Paul Andrew

MILAN — Salvatore Ferragamo has appointed Paul Andrew as design director of its women’s footwear category, effective immediately. This confirms a WWD report at the end of August. Andrew’s first collection for the brand will bow for pre-fall 2017-18.

This story first appeared in the September 9, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

This is the first time the Florence-based luxury firm has tapped an international designer in such a role and marks Ferragamo’s commitment to strengthen its core footwear business. Andrew will continue to design his namesake men’s and women’s footwear brand, which he launched in 2013.

“We are excited to welcome such a dynamic and established talent into the Ferragamo company,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, president of the publicly listed company. “We have a proud history of nurturing design talent and we believe that Paul’s credo very much matches the spirit at the heart of our house.”

Andrew in 2014 was named winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, becoming the first footwear designer to receive the top honor. He worked at Donna Karan for nearly a decade — rising to the role of vice president, design, shoes and accessories. Prior to working with Karan, Andrew held design roles at both Calvin Klein and Narciso Rodriguez. He has also worked at Alexander McQueen.

Salvatore Ferragamo has been an iconic reference for shoe design and craftsmanship for nearly a century,” said Andrew. “It is a great honor to be invited to lead the creative vision for the future of its women’s shoe division, where the legend began. I look forward to bringing a new perspective to the company in line with the demands of today’s marketplace, marrying the power of its heritage and industrial force with high design and the latest innovations in material and make.”

Andrew’s innovative use of materials is in sync with Ferragamo’s history. For his resort 2017 collection, he was inspired by Scandinavian furniture design, introducing a new half-cylinder heel construction, which had a wood-grain finish but was made of plastic; pumps with crystal-ball heels, as well as platform sandals with shearling lamb accents on the midsoles. While his designs are feminine, Andrew is attentive to comfort, versatility and function and he brings to Ferragamo a honed expertise in the category. His namesake line expanded into the men’s category for fall.

In August, the men’s assortment was honored with the Brand Launch award at the Accessories Council’s annual ACE Awards. He also won the Swarovski Award for emerging accessories design talent at the 2016 CFDA Awards.

Ferragamo was founded in 1927 by the namesake designer, dubbed “cobbler to the stars” for his work with Hollywood actresses starting in the Thirties. He has left a legacy of innovative designs and materials, from the iconic Diva sandal crafted from multicolored suede bands to the cork platform, the brass heel or the sandal with a wedge embellished with handpainted flowers.

The company is going through some changes following the departure of creative director Massimiliano Giornetti in March, after 16 years with the brand, and the arrival of Eraldo Poletto as chief executive officer, succeeding Michele Norsa, who led the company for 10 years.  Ferragamo, which comprises a men’s and women’s apparel line, handbags and small-leather goods collections, as well as fragrances, has said it will focus on strengthening its in-house design team and that it had no plans to name a successor to Giornetti.

In the six months ended June 30, growth in the Americas and Japan helped offset softness in Asia and Europe. Ferragamo posted a 2.3 percent gain in net profit to 90 million euros, or $100.8 million, compared with 88 million euros, or $103 million, in the same period last year. Revenues were down 1.7 percent to 710 million euros, or $795.2 million, compared with 722 million euros, or $844.7 million, last year.

By category, in the first half, shoes were up 1 percent to 308.6 million euros, or $345.6 million, accounting for 43.5 percent of the total.

In recent months, Ferragamo has released capsule collections designed by up-and-coming accessories talents, including shoes by Aquazzura’s Edgardo Osorio, handbags by Sara Battaglia and jewelry by Daniela Villegas.