Paul Andrews’ 2019 is off to a flying start. Having been officially promoted to creative director of the house of Salvatore Ferragamo just a few days ago, the autumn winter collection he presented overnight proves he is more than worthy of continuing the labels’ rich legacy.
As a footwear designer by origin (and for his own eponymous label) Andrews is not shy in iterating that his inspiration starts from the ground up. Literally. An ethic imperative for a label like Ferragamo whose fabled beginnings swirl around the golden era of Hollywood, when Salvatore himself was known as the “shoemaker to the stars”. His clientele included Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. A couture-star of his calibre is to be relished, and this season Andrews has paid particular homage.
In the lead-up to last night’s show the brand’s social media campaign alluded to particular inspiration from nostalgic prints from the label’s archives. There is a lot of back-to-the-future romancing this season. Many a new-honcho has taken to respectfully spotlighting the authenticity of what makes (or made) their heritage label so unique. And to forge forward with a personal truth while retaining a label’s essence is really the trinity for ongoing success.
Andrews seems to be weaving all three. Sequencing from his last two collections, Ferragamo is cementing its place as both leatherwear supremo and fashion-forward minimalist. This season’s shapes were particularly inspired. The use of luxurious fabrics in just the right amount of excess created an organic, chic slouch throughout. The opening pinstripe suit relaxed by a wide collar and flattering sashed waist was an inspired update on professional wears while the burnt orange two-piece worn by Adut Akech was sharp, bold and heart-thumpingly covetable. Vintage scarf-prints in patch-worked cuttings formed free-flowing dresses and skirts that were nicely juxtaposed with slick-formed leather apparel most interestingly in emerald greens.
And at the heart of the collection, footwear in the form of hardy calf-length boots in wearable muted reds and burgundies, dainty T-bar heels worn over ribbed stocks and stockings and even old-Hollywood kitten booties with a regal silver-screen crystallising. Andrews’ accessories mastery shone particularly through a patchwork wedge. A nod devoted to the famed 1983 rainbow platforms made for Judy Garland. Bags rendered a variance of shapes, scaling from micro cross-body purses to slouchy hobos to large dapper weekenders. And the label’s ‘gancio’ or hook, logo was given tastefully subdued attention through key accessories like the loop-buckle belt.
Highland fringed checks also blanketed a few looks that led the collection to its forever-wear aphorism; that Salvatore Ferragamo is a classic investment. Pieces to last beyond a season, with total customer inclusivity (his use of supreme models such as Liisa Winkler and Liya Kebede made the label’s agelessness clear). And if the leatherwear didn’t cement it enough, the arrival of the collection’s show-stopping snowy cashmere coat certainly did.
This label, so steeped in heritage, is being superbly upheld by Andrews. There is a delicate nature to which he (and menswear designer Guillaume Meilland) establish a collection. A refined, classic wholesomeness that effortlessly continues the founder’s long-kept original vision.