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Gervais Says Arrivederci to Ferragamo

MILAN — Nathalie Gervais, Ferragamo’s creative director since February, quit the company last week, saying there were “too many cooks in the kitchen.’’<BR><BR>Gervais, 40, had a three-season contract with the Florentine...

MILAN — Nathalie Gervais, Ferragamo’s creative director since February, quit the company last week, saying there were “too many cooks in the kitchen.’’

Gervais, 40, had a three-season contract with the Florentine luxury goods group. Although Gervais reported to Hervè Martin, the product general manager who was hired with her, she said Ferragamo family members also gave directions that often didn’t share a common vision.

“There was a structural problem and no room for a creative director,” the French-born Gervais said in an interview. “There were more politics than competences and there was no room to breathe.”

Ferruccio Ferragamo is the company’s chief executive officer; Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, vice president of Salvatore Ferragamo Italia, and Fulvia Ferragamo, vice president and head of accessories. Leonardo Ferragamo is at the helm of the Ferragamo-owned Ungaro.  

A Ferragamo spokeswoman confirmed Gervais’ departure but declined to elaborate.

In their respective roles, Martin, who had worked at Kenzo, and Gervais, who was at Nina Ricci before Ferragamo, were part of a company strategy aimed at boosting the brand’s image in terms of trends, modernity and consumer age range. Gervais said that while she’s already had some offers, she has no plans for the future.

Gervais’ situation was complicated  when Ferragamo hired back Graeme Black after a six-month leave. Black, a Giorgio Armani protégé, worked on both the accessories and ready-to-wear collections and essentially bid arrivederci in April after Martin and Gervais were tapped.

Ferragamo announced in mid-September that it would bypass its traditional runway show to present its spring-summer 2005 collection without even a showroom presentation for the accessories, considered an unusual decision by fashion experts.

Gervais confirmed that she designed the spring-summer 2005 and fall-winter 2005-2006 collections, plus their respective precollections.