Salvatore Ferragamo was all over the silver screen. The elaborate platform shoes worn by the Mongol prince in 1924’s “The Thief of Baghdad” and Marilyn Monroe’s shoes in 1959’s “Some Like It Hot” were just a few of the hundreds of styles he created for dozens of films and the thousands more he made for the stars themselves.
The house of Ferragamo has left its footprint in Hollywood history, and on Oct. 8, the city of Beverly Hills and the Rodeo Drive Committee will present the legendary Italian brand with the eighth Walk of Style Award. The permanent plaque on the fabled street will be dedicated by Anjelica Huston and Eva Mendes, and celebrated with a performance by Grammy winner Kanye West.
Ferragamo will join Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Herb Ritts and Edith Head, all celebrated for their lasting contributions to Hollywood fashion.
“When we shaped the program, it was decided that we would honor legends of style, and we immediately thought of Ferragamo because it is such a hallmark for the shoe industry,” said Peri Ellen Berne, chairwoman of the Walk of Style. “He designed for Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, who are all icons of fashion. You look at the golden era of movies and the way stars would dress, and it starts at the head and goes down to the toes.”
Ferragamo’s film connections date to the early Twenties, when Salvatore Ferragamo owned the Hollywood Boot Shop, frequented by actresses. Through the Silent Era, he designed shoes for such films as Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” and “The King of Kings,” and for Raoul Walsh’s “The Thief of Baghdad.” His creations added to the glamour of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. In 1946, Lana Turner wore Ferragamo shoes in “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” and so did Monroe, in “Bus Stop” in 1956. Ferragamo is so famous for his cinema footwear that he is incorrectly credited — by the Smithsonian Institution, no less — with making the ruby slippers in “The Wizard of Oz.”
To mark its 15th year on Rodeo Drive, Ferragamo’s West Coast flagship had a floor-to-ceiling makeover, unveiled last month. The Walk of Style festivities will center around the new space, where guests will be invited in to view a special exhibition of famous Ferragamo shoes.
This story first appeared in the September 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Of course, Ferragamo has modernized with the times, finding fans in a whole new Hollywood generation.
“I don’t think trying to capture the trend means you have to lose your brand integrity,” said stylist Robert Verdi, whose client Eva Longoria loves her Ferragamo bags. “It is a balancing act and they are able to acquire a younger, hipper customer while keeping the legions of women who love the prestige [of the brand].”
Stylist Penny Lovell, who has dressed Keira Knightley and Ginnifer Goodwin in Ferragamo, added, “I’m not one for following trends or wanting clients to look like they are wearing the latest thing. Ferragamo’s accessories are interesting and you don’t see them on 6,000 people at the same time. They allow the person to wear them, not the other way around. It’s effortless without trying too hard.”
Those sentiments are shared by Hollywood style maven Kelly Lynch, who recently hosted a lunch for scion James Ferragamo at her home, where the walls are done in a rich brown leather that she said was inspired by — what else? — Italian luxury leather goods.