“IT’S HOW Ferragamo started, making shoes for films in the 1930s” explains Maximilian Davis on his autumn-winter 2023 collection, aptly titled Cinema. Returning to Hollywood for his sophomore collection for the Italian brand, the British designer took inspiration from the wardrobe of those sparkling on the silver screen during the 50s, combining hyper-femininity with era disrupting silhouettes.
“I was interested in using their glamour and beauty, and their way of dressing, as a reference,” explains Davis, referencing the relationship Salvatore Ferragamo had with actresses like Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe. “But looking at how we could make it feel modern for today”.
Mid-century silhouettes bounced between graphic imagery, as ball skirts were in optic white nylon, cocoon cuts echoed fifties couture but were paired with technical cropped bombers and double faced tailoring was explored in a plethora of ways, shrinking, nipping and updating the classics.
While it may have all been about red-carpet wear for most of the collection, slashes came in to disturb the pretty sensibility. Sharply sliced suits mirrored the same disturbance as leatherwear, and zips became a design addition that allowed for the House’s bright signature red to peak through adding some sex appeal to AW23.
As this was a collection that reinstated some of the past, Davis didn’t shy away from reviving some of Ferragamo’s forgotten looks. The handbag silhouette that debuted in SS98 is reworked with new hardwear becoming an instant must-have from the brand, and the favoured archival shoe from 1956, that was originally conceived from 18 carat gold, makes a return through inspiring the angular shape of the kick-heel stiletto that now has a rope around the ankle.
However, most notable from the trip to the archive is the famed Ferragamo code – the scarf dressing. “I wanted to introduce the more romantic side of the fifties, and the two elements appear to contrast so directly – the ethereality against the rigour – that they somehow go hand-in-hand”, said the designer. Languid elegance was seen in the bat-wing sleeves and Renaissance-inspired draping that is given a more modern touch as they are components to shimmering lamé mini-dresses and patent leather tops.
And while many may see Davis as a new boy on the block with big shoes to fill, it seems his return to the very roots of Ferragamo are proving to be a convincing way of proving his and the brand’s future legacy. If there is one thing to take away from AW23 is that Davis is making red the colour to own.
by Imogen Clark