It was a slightly unlucky season for Salvatore Ferragamo to return to the runway after an 18-month absence, if only because the brand will be so much better placed for a grand re-entry to Milan Fashion Week in another six months’ time. The brand is currently undergoing a major structural transition. They’re still awaiting the arrival of their new CEO Marco Gobbetti, who will remain in his role as CEO of Burberry until the end of the year, and are currently relying on an in-house team to design womenswear collections following the exit of Paul Andrew in April. Speculation is rife as to who Gobbetti will appoint as creative director once he begins the role. Some have suggested Riccardo Tisci, who he has worked with successively at Givenchy and Burberry, but the final decision remains to be seen.
All of which is to say that Spring/Summer 2022 was always going to be one of those ‘in-between’ collections—a pre-cursor to the main event. Guillame Meilland, Ferragamo’s design director of menswear, was tasked with crafting SS22, his first womenswear outing for the brand. It’s an intimidating task for any designer—the rules of womenswear and menswear are markedly different—and so Meilland dove into the brand’s extensive archive for inspiration. He sourced one of the brand’s vintage floral prints, which was blown up and embroidered onto an oversized silk shirt, and referenced ‘70s era scarves printed with tiger stripe and poppy motifs.
Meilland also drew on the 1977 Luis Buñuel film That Obscure Object of Desire—which sees Carole Bouquet and Àngela Molina play the same role—for inspiration, citing the film’s exploration of fragmented personal identity. The clothes themselves were safe but well-crafted: soft cotton day apron dresses, structured leather coats, ribbed jersey sets. Draped evening dresses with seductive cut-outs were eye-grabbing, as was a fresh colour palette—mustards, tans, sky blues, and limoncello yellows—that felt decidedly Italian. It wasn’t a collection that presented a strong, post-Paul Andrew visual identity for Ferragamo going forward, but then it was never intended to. The arrival of Gobbetti is likely to initiate a flurry of changes, all of which we’ll be earnestly tuning into. But until then, it’s always a pleasure to see Ferragamo’s distinctive brand of easy Italian glamour up close.