The marvellous story of Salvatore Ferragamo

Exhibited in Florence, the Made in Italy romance of the world's most wonderful shoes

Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the greatest examples of success for an Italian emigrant that “made it” thanks to his commitment, style and creativity. He was born in Campania in 1898, had a short experience as a cobbler and in 1914 reunites with his brothers in America. He opens the Boot Shop in Hollywood that quickly earns him the name of the “cobbler of the stars”: his creations did in fact end up at the feet of an infinite number of stars: Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, just to name but a few…

“My father was a bit of an artist and a bit of a scientist. He took an anatomy course to study the foot. He overturned the world of shoes, he attracted the interest of great people because he did exceptional things, uniting comfort, creativity and quality together”, says Ferruccio Ferragamo, president of the company founded by his father in 1927 as soon as he returned to Italy.

90 years of age and of history that the Ferragamo Museum has decided to celebrate by choosing the theme of travel as the main thread of the exhibition that through fashion and shoes leads us into a climate of Italian art, sociology and culture of the 20s.

Maurizio Balò’s curatorship is inspired by the  motor-ship Roma that brought Salvatore Ferragamo back to Italy. It is a voyage through historic photographs and films of Florence, as it was back then, and works of art – Maccari, Martini, Thayaht, Gio Ponti, Rosai, Balla, Depero and many others – besides costumes and fabrics of the time, there are photographs and advert posters and artisanal objects to help us immerse ourselves in the visual culture and in the social atmosphere in which Salvatore Ferragamo’s mental voyage took place and in the years in which his first creations were born. Today they are still considered more than just simple shoes. They are true and proper masterpieces of the made in Italy style and design.

1927 Il ritorno in Italia

Salvatore Ferragamo e la cultura visiva del Novecento
A cura di Carlo Sisi
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Palazzo Spini Feroni, Firenze
19 maggio 2017 – 2 maggio 2018 dalle 10.00 alle 19.30

Valentina Monti

Salvatore Ferragamo, Scarpa chiusa / Closed shoe, 1925
Tomaia in camoscio con motivo a ventaglio alla scollatura e al tallone e decorazione sulla tomaia in strisce ondulate di camoscio. Riproduzione moderna da una fotografia / Suede upper with fan motif around the collar and heel, wavy stripe decoration in suede on the upper. Modern reproduction from a photograph
Firenze, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo / Foto Arrigo Coppitz

Salvatore Ferragamo prende la misura della linea mediana della cliente e del suo piede / Salvatore Ferragamo measures the midline of a customer’s body and feet, 1927 in “Gran Bazar”, 1928
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Firenze

Salvatore Ferragamo, Scarpa in due pezzi / Two-piece shoe, 1930
Tomaia in raso ricamato, merletto di Tavarnelle e capretto / Embroidered satin, Tavarnelle lace and kid upper
Firenze, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo / Foto Arrigo Coppitz

Salvatore Ferragamo, Sandalo / Sandal, 1930
Tomaia in raso e capretto, tacco in ottone con laccio alla caviglia in cordoncino di passamaneria in seta. Il modello è appartenuto alla Contessa Alessandra della Gherardesca Spalletti / Satin and kid upper, gilded brass heel with ankle strap in silk passementerie cord. The model belonged to Countess Alessandra della Gherardesca Spalletti
Firenze, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo / Foto Arrigo Coppitz

Salvatore Ferragamo, Scarpa chiusa “Autumn” / “Autumn” closed shoe, 1926
Tomaia in tessuto di lino pitturato a mano a motivo vegetale. Riproduzione moderna da una fotografia / Upper in hand-painted linen with a plant motif. Modern reproduction from a photograph. Firenze, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo / Foto Arrigo Coppitz