MILAN – When Marilyn Monroe ordered pumps from Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1940s, she had a special request, the shoemaker’s grandson revealed. One heel was slightly higher than the other, enhancing her famed wiggle.
A new capsule collection for Salvatore Ferragamo by the luxury Colombian shoe designer Edgardo Osorio reaches back into the company archives to revisit Hollywood’s Golden era, when the young shoemaker from southern Italy built his business by making shoes for films and then winning over actors and actresses as customers to his Hollywood Boot Shop.
Ferragamo quickly became known as “shoemaker to the stars,” pioneering the powerful link between fashion and the booming film industry.
Those customers included Judy Garland, Mae West and Monroe, said Ferragamo’s grandson James, the brand’s accessory product director. He said Monroe bought the iconic pumps in the 1940s from a shop on Madison Avenue in New York City for $45 a pair, and has the receipt to prove it.
“The Marilyn Monroe walk required a modification to have that wiggle effect,” Ferragamo said, saying one heel was several millimeters higher than the other.
For the capsule collection released in time for the holiday season, Osorio, who started designing shoes at Ferragamo before launching his own Florence-based brand Aquazzura, created a contemporary Marilyn-inspired pump with sheer netted panels for a sexy reveal. He also referenced the famed 1938 Judy Garland “Rainbow” wedge with a steep stiletto heel and a feathery winged rainbow accent on the ankles.
“It is not literal at all,” said Massimiliano Giornetti, Ferragamo’s creative director. “At the same time, it has the same spirit and the same approach that Salvatore Ferragamo had for developing the wedge for Judy Garland.”
The collection was launched as part of the luxury brand’s 100-year anniversary celebration of Ferragamo’s connection with Hollywood and is meant to be the first of a series of capsule collections in other areas across the group from jewelry to women’s handbags and perhaps menswear, tapping young talent and encouraging experimentation.
While Salvatore Ferragamo imported to Hollywood some of southern Italy’s joyful colours and free spirit, Giornetti said Osorio’s collection aims to offer looks for women in different moments of the day, from ballet flats with the Ferragamo bow to gladiator sandals and glamorous booties.
The looks are sexy, with stiletto heels and straps that wrap up the calf, but are also meant to be comfortable, featuring lightweight materials like cork, and recalling some of Ferragamo’s most recognized style points, from stylized bows to polka dots.
“Edgardo shares with me and the Ferragamo family not only the same esthetic principals, but also the same sort of lifestyle that is so important to Ferragamo’s very dynamic consumer, who is always looking for quality, beautiful Italian craftsmanship and I will also add, an ironic twist,” Giornetti said.