Can Paul Andrew Fix Ferragamo’s Fashion Problem? – New York Times

“Coherence” being the operative word here, and something that was notably lacking in the brand’s most recent show, which featured footwear by Mr. Andrew and clothes by Mr. Rigoni, and was generally perceived as making no sense.

What does make sense is that Mr. Andrew would come out on top, given the number of editors in the audience wearing his latest Ferragamo shoes (you could tell by the gold flower-shaped heel), and the fact that Salvatore Ferragamo himself, a shoemaker, built his brand on footwear. Also the fact that in the first six months of 2017, apparel — both men’s and women’s — was responsible for only 5.8 percent of group revenues, while footwear was responsible for 43.6 percent.

Still, the numbers indicate that Ferragamo has not, at least since the turn of the millennium, had any real identity in clothing. Beyond a certain facility with leather, there seemed to be very little ambition to define a point of view on women’s wear, or on how Ferragamo could reflect the exigencies of women’s lives. Mr. Andrew’s job will be to inject an actual signature idea (or three, or five) into the collection.

Whether he can do with skirts what he did with shoes, however, is now the question.

There is precedent: Though Mr. Andrew is the first designer to come specifically from the footwear sector in recent years, a number of recent creative directors for major brands have come from accessories: Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino, and Stuart Vevers at Coach.

Even more pointedly, back in 2004, Kering — then PPR, owner of Gucci Group — named three designers to take over at Gucci after Tom Ford left: Frida Giannini for accessories, John Ray for men’s wear and Alessandra Facchinetti for women’s wear. Within two years Ms. Giannini was the only one left (she was fired in 2014). Which suggests that, although Guillaume Meilland remains the design director for men’s wear at Ferragamo, another change could be in the offing. Those who don’t learn from history, etc.

It’s worth noting that Mr. Andrew now has a different title from Mr. Meilland, whereas previously they were separate but equal. It may sound picayune but, in big organizations, such things matter.

Neither Ferragamo nor Mr. Andrew were available for further comment. Mr. Andrew’s first full Ferragamo women’s collection will be for fall 2018, debuting in February in Milan. It will be, as they say, “a total look.” Then we’ll see.

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