By  on March 4, 2009

MILAN — Salvatore Ferragamo and Yohji Yamamoto have linked to produce a small footwear collection called Salvatore Ferragamo for Yohji Yamamoto. The sculptured shoes will premiere in red on the designer’s fall runway on Friday.

“Ferragamo is the top specialist in shoe making and working with them was an amazing experience that bought me lots of happiness,” said Yamamoto in an exclusive interview.

As the project unfurled, Yamamoto traveled to Ferragamo’s Florentine headquarters, where he met matriarch Wanda Ferragamo, toured the museum and mined the archives. He was fascinated by Ferragamo’s trailblazing styles, to the point that he believes they would “disappoint any student who thinks his work is original.” But the one thing the archives lacked was “mannish, unisex and neutral shoes,” said Yamamoto.

So he took care of that with seven unfussy and sinuous styles, at times influenced by the house’s iconic Vara ballerina or archival patterns.

Among the standouts are a man’s shoe laced to the tip; an urban take on the hiking boot in a black-and-white pattern; a smooth two-toned lace-up, and a strawberry red pull-on ankle boot. Retail prices range from $470 to $1,050.

The shoes’ simplicity, built on complicated constructions, impressed James Ferragamo, director of the women’s leather goods department, who worked with Yamamoto on the project. “It was a wonderful exercise in design. Yamamoto is very precise and very concentrated. We were challenged with molding the leather to get the soles right, especially when the heel was part of it, and getting all the pieces to match,” said Ferragamo.

Yamamoto added that he has always wanted to collaborate with the best makers, especially when they “safeguard their long-established brands in today’s complicated fashion market.”

“High quality craftsmanship is similar to the secret recipe of a long-established restaurant, which is not to be removed from the premises,” he contended.

The shoes will be available starting in early July in Yamamoto boutiques, in 35 Ferragamo flagships and select points of sale.

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