Ferragamo’s Giornetti to Design Women’s Collections

Ferragamo’s men’s wear designer, Massimiliano Giornetti, will now also design the women’s collections, replacing Cristina Ortiz.

MILAN — There are changes afoot at Salvatore Ferragamo SpA.

This story first appeared in the July 30, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Massimiliano Giornetti, the men’s wear designer at the Florentine luxury goods house, now will also design the women’s collections, succeeding Cristina Ortiz.

Speculation about Ortiz’s departure had been circling for some time since her flashy, sexpot-inspired design vision never took off and clashed with the house’s heritage. The Ferragamo family, led by Salvatore’s wife, Wanda, grew increasingly discontent as Ortiz earned lukewarm reviews for her work.

Giornetti is already at work on the fall-winter 2010 collection, while Ortiz will exit the company after her fourth season, when she shows the spring 2010 lineup in Milan in September.

Since 2000, Giornetti has earned praise for designing and growing Ferragamo’s men’s wear, but this will be the first time he does women’s wear. The 38-year-old Giornetti is a graduate of Florence’s Polimoda fashion school and took classes at London’s College of Fashion.

Neither Michele Norsa, Ferragamo’s chief executive officer, nor Giornetti were available for comment.

James Ferragamo, the grandson of founder Salvatore Ferragamo, will continue to be in charge of accessories.

Ortiz was hired in August 2007 to succeed Graeme Black when he left to concentrate on his namesake line.

It was Norsa who was eager to bring Ortiz, whose résumé includes stints at Brioni and Prada, into Ferragamo. Whether Norsa will remain at Ferragamo is also a question circulating in the fashion industry.

Most recently, Salvatore Ferragamo was awarded the “Best of the Best” title for 2009 in China, ranking first in the women’s footwear category and third for handbags. Gucci and Hermès came in second and third, respectively. The acknowledgement is the result of a survey conducted by American research group Luxury Institute based on four factors: consistent superior quality, uniqueness, exclusivity and consumer satisfaction.

Elsewhere, the family was honored with a ceremony celebrating 111 years since Salvatore Ferragamo’s birth in 1898. Following congressional tradition, a dedicated American flag was raised over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, and then presented to his widow, Wanda Ferragamo. It is now displayed in Ferragamo’s Florence headquarters.

The late designer was recognized for a career that had its beginning in the U.S. when he emigrated from Italy in 1914, opening his first store on Boulevard Las Palmas in Hollywood in 1923.