Although Ferragamo’s first Berlin store had a soft opening in September, Thursday marked the official opening celebrations.
On hand were Michele Norsa, chief executive officer of the Salvatore Ferragamo group, and family members Ferruccio, Fulvia and James Ferragamo, as well as a bevy of glamorous guests.
It was Norsa’s first glimpse of the finished 3,120-square-foot store on the city’s western luxury shopping boulevard Kurfürstendamm. Located in historic Haus Cumberland, a 1911 landmark building, the Ferragamo store took over half the space vacated by Karl-Heinz Müller’s immense denim-focused store 14 Oz., which retained its outpost on the eastern side of the city.
Looking approvingly at the store’s wrought iron spiral staircase and decorative mezzanine, Norsa noted that according to recent numbers, Germany is the top performer in Europe for Ferragamo. And with more Asians traveling and shopping in the country, the new store is well placed, he said.
“It’s an opportunity for us to catch the Chinese Millennials if they come here,” Norsa remarked.
Those young consumers might embrace the lighthearted spirit of Ferragamo’s new video campaign for its casual and colorful Off-Duty footwear capsule collection. The spot, which was filmed in Berlin, and played on repeat at Thursday’s event, features three models playing the children’s game “Red Light, Green Light, 123” around the city’s Alexanderplatz and Museumsinsel, and inside the neoclassical Villa Harteneck.
The heritage firm aims to balance luxury and lightheartedness, and broaden its appeal to the next generation of customers while keeping existing ones on deck.
“What we have been trying to do in the past 10 years is really rejuvenate the brand on one side, but never losing the heritage, the craftsmanship and the image, in the sense of the historical image of the brand, of the celebrities and the movie stars,” Norsa explained. “So this is always a game that you play, you give a little more, you take a little more.”
It’s a busy season for the Italian fashion brand: Last week, Ferragamo launched a silver and precious jewelry line in Mexico, and a capsule collection created with handbag designer Sara Battaglia is on its way in May. Airport and retail store openings are also keeping the brand on its toes with more to come in the second half of 2016; three new stores in China are planned, as well as one in Canada and one in Latin America, Norsa said.
Later at a dinner in Café Einstein cohosted by James Ferragamo and Berlin magazine 032c, guests enjoyed Viennese fare, including Wiener Tafelspitz and Sacher Torte cubes — paired with Italian wine.
Surveying the room full of cocktail-drinking young creatives at the event’s after party, James Ferragamo said the city’s consumers are driven by innovation.
“There’s a lot of mix and matching, and there’s a lot of experimentation in Berlin which is something you don’t see as much in other cities. So it’s very interesting for designers and for brands like us to understand and see,” he told WWD.