When these suede and velvet ankle boots with their gold lacquered heels floated on Salvatore Ferragamo’s fall 2017 runway, they created a real thrill. Yes those, those who had hardly any heels at all.
For contemporary audiences, their resonance was immediate thanks to their daring decorative silhouette; however, to the shoe historian they had a deeper meaning. They were an inspired reinterpretation of an original 1947 Salvatore Ferragamo creation as reimagined by Ferragamo’s new shoe designer, Paul Andrew.
The F heel was originally designed for a patented sandal in 1947. The legend of Ferragamo has it that the silhouette, like that of the stern of a ship, was inspired by the liner on which Salvatore had sailed to the Italy from America some 20 years earlier. The design earned him the Neiman Marcus Award for Style in Dallas – an honor equivalent to a CFDA award today.
Andrew’s version debuted in Ferragamo’s pre-fall 2017 collection. However, this was shrouded in secrecy until after the fall show. A pre-fall collection is usually a bridge to the next fall line. Discretion was essential to avoid any spoils. The second series of “Stranger Things” has nothing about it.
The 2018 Resort update, presented today in New York City, includes a tie-back slingback version.
“It’s the most incredible construction; when you wear it; it’s like walking through the air, “ said André. “The whole idea of Ferragamo was to merge amazing cutting-edge technology with craftsmanship” he continued, explaining that his own interpretation involved lacquering his heels in an auto factory and using a crimping machine to shape the leather without adding any stitching. The process has to be repeated 11 times and takes three days.
The body of the original Salvatore Ferragamo was made of transparent plastic – hence its name, the Invisible Sandal. Yes, if you thought the current shoe obsession with “nude shoes” was cutting edge, it’s probably time to think again. Mr. Ferragamo has always been one step ahead.