By  on July 2, 2010

Banking on a 10-year company veteran to convey a more cohesive brand image, the Salvatore Ferragamo Group has named Massimiliano Giornetti creative director for all product lines.

Already in charge of men’s ready-to-wear, as well as the women’s collection beginning with the fall season, Giornetti now will oversee the creative development of all of the luxury label’s categories.

In an exclusive phone interview Thursday, Giornetti said his new role evolved in “a very natural way. For 10 years, I have been working with the brand and I really understand the heritage and craftsmanship. The family and other people inside the company give me extra strength and energy for this role,” he said. “Basically, it is like I have grown up in the company. I started out as assistant to the knitwear designer in men’s wear.”

Giornetti’s debut designs for Ferragamo’s women’s wear were relatively well received. As indicated by a WWD review, “The pressure was on Massimiliano Giornetti, Salvatore Ferragamo’s new designer, who has been charged with restoring luster and luxury to the house, recently mired in irrelevant design, all the while charting unfamiliar territory: women’s wear. If the collection he showed Sunday is any indication, Giornetti is up to the challenge.”

On Thursday, he was quick to note he started his career in women’s wear with the Rome-based haute couture designer at Anton Giulio Grande. Giornetti described himself as a “very open and friendly person who has always had a very positive attitude with all the people on the creative side.” Asked if he felt more pressure, since Ferragamo has gone through a few women’s wear designers — Cristina Ortiz, Graeme Black and Nathalie Gervais — in recent years, Giornetti said: “This is not about what other designers like Graeme and Cristina have done. At a certain point, you need a person overseeing all the collections. My work in men’s wear made the family and Michele [Norsa, Ferragamo’s chief executive officer] trust that I was the right person for the job.”

“Our entire family has always deeply appreciated Massimiliano Giornetti,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman of Salvatore Ferragamo Italia SpA. “We are happy about his new role because we consider him the right person to impersonate the Ferragamo style, and I am certain that his creativity will bring a further strong contribution.”

In his latest post, Giornetti reports to Norsa and continues to be based in Florence. The news is in step with the brand’s strategic positioning, Norsa said.

“What’s extremely important at Ferragamo is really creating a strong and cohesive vision in every category,” Giornetti said. “We want to make it more of a lifestyle brand. Of course, I am very well trained in ready-to-wear, but that is not the core business. What’s extremely important now is to give the consumer a very strong vision across all categories.”

He said the pre-fall collection’s sales have doubled since last year. Giornetti also managed to spend some time in Ferragamo’s Fifth Avenue store. As for the challenges ahead, he said: “I’m a very concrete and serious person. There is a lot to do to see that all the categories reflect the iconic style of the brand. I really want to do everything step-by-step. I want to work on the details and make the collection even more relevant.”

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