There was news aplenty at Ferragamo. With the fall show, Paul Andrew made his debut as creative director of women’s ready-to-wear, a promotion the British-American shoe designer received last October after a year of overseeing the women’s footwear collections at Ferragamo. It was also the first coed runway production for the brand, in which Andrew and men’s creative director Guillaume Meilland’s work were integrated. It was meant to be a fresh day for the house, with two young designers injecting the brand with the energy and momentum it deserves.
Yet as the models came out clad in updates on bourgeois staples — foulard dresses, extralong canvas capes, jodhpurs and leather jackets, plus awkward, square ostrich-skin boots on their feet — it was difficult to shake the sense that Ferragamo still has at least one foot lodged in the musty fog of Italian leather goods heritage. It is one of several houses searching for harmony between its burnished calfskin and brass-buckled history, and modern fashion.
To do so, Andrew and Meilland, who appeared to coordinate their visions, would do well to lighten up. The collection’s palette of khaki, navy, burgundy, orange and a pop or two of blue was classic, but building the looks out of tonal monochromes made it a tad drab. Some of Andrew’s long, drapey proportions swamped the girls in excess fabric and hemlines that hid the shoes. On that subject, knee-high leather boots with signature hardware at the top, and square gold heels were a fine twist on tony tradition, but the shearling green styles were just mossy. The brightest points of the lineup were the scarf-lined coats for women, and men’s coats layered over quilted pieces. Hopefully the designers will have more spring in their step next season.