Two Salvatore Ferragamo designs from 1930

The late Salvatore Ferragamo was dubbed “shoemaker to the stars” as he famously worked with actresses from Mae West and Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford. He first traveled to California in 1915 leaving behind his hometown of Bonito, in the Campania region in Southern Italy. Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927 and set up his namesake company in Florence. Ninety years later, the company marks this milestone with an exhibition at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum called “1927 the Return to Italy.” Open to the public, it will run from May 18 to May 2 of next year.

The exhibit will include shoes created in the Twenties, as well as art works by Mino Maccari, Alberto Martini, Ernesto Michahelles (Thayaht), Ottone Rosai, Giacomo Balla, Giò Ponti and Fortunato Depero, reflecting the designer’s connection with his contemporary artists.


Alberto Martini, “La Marquise en Euterpe,” 1931  Courtesy Image

The show “explores the various elements of Italy’s 20th-century visual culture, taking from it the themes and works of art that directly influenced or indirectly informed the poetics of Ferragamo’s creations without overlooking the many cultural and social aspects that characterized the post-World War I period up to the eve of the Fascist regime’s authoritarian rise,” said the company. There will be garments and fabric from the era, finely crafted artistic objects, photographs and advertisements.

The exhibit is curated by Carlo Sisi and designed by Maurizio Balò. A catalogue is published by Skira.


Salvatore Ferragamo’s prototype of a court shoe, 1930, upper in brown antelope with yellow painted stamps, trimmed with green silk thread chain stitch, from the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum.  Courtesy Image

The exhibit “1927 the Return to Italy” follows “Across Art and Fashion,” unveiled in May of last year and closing April 7, which explored links between two creative realms that mutually influenced each other over centuries. Among the pieces on display: a Salvatore Ferragamo pump inspired by the Fifties’ work of American artist Kenneth Noland; an Elsa Schiaparelli dress designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalí in the Thirties; a Piet Mondrian-inspired Yves Saint Laurent dress; a Hussein Chalayan wooden corset; as well as a dress realized by Undercover creative director Jun Takahashi.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum is located at the Palazzo Spini Feroni in Florence, which also houses the company’s headquarters, and harks back to the 13th century.

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