Massimiliano Giornetti

MILAN — Massimiliano Giornetti has been named director of Polimoda, succeeding Danilo Venturi in the role.

This marks a promotion for the fashion designer and former Salvatore Ferragamo creative director, as Giornetti had headed the school’s fashion design department since 2019. At the time he was tasked with defining a creative angle to allow Polimoda to stand out among international fashion schools, to identify the guidelines for the fashion design course’s final show and to boost the accessories, footwear and knitwear divisions, in addition to selecting new teachers for his department.

“In a lot of ways, my vision for the school begins with the very etymology of the word ‘Poli-moda,’ but we’re also at the inception of a new era,” Giornetti said in his new role as director. “This is a genuine community that is capable and willing of navigating human relationships. The time has come to listen, reflect and speak. I would like us to have authentic dialogues so we can build up the talent and facets of each of our students. My aim is to create a cultural bridge between Polimoda, the city of Florence and the internationality that the school has always exemplified. Our institution is a space within a space, evoking a reflexive dimension that flows between fashion, anthropology, economy and art. We’re devoted to creativity.”

“Polimoda is ready to face the challenges of this very special and historical moment by starting from its fundamental values,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, who is president of Polimoda in addition to being chairman of Salvatore Ferragamo. “This new journey begins right here in Florence with the city’s artisanal, entrepreneurial and artistic resources. We will always aim for a multicultural dimension, honoring creativity and innovation while also paying special attention to sustainability. For this reason, one of the goals is to reiterate the international vocation of the school despite the vast landscape of uncertainties linked to the pandemic. We’re not going to step back. We will also continue working on the development of our connections with the business world and fashion brands that are increasingly part of the school’s daily life.”

A Polimoda alumnus, Giornetti worked for 16 years at Salvatore Ferragamo, a firm he joined in 2000 to head up the design and development of its men’s wear. In 2009, his tasks expanded to also include the design of women’s collections and the following year he was promoted to oversee the creative development of all categories of the luxury brand, which he eventually exited in 2016.

In 2017, Giornetti took the design reins at Shanghai Tang as the premium Chinese brand underwent a revamp after Compagnie Financière Richemont sold the company to Italian textiles businessman Alessandro Bastagli and venture capital firm Cassia Investments. He exited the label at the end of 2018.

Polimoda counts 1,700 students enrolled in its undergraduate programs, masters and short courses. In October, the school put out a call for applications as part of a 2 million euro scholarship plan intended to help families and support the recovery of the fashion sector during the COVID-19 emergency. In particular, Polimoda offered 90 scholarships for its nine-month master programs starting in April and June this year, developed with the contribution of companies including Richemont and Gucci, among others.

Also last year, the institute teamed up with Lineapelle, the organizer of the namesake tannery trade fair, to create an educational hub dedicated to leather at the school’s Scandicci unit, a stone’s throw from Florence. Called Research Hub, the school initiative is aimed at fostering research and innovation in the leather goods manufacturing and tannery fields, spotlighting trends, designs and products. Covering a 32,291-square-foot area of laboratories, the hub intends to leverage the expertise of the fashion school’s teachers, as well as machinery and materials supplied by Lineapelle.

Previously, Polimoda sealed collaborations also with Ferragamo for its first master’s degree in shoe design; with Valentino on the master’s in bag design, and with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Institut des Métiers d’Excellence for the Leather+ program, aimed at training leathergoods artisans.

In addition to the Scandicci outpost, Polimoda operates two other campuses, at Villa Favard in the heart of Florence and at the Manifattura Tabacchi complex, a former tobacco factory dating back to the 1940s and done in a scenic Italian rationalist architecture, which the school inaugurated in 2019.