CASADEI

Casadei is an Italian luxury brand that designs and manufactures stylish footwear including pumps, sandals, platforms, sneakers, boots and accessories.

Index

  1. The Origin: Quinto and Flora Casadei
  2. First Platform Shoe
  3. The Famous Casadei Pump
  4. Second Generation
  5. Brand Expansion
  6. 50th Anniversary
  7. Current Situation

The Origin: Quinto and Flora Casadei

Casadei is an Italian shoe factory that was established in S. Mauro Pascoli, Forlì Italy at the end of the 1950s as an artisanal workshop with particularly skilled production. The brand journey as the global footwear leader is anything but ordinary. If you see their success trajectory from an aerial overview, you’ll find that their growth arc is streaked with design excellence and entrepreneurial gut.

The label’s quest for age defying and bold designs began in the year 1958. Quinto and Flora Casadei are the protagonists of Casadei’s spirited tale of two cordwainers who made footwear for the inbound tourists in the eastern Italian coastline. Together, they built the legacy of their humble shoe label in a workshop of two. Tucked away in San Mauro Pascoli in Forli, the provincial town of Romagna Rivera, the Casadei pair brought in the beginning of a new art form of shoe-making, in a region primarily known for agriculture and renaissance frescos.

Casadei Fall/Winter 1963 Campaign
Casadei Fall/Winter 1963 Campaign

The 1960s saw the development of a more formal business structure, the beginning of exports to Europe, the U.S. and the Far East, and the start of a full-fledged line dedicated to evening wear and a Collection of bags. By the late sixties, the whispers of Casadei’s detailed luxury spread beyond the Italian frontiers. After dressing feet of strangers on vacation with their exotic offerings, the family-run business expanded in terms of production scale and international presence. The company gained structure and channelled its focus on catering exports to larger sections of European market as well as the United States of America.

First Platform Shoe

They elevated a level above from their initial line of sandals and launched the first series of platform shoes, a popular and trendy choice in the eccentric decade of the ‘60s. Early seventies allowed the two shoemakers to shift their base from the homely workshop to an industrial facility. This change triggered the journey of a new kind of shoe-speech.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Casadei Shoes Fall 1971 Campaign
Casadei Shoes Fall 1971 Campaign

Taking the platforms as their prototype, they experimented with the idea of lace-up and slip-on generation of platforms. Further, they added a dose of bravery in design by creating a line of platforms covered with fabrics sporting delicate embroidery. Later, they switched gears to introduce an era of leather pumps balanced on low flared heels.

By the end of the seventies, their instinctual understanding of versatility and utility kicked in with the earliest version of Casadei boots that can be zipped down from thigh-high, to knee-high and finally to short booties. With a new prototype in market to be tried on, they also expanded their presence in Asian market. By 1977 they were now open for business in the Japanese market.

The Famous Casadei Pump

Casadei pumps from the 80s
Casadei pumps from the 80s

In the early eighties, the label expanded its operation to the Middle East. After the roaring feat in the feet fantasy expedition with their boots and platform shoes, Casadei turned to the category of pumps. Their rendition of pumps saw an imaginative exploration with polka dots and velour tulle, finished with high conical leather heels dipped in golden hue.

In a matter of no time, the pumps secured a spot in their hall of fame, and till date is considered an iconic product by the label. Designed to adapt the graceful curves of the feminine feet, the label continues to dabble with different fabrics, finishes and embroideries to create newer identities with passage of time. Towards the end of the eighties, the label was quick to adapt to the sportswear trend by building a dictionary of hybrid sneakers and football boots with heels.

Second Generation

Cesare Casadei Portrait in Office
Cesare Casadei Portrait in Office

Like most family-run operations, every company witnesses the arrival of a new protagonist in the story. For Casadei it was appointment of Quinto and Flora’s son, Cesare Casadei, as the next creative director of the business. Cesare took office in 1994 to continue Casadei’s ongoing journey. Cesare’s first-hand experience in production amplified the promotion of their ‘Made In Italy’ brand image at an international level. Cesare’s arrival also marked the beginning of unisex styles. Subsequently, he also signed off the manufacturing of casual footwear, each spectacular in their own regard.

Spring/Summer 1995 Campaign. Photographed by: Nick Knight
Spring/Summer 1995 Campaign. Photographed by: Nick Knight

In early 2000s, the label made a decision to relocate its Milanese showroom to Via dell’Annunciata, that was eventually remodelled to become the Milan headquarter for the company. At this time, the brand became a favourite amongst a growing mass of celebrities. Hollywood’s A-listers were photographed wearing Casadei iconic creations, making the label become a significant name to be reckon with in the fashion circuit. Casadei also became a popular choice for various fashion publications when globally recognised photography talents shot the brand’s advertising campaigns.

Brand Expansion

Casadei Flagship Store London
Casadei Flagship Store London

In October 2002 the company, which employs 200 people, opened a new single-brand shop in the heart of London, at no. 12 Beauchamp Place, in the Knightsbridge section. In the firm’s worldwide activity, Italy is the second market after the U.S., and has 400 points-of-sale, 4 of which are single-brand shops (Milan, Florence, Rimini, and Ferrara). With Germany, it is the most important in Europe. Two more boutiques are opened in Russia, in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The company’s choices for expansion are supported by the excellent turnover, which in 2001 reached €32,604 million, an increase of 14.82% in comparison to the previous year.

The Federation Of Italian Footwear in 2004 launched a limited edition of postage stamps to celebrate and commemorate the legacy of Casadei. This very move reflected a mark of respect for an Italian label that represents the ideology of fashion forward footwear.

50th Anniversary

Casadei turned 50 in the year 2008. To commemorate the brand’s half a century worth of eye-catching designs and artisanal glory, photographer Ellen Von Unwerth was called on board. The result culminated itself in a grand book featuring Casadei’s footwear through the years, followed by an exhibition at Milan’s La Triennale. Together, they encompassed the celebratory tones of the brand’s golden jubilee.

50th Anniversary Party Exhibition. Photographs Featured By: Ellen Von Unwerth
50th Anniversary Party Exhibition. Photographs Featured By: Ellen Von Unwerth

With every progressing year the label opened its door to a new territory. The beginning of 2010s sees Casadei launching into a full throttle mode in the landscape of brand expansion, with the opening of boutiques in Rome, Cannes, Dubai, Casablanca and finally in New York. Apart from expansion, the year 2010 itself marked the momentous presentation of Casadei heels and shoes during the Milan Fashion Week.

After conquering the brick and mortar setups, the label discovered the digital world with the launch of their website in 2012, followed by the arrival of their e-commerce boutique in 2013.  Later in 2015, Cesare Casadei and Architect Marco Costanzi gave Milan its first footwear concept store, followed by the unveiling of a new boutique in the exclusive Albemarle Street, Mayfair London. In the same year, the company re-launches its online shopping portal, a step taken in the direction of establishing new aesthetics and vision.

Current Situation

Casadei Famous Blade Stiletto Campaign 2016
The Famous Blade Stiletto Campaign 2015

Casadei kickstarted 2017 with the Super Bowl game in United States of America. Lady Gaga, who was chosen to deliver the prestigious half-time performance was spotted in the famous Casadei blade stilettos during the pre-game show. Also, Victoria Beckham is frequently seen wearing the Blade Stiletto, a favorite of celebrities because its claimed to be the comfiest of all brands.

Till date, Casadei continues to be a story of an entrepreneurial swiftness and smartness, one that is hallmarked by expert craftsmanship and well sought-out innovation. It is a testimony of Italian heritage and vision, all summed up with gracious use of vibrant colours, blended with artisanal values.

FRATELLI ROSSETTI

In 1953, Renzo Rossetti, along with his brother Renato, opened their first shoe factory in Parabiago, which later developed into their brand known as Fratelli Rossetti.

Index

  1. The Origin: Renzo & Renato Rossetti
  2. Signature Moccasin Brera
  3. the Flexa Shoe
  4. The Fratelli Rossetti Family
    1. Renzo Rossetti Museum
  5. Brand Development
  6. Current Situation

The Origin: Renzo & Renato Rossetti

In 1953, Renzo Rossetti, along with his brother Renato, opened their first shoe factory in Parabiago, which later developed into their brand known as Fratelli Rossetti. Then, the company was officially established in 1955 by the Rossetti brothers, who were born in Sanguinetto, near Verona. The brothers first created sport shoes then moved on to formal shoes.

Fratelli Rossetti Founder Renzo Rossetti
Founder Renzo Rossetti

Renzo began working at the age of 13, and was a typographer, mechanical draftsman, and artisanal producer of shoes for cyclists. Success came through the artisanal perfection. Renzo exclaims,

“We have always worked as if we had to personally answer to the customer for every pair of shoes we sell him.”

This includes innovation applied to a classic style. In the book I Mass-Moda. Fatti e Personaggi dell’Italian Look (Spinelli Publishers, 1979), Adriana Mulassano says “Men, poor things, as to shoes, were really in a bad way.” The market wouldn’t offer anything other than laced shoes with fringes and ‘derbies,’ in black or brown calfskin. There were no new seasonal styles and no imagination. And so they started: the banning of laces, the promotion of loafers, the launch of the first very soft unlined shoes to be worn in summer without socks, the marketing of boots, higher heels, and the introduction of colors through an ageing process that would make them more acceptable.

Signature Moccasin Brera

Fratelli Rossetti Iconic Brera Shoes
Iconic Brera Moccasin

In 1961, their signature moccasin, Brera, was created. Success was such that in 1966 the Rossetti brothers were forced to expand and build a very modern production plant.

In the 70’S, Fratelli Rossetti, collaborated with the much celebrated Italian designers like Valentino, Armani, and Pierre Cardin, combining creativity and production results.

The first women’s line was created in 1973. Single-brand boutiques followed one after another in Genoa, Venice, Milan (at via Matteotti-via Montenapoleone), Bari, Rome, Paris, and Chicago. Diego, Renzo’s son, joined the family business in 1978. Under his direction, Fratelli Rossetti was the first Italian fashion label to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. Today he is company Chairman.

Dario began working in the style department in 1981, he attended an artistic university with courses for shoemaking. He is an art lover who collects antiques and is passionate about vintage cars and searching for inspiration for new creations to add to the collections. In the Nineties, Luca graduated from Milan’s Bocconi University, and was already involved in the management side of the business. At this time, all three brothers were involved in the business.

The Flexa Shoe

They recently created the Flexa shoe, a 18 piece hand-assembled which adjust to the foot’s movement thanks to unusual flexibility and a removable foot-strap.

The historic shoe factory in Parabiago, near Milan manufactures more than 400,000 pairs of shoes a year, with a turnover that in the late 1990s was about 70 billion liras. Some 50% of the production is sold in Italy and the rest is exported. Each year about 10% goes to the U.S., where the company has been active for more than twenty years and where, in June 1999, it opened a large showroom on Madison Avenue in New York.

Fratelli Rossetti Flexa Shoes
Flexa Shoes

In May 2002 the Flexa Sailing model is created at the explicit request of Mascalzone Latino (Latin Scoundrel), the Italian boat competing in the America’s Cup. It has all the characteristics requested by the team members. The first prototypes are tested by the crew during training at Elba and in Auckland. The model goes on sale in July 2002 in two versions: the Flexa Sailing Professional, with the same technical standards as the shoe worn by the crew in the America’s Cup, and Flexa Sailing, less high-tech, for fans of sailing in general. The shoe is available in red and blue, the colors of Mascalzone Latino, and in a sand color.

Later, in November shoes, ankle boots, and desert boots are created in the brightest colors: red, green, and yellow; flats and heels, are created for singing and dancing. In the same style as the costumes by Elisa Savi, these shoes have been designed by the Rossetti brothers for the American musical Fiddler on the Roof, which received three Oscars in its film version and had more than 3,000 performances on Broadway in New York, London, and in Japan.

The Fratelli Rossetti Family

By 2003 the company employs 260 workers, and is one of the most important in the field regarding turnover, number of employees, and international image. The entire ownership is still in the hands of the Rossetti family. The president of the group is Renzo Rossetti, who sets long-term strategy. His three sons have other operating functions: Diego, 46, in the company for more than twenty years, is the marketing and commercial director and coordinates all the communication activities in Italy and abroad; Dario, 44, in the company for more than ten years, follows coordination, planning, modeling, and purchases; Luca, 37, a graduate of the Bocconi University in Milan, is the general manager.

The Fratelli Rossetti Brothers
The Rossetti Brothers

February 2003 Fratelli Rossetti opens its first outlet space in Foxtown, a large multi-brand store in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The strategy chosen by Fratelli Rossetti at the beginning has not changed over the years and can be summed up in a concept that is still extremely effective even today: maximum harmony between technology and tradition, maximum equilibrium between quality and price. At this time in Italy, there are 13 boutiques. Abroad, the company’s main locations are in New York, Paris, London, Brussels, and Hong Kong.

Renzo Rossetti Museum

"One Collection" From Fratelli Museum
“One Collection” From Fratelli Museum

Renzo Rossetti opens his own museum with A rich collection of ethnic and shoes accumulated over a period of 50 years in Parabiago. He began the collection at an early age, before World War II, and very much desired to see it have its own space. The museum can be visited by appointment. It has 3,000 pairs of shoes that are perfectly maintained.

Brand Development

In 2005 after the opening of a third boutique in Paris, on Rue de Grenelle, comes the début of a new franchise store in Dubai. The company has a turnover of €55 million in 2004.

In 2004 and 2008, they opened a franchise store in Dubai and one store in Hong Kong. As China started being the new luxury market, 2010 saw the brand opening its stores in China.  

2011 Rossetti collaborated with the Californian Designer George Esquivel, combining the quality of the brand with the innovative colour matches, for their Spring/Summer collection. The same year itself, a virtual store was launched for online sales. In 2012,  the brand teamed up with NBC Sports for Super Bowl, providing commentators covering the football event with footwear.

Fratelli Rossetti "Made to Measure"Fratelli Rossetti “Made to Measure”

In the same year itself, they launched ‘made to measure’ service. Fratelli Rossetti launched a limited  edition collection for the online platform shoescribe. The ‘Toledo Experience’ was a live show to the audience showcasing the famous hand-colouring technique, happened at the Montenapoleone in Milan in 2013. To strengthen the brand’s presence in Far East, a 100 square meter store in Taiwan was opened, in the Mall of Taipei in the same year.

Current Situation

Fratelli Rossetti 2017 Campaign
Fratelli Rossetti 2017 Campaign

In 2015, the brand proposed ‘A tribute to Brera’ their iconic moccasin. The same year  the brand introduced Dandy, the derby in mirror versions. Also, #sexyinflats was a project done, dedicated to women who can feel sexy even without their heels on.  The year was closed with a turnover of €72 million year, which was 4% higher than the previous year, showing the brand has the correct direction for growth.

Fratelli Rossetti, has an aim for 2018, which is to expand itself by opening 11 stores in China. With a wide presence, the brand has expanded while retaining its values and at the same time catering to the changing demands of the fashion and the consumer.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960). Famous Italian shoemaker with 20,000 models and 350 patents. He created multiple iconic luxury women’s shoes. Also known as “Shoemaker of the Stars.”

Index

  1. The Life of Salvatore Ferragamo
    1. Young Talent
    2. Immigration to the U.S.
    3. Shoemaker of the Stars
    4. Return to Italy
    5. The Wedge Shoe
    6. Salvatore Ferragamo’s Death
  2. Brand Expansion From 1970s to early 2000s
  3. World-Wide Expansion
    1. New Opening’s
    2. Acknowledgments
    3. New Creative Director
  4. World-Wide Expansion Continued
  5. Recent Years
  6. Financial Evolution
  7. Current Scenario

The Life of Salvatore Ferragamo

Young Talent

Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960). Famous Italian shoemaker. The 11th, out of 14 children, born in Bonito. A small village about 160 miles from Naples, from which emigration to America was often a necessity. At the age of 9 Salvatore, who left school in the third grade, created his first pair of shoes out of white cardboard for his sister’s first Holy Communion. From a young age he had clear ideas and wanted to become a shoemaker. Although, in southern Italy a shoemaker is one of the humblest professions, his parents, despite their poverty, were not happy with his choice.

At age 11 he was an apprentice in Luigi Festa’s workshop in Bonito, and by the age of 13 he had his own shop where he began to create women’s shoes. His workshop was located at home in a space between the front door and the kitchen, with the shop window facing a church. With five workers, of whom the oldest, was 18.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Portrait
Salvatore Ferragamo Portrait

Immigration to the U.S.

Then, in 1914, at age 16, he immigrated, via the ship Stampalia, to the United States to join his brothers who were already there. Girolamo was a tailor, Secondino a carpenter, and Alfonso ironed clothes in the tailor’s shop of the American Film Company in Santa Barbara. But in Boston, his brother-in-law Joseph Covelli, had already found him a job at the Queen Quality Shoes Company. They produced thousands of shoes a day, soles and heels in half a second, and one minute for sewing. Anyone would have been thankful for such a job, but not the young Salvatore. He had a more noble idea of the shoemaker’s profession. He couldn’t stand those machines. He exclaimed, “They made shoes that were heavy, clumsy, and squat, with a toe shaped like a potato and a leaden heel.” He left the factory, joined his brothers in Santa Barbara, and convinced them to combine their small savings and invest in a shoe repair shop. As told in his autobiography, Il calzolaio dei sogni (The Shoemaker of Dreams), Salvatore immediately understood that California, with its fast-growing film industry, would be the Promise Land.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Stampalia Ship
Stampalia Ship

It all started when the property manager at the American Film Company complained about the boots worn in the western movies. He believed, if they were easy to wear, the styling was no good, if the style was attractive, they hurt the feet of the actors. Ferragamo offered his services and produced boots for the manager. This was a success and the director Cecil B. De Mille said, “We would have won the West sooner if we had had your boots.” It was the start of Ferragamo’s career.

Shoemaker of the Stars

At this time in Hollywood 1923, the future of the “Made in Italy” movement was beginning. The biggest stars visited his boutique, including Mary Pickford. He created the original Ferragamo model for her in brown kidskin, “with two ears standing up in front.” Suddenly, stars of cinema in California, would only feel like stars if they were wearing shoes made by the “Italian shoemaker.” So, he soon became known as the “shoemaker to the stars.” He created pale lavender sandals for Jean Harlow, cork-shaped heels for Gloria Swanson, and slippers in multicolored satin for Lillian Gish. Also, loafers for both Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolf Valentino.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo First Hollywood Store
Salvatore Ferragamo First Hollywood Store

During the time of WWII there was a scarcity of materials, which fed his talents for new inventions. He used the strangest materials, including crystal, embroidery, feathers, kangaroo, antelope, sea leopard, and fish skins. This set him apart from other designers. Also, while in California he studied the anatomy of the foot and patented a system of putting thin layers of steel in the sole of the shoe in order to provide arch support. His success was due to the comfort of his shoes.

Same Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo with Sophia Loren
Salvatore Ferragamo with Sophia Loren

Return to Italy

Later, he returned to Florence, Italy in search of good artisans and opened his first workshop in 1927 with 60 workers. Then, in 1929, during the Great Depression, he faced bankruptcy. Ferragamo didn’t despair, and soon made a comeback. By 1938 he was able to acquire the Palazzo Spini Feroni on via Tornabuoni, which is today still the headquarters of the company. In that same year, he acquired the Michelangelo style villa Il Palagio in Fiesole.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo 1938 First Store in Florence
First Store in Florence 1938

The Wedge Shoe

Salvatore Ferragamos popularity continued. Maria José walked to the altar wearing his shoes. Mussolini, who suffered from corns and chilblains, wore his boots. The Maharani of Cooch Behar came and ordered 100 pair. From New York, Paris, and London came the ladies who wear Chanel and Schiaparelli. For evening sandals, he invented an upper in transparent paper. At this time, using steel for arch support was poor quality. So, he created the most iconic shoe of the century. It was an orthopedic model of a platform shoe, and people called it the wedge. It was made with a cork heel, that filled in the entire space formed by the arch of the foot. The model was a success, it sold everywhere. It marked a new era and immediately became a symbol of style at this time.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Wedge Shoe
Salvatore Ferragamo Wedge Shoe

Salvatore Ferragamo’s Death

Then, in 1940 he married Wanda Miletti, a 18-year-old girl from his hometown who was the daughter of the local doctor and mayor. She would be the mother of his six children: Fiamma (died in 1998), Ferruccio, Giovanna, Fulvia, Leonardo, and Massimo. All worked in important positions within the company after the premature death of their father in 1960. After his death, Wanda, his wife, took over the company.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Family Picture
Salvatore Ferragamo Family Picture

Salvatore left behind a company which was the symbol of the creativity and productivity in Italy. With 20,000 models and 350 patents. An infinite number of models marked different epochs, times, and fashions. Through the 50s Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland were considered the “It Girls” of Ferragamo. These women represented the beginning of the brands icon, which are still used today. The brand continues to use the “It Girl” in their brand language to communicate with the customer, and build brand image.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo and Audrey Hepburn
Salvatore Ferragamo and Audrey Hepburn

Ferragamo was famous for the creation of the wedge heel, French toe, platform heel, stage toe, the Roman sandal, the shell shaped sole, invisible nylon model, and the sculpted heel, shaped like the prow of a battleship. Also, you can’t forget the gloved arch shoe created for Maharani of Cooch Behar in 1938. Salvatore left a business that his heirs have carried forward, always remaining faithful to his professional standards and not just defending the status quo.

Brand Expansion From 1970s to early 2000s

During the 1970s, thanks to the initiative and preparation of Wanda, president of the company, the brand expanded and started offering total look collections. With fashion collections, men’s lines, perfumes, and eyeglasses, all of which gradually conquered the market. In 1978 his daughter, Fiamma, designed the Vara ballet shoe which became a best seller. Today, the Vara style ballet shoe is considered a Ferragamo iconic element.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Vara Ballet Flat
Salvatore Ferragamo Iconic Vara Ballet Flat

In July 1996, Ferragamo acquired Emanuel Ungaro, a luxury menswear line. Two years later the company turnover reached 850 billion liras, most of which came from Europe, U.S., the Far East, Africa, and Oceania. The company had 40 privately owned boutiques, plus several exclusive points-of-sale. Also, several of Salvatore’s grandchildren worked in the company. Following the birth of the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, in Palazzo Spini Feroni, the company has committed itself to art exhibits and cultural activities, not just as a sponsor or patron. In 1999 the French designer Marc Audibet creates the new Autumn-Winter 2000-2001 collection. During this time, they appointed a new creative director of the menswear line, Massimiliano Giornetti.

World-Wide Expansion

New Openings

In 2001 the company introduced its world-wide expansion plans, created by architect Michael Gabellini, to renovate, or open, a total of 100 boutiques. The renovations were to gain a more sophisticated architectural style. A new store opens in Korea, in a prestigious commercial area of Seoul. The store occupies a four-storey building with a garden-terrace on the roof. And by 2003 new stores will open in New York, Tokyo, and London. They ended 2001 with €641 million in consolidated revenues, 46% coming from the Far East.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Seoul Store Opening
Seoul Store Opening 2001

Acknowledgments

In May 2001 Leonardo Ferragamo becomes president of Altagamma, an association founded in 1992 with 43 prestigious Italian companies as members.

The year of 2002 was full of good news and satisfaction. The company was acknowledged as the best brand of the year in China, where the label sells the most product. Then, beginning in June, Ferragamo starts a joint venture with Ermenegildo Zegna for the launch of the new brand Zefer, which ended later in 2013.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Zefer Brand
Salvatore Ferragamo Zefer Brand

Later in October Wanda Ferragamo, the president of the company, is named “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” by the “Committee of 200,” an organization that each year recognizes the top women managers and entrepreneurs all over the world. The ceremony took place in New York. The citation: “For success in the transformation of a shoe factory into an international luxury concern, in which the family maintains total control of its own flourishing business…”

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Wanda Ferragamo 2002
Wanda Ferragamo 2002

New Creative Director

At this time, Graeme Black became the new creative director of womenswear. The collection for Winter 2003-2004 experiments with shapes, volumes, and combinations. It interprets with common sense colors and references inspired by the Russia of St. Petersburg. Recalling Constructivist art and a certain nostalgia for decadent opulence and taste reinterpreted in a very modern way. There were precious fabrics and ornaments, brocades, inlays with strong visual impact, and irreverent combinations such as a crocodile jacket with jeans. The accessories included cartoon-like floral and mother-of-pearl-covered platform shoes, that even would have pleased Salvatore, the founder. As well as incredible bags made of snake-skin decorated with small silver coins.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Graeme Black
Creative Director Graeme Black

World-Wide Expansion Continued

Since 2002 the worldwide expansion plan is well under way. The distribution network had 16 new points-of-sale, including the important new boutiques in Osaka, Hong Kong (Pacific Place), Tokyo (Ginza Chou Dori), Amsterdam, and the historic center of Vienna, near the Hofburg castle. Also, stores in Shanghai Center (China), Paris (Avenue Montaigne), and Milan (via Montenapoleone) are re-opened after renovations.

In May of 2003 Ferragamo’s releases its very latest sunglasses, called the Maharani. These are special because they are inspired by the celebrated jeweled-sandal created in far off 1938 for the Maharani of Cooch Behar.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Maharani Sunglasses 2003
Maharani Sunglasses 2003

The Salvatore Ferragamo group ends the year with a consolidated turnover of €549 million, a 5% increase compared to 2003. Also, sales in Japan continue to increase. With 20% of their turnover there, a new flagship is opened in the heart of one of Tokyo’s most fashionable neighborhoods.

In 2004 Wanda Ferragamo is named Knight of the Big Cross by the president of Italy. In May of 2005, as part of the Fashion Project of the Province of Florence, with attendance by a large international public, Palazzo Strozzi hosts the fashion show in a memorable evening organized by Beppe Modenese. Then, starting in June 2005, Ferragamo Finanziaria enters a long-term agreement with the Porsche Design group to foresee the production and distribution of shoes, bags, and leather accessories.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Florence Store
Salvatore Ferragamo Florence Store

In 2006 new shops in Via Condotti were opened in Rome and Frankfurt. In November of the same year, Michele Norsa became Ferragamo’s new CEO. His managerial mind led the company to expand more and more, exploring new markets such as India, Latin America and Thailand. A year later, after a new CEO, Cristina Ortiz, was appointed as creative director for the womenswear line from 2007 and stayed till 2010.

Recent Years

In 2008 Salvatore Ferragamo company celebrates their 80th anniversary with an exhibition in Shanghai. Later, in January of 2010 Massimiliano Giornetti, current chief creative director of menswear, becomes creative director for the womenswear line. So, at this time, Giornetti was holding  a lot of creative power in Ferragamo being the creative director for both women’s and menswear lines.

They officially become a part of Milan stock exchange in 2011. At this time, the growth in Europe is positively driven by wealthy Asian travelers shopping in Europe and the group’s wide retail presence in China. Profits rose around 70% to €103.3 millions.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo 80th Anniversary Shanghai
80th Anniversary Exhibition Shanghai

Through 2013 Ferragamo focused on accessories, rather than footwear. In early October, they began to target a younger generation by using an “innovative” digital campaign and revamping physical stores. Also, continuing to renovate older stores in existing markets in Europe and the U.S. to boost profitability in its retail division.

Ferragamo reported a 26% rise in gross operating profits (EBITDA) to €131 million in the first half of 2013. The revenues are outside the Italian market, which has struggled to emerge from recession, and sells a higher-margin of leather goods, apart from shoes. China is still a growing market for Ferragamo, but going through a tough time.

Financial Evolution

Their world-wide expansion plan are a success. As of 31 December 2014, the Salvatore Ferragamo Group has posted total revenues of €1.332 million and a 5.9% increase at current exchange rates. At this time, political tensions in Russia and Ukraine reduced the number of shoppers traveling from the region to Europe lead to decreasing number of sales in some cities through Europe. In terms of the Asia Pacific region, China is the best performer with 37.2% of sales.

Salvatore Ferragamo open new shops in less well-known cities Yantai in China, Surabaya in Indonesia, and Cartagena in Colombia. They continue to renovate older stores in Europe and U.S. including Miami and Rome. Also, they reopened in San Francisco, on the west coast of America which is a popular destination for holidaying Chinese shoppers.

Salvatore Ferragamo continues to meet challenges due to a weaker euro, lower oil prices, and economic weakness in China. Also, US. Economic growth in China has slowed more than expected, and the United States, as a strong dollar hits tourist flows, have weighed on several luxury goods companies in recent months. Hong Kong deteriorated further in the third quarter. By contrast, Japan has a strong performance thanks to Chinese tourists.

Asia Pacific, the biggest market, experienced a 5% decline in sales in the first nine months of 2015. Revenues were up 1.3% from a year earlier, thanks to a 2.1% increase in the fourth quarter.

In 2016 revenues total €1.438 billion. There are increasing number of travelers shopping in places like airports, leading to expanding stores in main locations such as Dubai, Helsinki and Quito. New shops were planned also in cities like Copenhagen, Berlin, and New York.

The situation in china is not yet get recovered because of the falling oil prices and global security threats affecting tourist spending. But sales grow particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, and push for e-commerce in Asia.

Current Scenario

Currently, Salvatore Ferragamo is going through major changes. In August 2016 Eraldo Poletto was appointed as CEO. Who is credited for doubling the sales at the accessibly-priced handbag maker, Furla, in the last five years. Also, 3 new creative directors have been hired after the departure of Massimiliano Giornetti. This includes Guillaume Meilland for menswear, along with Paul Andrew for Women shoes, and Fulvio Rigoni for Woman’s-Ready-to-Wear. The brand now focuses on creating unique and exciting campaigns to bring back its positioning of industry leader it  once had in the WWII era. Now, the Ferragamo “It Girl” is Lily Aldridge, and appears in their 2017 campaign.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Eraldo Poletto
New CEO Eraldo Poletto

Ferragamo’s designs will live forever. The classic ballet flat is always in style and most women’s go to shoe. The brand is known as the exemplary ideal shoe for women. It strives to be excellent in terms of quality, by keeping the production, and standard of craftsmanship, exceptional.

Same Fashion Dictionary: Salvatore Ferragamo Lily Aldridge Campaign 2017
Lily Aldridge Campaign 2017