The fashion world is in a state of flux. And nothing highlights that more than the growing importance and prominence of cruise collections. Last night Ferragamo splashed out on a runway show for its 2013 cruise line in the heart of Paris, France. The Italian brand took over the Denon wing of the Louvre making it the first fashion company to ever put on a show at the prestigious museum and invited an international audience of journalists, buyers and celebrities to the event.
“It had to be the Italians to come up with an idea like this,” said veteran French actor Alan Delon “it’s extraordinary that no French house has ever shown here.”
Well not exactly.
The access to the hallowed halls of the museum is part of a bigger partnership between the Louvre and the Ferragamo company. The brand is sponsoring the current exhibition “Saint Anne: Leonardo da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece” at the Louvre. The exhibit has proven to be a big draw for the museum and features the maestro’s final major work of art, an oil painting of the Virgin and Saint Anne, as well as a number of never before seen sketches by da Vinci and paintings from his atelier. As part of the Louvre’s collaboration with Ferragamo on this project the company was also given the green light to hold a fashion show on a 130 yard runway below the archways of the Denon colonnade.
Now about that collection.
The general rule of thumb is that a cruise (or resort) collection accounts for 60 percent of sale for a brand. It stays on store shelves much longer than the official runway collection and therefore is usually more conservative and less directional then what is shown during an official ready to wear collection. But over the past few years, with websites like WWD.com and Style.com starting to post show reviews for cruise collection presentations, there has been a growing pressure on designers to come up with resort lines that are dynamic and evocative.
And that is exactly what happened with the Ferragamo cruise show. Granted the high profile location and buzz surrounding the event probably also had something to do with how runway ready this collection looks. “It was an enormous chance for Ferragamo to explain what are really the roots of Salvatore Ferragamo: The artisanal tradition, the craftsmanship, that everything is still made in Italy,” said the designer Massimiliano Giornetti after the show. “What we have done tonight is like Italian haute couture.”
It is true that the brand’s long history working with leathers was on fine display in this collection. Slithering leather fringe that sprung out of pencil skirts, rippled across sporty sheath dresses, or was woven into intricate macramé tops looked both artisanal and luxe. So too did the designer’s play with python prints and exotic skins motifs. A particular standout being one long sleeved dress that at first glance looked like it had been cut out of crocodile but on closer inspection revealed itself to be embossed leather pieces appliquéd back onto the dress to mimic a crocodile pattern. The leather/snake skin theme of the show could have been overwhelming but the designer smartly balanced those powerful elements with a quiet color palette of blush pinks, chalky whites and sandy beiges.
The collection was without question directed at a much younger Ferragamo customer. The sexy appeal of the clothing should also woo a few Roberto Cavalli fans. And as for those Ferragamo clients who are used to a more reserved and reverential way of dress, well there are those great hobo bags to turn to and a pair of python boots (be they flat or with sturdy heels) are always a good investment.
- Jessica Michault