A couple days ago in Milan, Maximilian Davis showed his second collection for the Florentine fashion house, Salvatore Ferragamo, as its new head designer. Thank god, this young and exciting designer took it upon himself to pay homage to the iconic past of the brand, digging back into the archives and nodding to Ferragamo’s iconic moments with 1950s stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. Such glamour and femininity set the mood. 

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“With Ferragamo there is so much in the heritage, that I felt we really need to work to present it to the younger generation that we want to bring into the brand,” Davis said backstage.

Davis’ vision for the brand is one that is inclusive and universal. He merges 1950s glamour with modernism, best seen in his transparent stiletto heel which sees perplex meet 50s style. Davis envisages dressing both mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, with his clean lines and spare, direct point of view. 

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The beautiful marriage of old Hollywood and future Hollywood is also brilliantly summed up in the Ferragamo press release which was sent out following the show—with the ‘Salvatore’ notably missing from the name—the designer said this was a new beginning. “I wanted to pay tribute to Salvatore’s start by bringing in the culture of Hollywood—but new Hollywood, its ease and sensuality; its sunset and sunrise.” 

In addition to shortening the brand’s name, Davis introduced a new twisted Pantone red as a signature throughout the collection. It was inspired equally by the famous red shoes Ferragamo made for Marilyn Monroe in 1959 and the flag of Trinidad and Tobago, where Davis’s family is from. He also let things get a little bit weird: a long fringe bag dragged in the red clay runway, corrupting its white silk with red stains.

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The challenge Davis has inherited is that while ​​the brand’s accessories are recognizable (and extremely well made), the ready-to-wear lacks an established design language. Ferragamo’s customers are also more conservative, and older, and don’t really care about or likely even know how to define the word “hype.” Therefore his expressed interest in updating old school glamour seems like a strategy to make a red carpet splash.

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In the age of social media, hype feels necessary, especially if you want a brand like Ferragamo to appeal to a younger generation that learns most of its news via 15-second video clips. And Davis already knows how to create excitement – he is 27 years old after all. After a much discussed fashion week debut in 2020 at Fashion East, the British fashion incubator that launched brands like Simone Rocha and Johnathan Anderson, Maximilian Davis was becoming both a name and brand to watch. After his eponymous line was worn by Rihanna, Dua Lipa, and Bella Hadid, the designer went on to compete in the LVMH Prize semifinals, only to drop out to take the top job at Ferragamo. (He has shuttered his own brand to focus on Ferragamo.)

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