the 1920s. The only dilemma for buyers will be whether to wear them or display them…

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