There’s a trend in fashion now, to pluck a young emerging fashion designer and hand them the reigns of an established but staid heritage fashion house. It’s not always successful, but if there’s anyone capable of pulling it off, it’s Marco Gobbetti, the Ferragamo CEO whose past coups include reviving Givenchy with Riccardo Tisci, and Celine with Phoebe Philo. All of which is to say that when Gobbetti seeks out new talent, the fashion world sits up and takes notice. Such was the occasion in Milan yesterday afternoon, then the 27-year-old Maximilian Davis made an assured debut at Ferragamo.
It was quite the occasion. Guests walked into a sprawling, 17th-century courtyard lined with iconic columns. The entire space had been turned red—not just any red, the precise shade that will mark Davis’ tenure—from the walls to the ground, which featured hand-dyed bright red sand. Signs connoted a subtle but important shift in brand messaging: the ‘Salvatore’ of the past had been dropped in favour of a more modern singular: Ferragamo. These changes were subtle but clear: we were entering a new era for the house of Ferragamo.
As for the clothes? Davis doubled down on the brand’s heritage, albeit through a modern lens. Timeless silhouettes and established house codes, like men’s suiting, sharp tailoring, and outerwear made of sumptuous materials were all on display, in keeping with the brand’s preferred colour palette of camels, beiges, navys, whites, and reds. Suits were rendered playful and cool in buttery black leather, suit pants slashed into mini shorts (worn with brogues and knee socks—we can only hope the future of workwear is really this chic).
Elsewhere, jumpsuits were zhushed up with giant oversized pockets and drawstring detailing at the knee, sunset ombre sheer jersey shirts were tucked into sharply tailored work pants, and the brand’s signature suede was used to create beautiful high-necked day dresses, or compelling proto-90s midi skirts. Accessories were another highlight, everything from giant oversized totes (Davis has cited mid-00s Olsen Twins as a big reference), to sharp little top handle bags with cut-out details that reveal pops of ‘Ferragamo red’.
That this collection felt so fresh—Davis’ bow was greeted with hoots of applause from a front row that included Naomi Campbell and Law Roach—was no accident. Davis burst onto the scene in 2020 with his (now on hold) eponymous label, having previously assisted Grace Wales Bonner. His early adopters included Rihanna, Dua Lipa, and Kim Kardashian, who flocked to his sexy-with-a-twist aesthetic. Davis is both an exciting young talent and one of the few Black designers to helm an Italian fashion house. The occasion felt momentous, and Davis delivered.