By  on February 24, 2010

MILAN — Massimilano Giornetti believes he knows exactly what the Ferragamo customer wants.

So as the Tuscan designer readies his first women’s collection for the Florentine luxury goods house, which will be presented on Sunday, tricks and gimmicks aren’t on the radar.

Unlike his predecessor Cristina Ortiz, who focused on embellishments and eveningwear, Giornetti is pushing daywear that’s steeped in the house’s heritage and craftsmanship.

“Ferragamo has an amazing history. It represents glamour, a great family and elegance,” said Giornetti in an exclusive interview. “Our customer lives by the day and she’s not a fashion victim. Her tastes evolve but she’s faithful, not the volatile woman who buys Celine one day and Balmain the next.”

Giornetti, a graduate of Florentine fashion school Polimoda, joined Ferragamo in 2000 as knitwear assistant and was promoted to men’s wear designer four years later. In July, he was given responsibility for women’s ready-to-wear.

Ferruccio Ferragamo, the house’s chairman, praised Giornetti’s feet-on-the-ground vision. “Never as much as today must we concentrate on our core business and on what we know how to do best,” he said. “We don’t want to sacrifice any of our values for a spasmodic creativitybecause that’s not what the market wants from our brand.”

Michele Norsa, Ferragamo’s chief executive officer, said the company plans to open 45 stores this year, the majority of which will be concentrated in 30 smaller Chinese cities. The balance will roll out in Hanoi, Vietnam; Valencia, Spain; Mexico City; Singapore; Cairo; Johannesburg; Brasilia, and Bogotá, Colombia. The company also will increase its e-commerce presence in the U.S., Japan and the rest of Europe.

Saleswise, both Ferragamo and Norsa reported a brisk beginning of the year.

The 38-year-old Giornetti cited the polished elegance of the female Ferragamo family members, led by matriarch Wanda Ferragamo, as a source of inspiration. “All these ladies work, have families, lead a social life and need clothes to fit their lifestyle. I don’t understand why everyone gets nervous about making clothes that are comfortable and functional — it’s a mistake,” Giornetti contended.

Dapper coats, enveloping capes and knitwear are the backbones of the collection, mainly in luxurious wools and cashmeres, at times bonded together in double layers. Some styles are piped in napa leather or fur trimmed, while others feature “Gancino” closures or a roundish shaped metal clasp that is Ferragamo’s logo.Similarly adorned is the knitwear, either cozy cable knits and camel hair, or styles cut close to the body. A shiny suede jumpsuit, belted and buttoned down the front, is also a key look, said Giornetti.

Steering clear of black, Giornetti worked a rich and muted palette of mustard yellow, wood green, bitter chocolate brown and petroleum blue.

The accessories mirror the sobriety of the clothes with a whiff of Judy Garland and Greta Garbo. The shoes focus on three styles — a clean and simple boot, a pair of high-heeled lace ups and a strappy evening sandal with loops and passementerie details. “The latter is a model that Salvatore Ferragamo had designed but which never went into production,” said Giornetti.

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