Ferragamo’s Fifties Inspired Futurism for Fall-Winter 2023

Maximilian Davis has explored 1950’s era Hollywood and its relation to futurism as he continues to modernize Ferragamo in his second collection for the Italian fashion house

For only his second collection as the Creative Director at Ferragamo, Maximilian Davis has already breathed a riveting new life into the storied Italian fashion house. For the FW23 collection, Davis took a look at the fifties in Hollywood, the second home of Salvatore Ferragamo, and imagined ideas of futurism from the viewpoint of said era. “It’s how Ferragamo started, making shoes for films in the 1930s, and that grew into building relationships with movie stars like Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s,” said Davis. “I was interested in using their glamour and beauty, and their way of dressing, as a reference, but looking at how we could make it feel modern for today.” 

Davis knows how to design with a sharpness, an edge that has quickly given modernity to Ferragamo. His tailoring is clean-cut, honoring both the tradition of such a longstanding fashion house, while simultaneously offering a vision of the future as Davis sees it; straightforward and quite practical. In the tight nipping of waists or the high and tight placement of lapels, tailoring throughout the collection sings to Davis’ interest in the duality between classic and contemporary style. Going a step further, this precision is not only seen in tailoring, yet is further stylized, seen in slashes that reveal slivers of bold red on tailored suits, dresses, and leather jackets.

While tailoring was done with a strong decisive hand, Davis used scarf-dressing, a traditional code of the house, as a means to offer more light and expressive garments. These liquid-like garments flow effortlessly around the body; appearing in classic angelic white versions while also offered in patent leather and metallic lamé concoctions as Davis pairs traditional craft with space-age adjacent fabrication.

“I wanted to introduce the more romantic side of the fifties, and the two elements appear to contrast so directly – the ethereality against the rigour – that they somehow go hand in hand,” explained the designer. “This is my take on what people from the 50s would think of the future: alienated metallics and high shine.”

In terms of bringing in a clear sense of newness to the brand, Davis has used an interesting range of material exploration. Animal prints have been tapped from the brand’s archives and then screen printed onto a myriad of shearling coats as well as pony hair and leather accessories. The practice of screenprinting onto such textured surfaces has resulted in patterns that have become slightly distorted, intended to resemble heirloom pieces that have been worn-in and loved. 

What is most impressive of Davis’ design skills is that in his first two collections, he has been able to bring an edge to a brand without abandoning the core values of the house. His designs are modern and powerful yet simultaneously feel acutely Italian and timeless. It’s quite a joy to watch the modernization of Ferragamo unfold in front of us, and Davis has made it crystal clear — he is the right man for the job.

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