Soft Pragmatism. Salvatore Ferragamo SS21

As I wrote earlier this week, it’s really all about pragmatism versus escapism this season. Designers seem not to even look for a balance between the two – they are either this or that, period. And in Milan, we see this division the most clearly. During lockdown, with time on his hands and having exhausted all of Netflix, Salvatore Ferragamo‘s Paul Andrew went on an Alfred Hitchcock binge. The Birds, Marnie, and Vertigo were at the top of his best-of list; he found out that the same obsession was also shared by director Luca Guadagnino, who in his film Io Sono l’Amore apparently referenced a lot of Hitchcock – the gestures, the lighting, the poses; a certain high-class look of enigmatic sophistication. Andrew wasn’t sure at that lockdown time if and when he would be able to stage a real show, so he decided to go for a short movie instead. Asking Guadagnino (I adore him!) to work together on a project for the spring collection was just in the cards – and a thrilling opportunity. The film, shot in an eerily empty and utterly Hitchcockian Milan at the beginning of August, opened Salvatore Ferragamo fashion show, which was staged in the open air in the hectagonal colonnaded courtyard of the late Baroque period Rotonda della Besana. Backstage before the show, Paloma Elsesser was looking intently at one of Andrew’s moodboards, wearing an hourglass black leather number that could’ve come straight out of Kim Novak’s wardrobe in Vertigo. The dress signaled a more sensualist, high-gloss direction for the designer; he tried his hand on less oversized proportions, favoring instead a shapely, more feminine, form-fitting silhouette. The color palette, inspired by the chromatic quality of Technicolor, also added a hint of sensual vibrancy, and visual punch. “That’s my favorite, Tippi Hedren’s green,” he said, pointing out a neat little tailleur with a waisted jacket in eau de nil; it would’ve actually looked slightly bourgeois, if not for the off-kilter intervention of a fluid sarouel, replacing the more conventional pencil skirt. While sticking to the refined linearity he has envisioned for Ferragamo, Andrew punctuated this collection with impactful highlights – think a seersucker checkered fabric with a tactile finish; thick knitted and knotted pieces with an artsy flair; quivering feathers sparsely scattered on straight cotton pants or on a pinafore. The co-ed collection was edited down by Andrew to just 30 looks, which was surely beneficial to conveying a convincing rhythm and a focused message. “Less but better, it’s our way forward,” he said. “I’m really into it.” The Andrew/Guadagnino connection also proved a winning creative combination, to be hopefully continued in the future. “Lockdown has been dark, surreal, and mysterious, like a Hitchcock movie,” chimed Andrew. “But strangely, like in a Hitchcock movie, the ending is always somehow beautiful. I’m trying to celebrate the beauty that is going to come out of it.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Look – Salvatore Ferragamo Resort 2020

In these very uncertain times, it’s worth trying to slow down and relax… and who wouldn’t love to stay home while wearing this gorgeous, over-sized jumpsuit from Salvatore Ferragamo‘s resort 2020 collection? In keeping with the elegant, streamlined approach Paul Andrew has introduced at Ferragamo – he calls it “sartorialism with a casual edge” – the designer as well emphasizes a workwear-inspired silhouette. Perfect for home meditating, lazy yoga or even reading a book on the balcony, no?

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Neo Archetypes. Salvatore Ferragamo AW20

The only thing I disliked about Salvatore Ferragamo’s autumn-winter 2020 for men was the ‘millenials’ talk – isn’t using this marketing term slightly outdated? Still, Paul Andrew’s collection was really good. The peculiar way young guys address masculine archetypes was apparently revealing for him. “Millennials break down archetypal references, mixing them into new categories that defy categorization,” Andrew said. He identified six different alpha-male paradigms of masculinity: the businessman, sailor, surfer, race car driver, soldier and biker. These served as canvas to create new masculine style species, mixed together into a freeform hybrid. “Once upon a time, men identified more clearly with these categories,” said Andrew. “If a surfer wanted to go to Wall Street, he surely didn’t know what to wear. Today you might be easily wearing surfer-style pants with a tailored jacket.” Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Still, he has a point. If you sum up a sailor & businessman archetype, what do you get? Answer: A perfectly tailored peacoat in the finest herringbone Scottish tweed. If you’d like to add a bit of your inner 1980s California surfer to the mix, you’ll wear a matching pair of oversized shorts over the trousers of an impeccably tailored pinstriped suit, a three-piece extravaganza fit for a new breed of businessman & ocean man. Or else, the soldier & surfer combo could result in a daring twist on the camouflage pattern, inspired by a Hawaiian shirt and reworked in military colors. Probably, less words would work even better for this inventive line-up.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.