Paul Andrew, the newly mounted innovative director of Salvatore Ferragamo, got here out swinging. “Men’s style nowadays, I assume it’s in a surely atrocious kingdom, pretty frankly,” he stated. “You move into any so-referred to as luxurious style house, and menswear is predominantly about hoodies and sweatpants and tank tops and T-shirts with logos all over them. There’s no difference between that and what the high-road brands are doing. I don’t actually find that luxurious.” Shots fired.
We have been within the Florence Chamber of Commerce constructing, which turned into mercifully air-conditioned—out of doors, oppressive Tuscan humidity had descended upon the whole day of Pitti Uomo. But the warmth, because it has been, became on: It becomes approximately seven hours from Andrew’s first menswear show as innovative director, and he becomes deliberating model Kiki Willems as she walked throughout the marble ground in a couple of white cutout ankle boots and an identical embroidered lace get dressed. (Andrew, who turned into promoted from head of women’s geared up-to-wear and shoes six months in the past, couldn’t withstand sprinkling some women’s seems into the display.) His imaginative and prescient of what real luxury is beginning right here.
Andrew didn’t say who these “luxurious” competitors are, but it’s clear who he’s talking about: the Guccis and Balenciaga of the world, whose sales have skyrocketed under designers who haven’t been afraid to pour jet fuel on their respective homes’ codes—which means, yes, they have designed some closely branded hoodies. “My approach to men’s fashion is very special,” Andrew stated, gesturing on the version board, wherein there’s now not a couple of jeans or sweats to be located many of the Talented Mr. Ripley-esque palettes. There’s a T-shirt—and it’s made of Napa leather. The faces on the board skew older than we’ve come to expect, too, Willems notwithstanding. Legendary art director Peter Saville (he of Joy Division’s cover art and worldwide fashion houses’ new logos) became set for his runway debut, as was Michi Berger-Sandhofer, a deputy chairman at Sotheby’s and buddy of Andrew’s.
Andrew’s mandate as innovative director isn’t simply to modernize the prevailing Ferragamo client—it’s to bring in a brand new technology. You know, the one that’s copping hoodies like there’s a cotton scarcity. But communicate is simply talk. So later that night, within the Piazza della Signoria (you realize, the square in Florence), Andrew virtually got here out swinging: The establishing appearance featured that Napa tee with a creamy pair of workwear-inspired belted cargo pants in a tailoring wool-cotton material. “Once you’ve worn the ones form of sport-stimulated clothes, it’s tough to go lower back to tailored, geared up garments, and I do not always see that coming returned in a robust manner,” Andrew had cited before the display (whilst wearing, I can also upload, beat-up black Carhartts).
Workwear, he says, is a way to attain that younger era—a strategy that felt even more promising while the ones pants emerged at the runway. They looked of a nice so that it will more than justify the unavoidably high charge tag—and, more importantly, with an handy slouch, they appeared absolutely cool. It’s now not definitely workwear, however it’s not what you think of while you assume “Ferragamo trouser,” either. Plus, the version was carrying considered one of a chain of shades paying homage to Oakley blades. The setting was a nod to Ferragamo’s Florentine history (it’s miles the first time—and final, apparently—a emblem has been able to maintain a display in the Piazza della Signoria), but the sun shades have been a sign that Andrew is asking ahead.
There changed into additionally a tanned leather vest this is all but destined for Dev Hynes’s cloth wardrobe, and a series of tight quick-sleeve ribbed knits you could consider seeing on a skater with a modeling settlement. Speaking of which, It-guy Evan Mock (the red-haired skater and version) became sitting within the the front row subsequent to Ferragamo fan Cole Sprouse, carrying the brand new Ferragamo knit tank. That the ones men will land up sporting these garments is already a small victory. In the beyond, Ferragamo’s menswear runway seems didn’t generally tend to make it to production. Another part of Andrew’s mandate, he says, is to “carry that fashion into the stores, in order that a greater style-ahead customer can come in and in reality discover matters” that they’re seeing on the runway, in magazines, and on licensed cool youngsters like Mock.
One piece that turned into drastically absent from Andrew’s Ferragamo runway? The iconic bit loafer. Andrew landed his authentic Ferragamo activity at the fulfillment of his award-prevailing eponymous shoes emblem, and he espouses a philosophy of “toe-to-head dressing.” At the display, the energy of the garments nearly obscured the reality that he’s completely overhauling Ferragamo’s men’s footwear program. There will nonetheless be your father’s favorite loafers, of course. But Andrew wanted to exhibit a emblem-new silhouette: a hybridized sneaker featuring a conventional bench-made top and a thick vulcanized trainer sole. Though Salvatore Ferragamo may not realize what to make of it, Andrew says the sneaker is a nod to the emblem founder’s appreciation of technology: “If you study the footwear he made inside the ’20s and ’30s now, you’d suppose they were from the ’60s and ’70s. He changed into ahead of the game with the aid of the use of latest generation from that point, however usually the best Italian craftsmanship and materials. So it’s got this excessive-tech, high-craft approach, which is honestly the philosophy right here these days.”
There are definitely folks who would really like to look Andrew juice Ferragamo income—which fell 14 percent in 2018—as quick as viable. Would he be able to accomplish that through adopting a high-street method? Maybe. But at the same time as Andrew isn’t looking to tear down Ferragamo’s Florentine walls, neither is he a designer entirely interested in his uncompromising imaginative and prescient, profits be damned. His work inside the womenswear branch, he says, has already brought about expanded income.
But possibly the riskiest circulate of his grand debut made Andrew’s priorities as creative director clear: Ferragamo’s iconic “Gancini” symbol became hard to spot. Those belts with the honking Ferragamo symbol? See ya. Andrew’s brief-term intention for menswear, he says, is to outline a clear aesthetic imaginative and prescient, so that when you see the collection—emblem or not—you understand that it’s Ferragamo. “That takes time,” he recognizes. “It doesn’t appear overnight.” With Tuesday night time’s display at Pitti Uomo, it’s game on.