ongoing Artsupp card Salvatore Ferragamo 1898 - 1960

The show

One hundred years have passed since Salvatore Ferragamo, in 1923, opened the first store in Hollywood, in front of Grauman's Egyptian Theater, confirming the success achieved in the United States, where he had emigrated in 1915: in fact, theatrical shows were organized in the large cinema and all the film premieres, such as that of The Ten Commandments directed by Cecil B. DeMille, who entrusted the design and creation of the protagonists' shoes to Ferragamo. From that moment the young Irpinian was in fact nicknamed "Shoemaker to the stars", the shoemaker of the divas, becoming one of the protagonists of international fashion. From that moment on, Ferragamo's production diversified into shoes for cinema, theater and ballet.

To celebrate the special anniversary, this project was born, which traces the history of the great craftsman and recalls the first retrospective exhibition on Salvatore Ferragamo presented in 1985 at Palazzo Strozzi, a traveling exhibition, hosted in further prestigious locations, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London , the Museum Bellerive in Zurich, the Los Angeles County Museum in California, the Sogetsu Kai Foundation in Tokyo, the Museo des Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The Ferragamo exhibition proved to be pioneering since it undoubtedly represented the beginning of a new way of seeing fashion as the bearer of a cultural message, full of values and meanings. The time span examined in the Salvatore Ferragamo 1898-1960 exhibition is the same and covers the years from 1898, the date of Ferragamo's birth, to his death, which occurred early in the summer of 1960. However, the perspective and the choice of contents suggest and propose different considerations.

At the time, the shoes created by Ferragamo were exhibited in chronological order as works of art, referring only marginally to the creative and social context in which they were designed. Today these creations are presented not only for their aesthetic value, but also as documents that attest to the entrepreneurial and innovative ability, the passion for colours, the anatomical knowledge of the human skeleton and foot, the artisanal skill of the workmanship, the research of the materials and the multiplicity of inspirations, drawn from the world of ancient and contemporary art and culture, which have characterized the work and life of Salvatore Ferragamo.

From that first experience in 1985, the Ferragamo Archive was born, which collects the products and documentation regarding the path taken by the company and its protagonists, and in 1995 the Ferragamo Museum, a place designed to preserve and promote the history of the founder and of the brand through meetings, publications, workshops and exhibitions which have the aim of projecting the experience and testimony of the past into the present, stimulating and influencing conversations and thoughts that concern the contemporary world.

Therefore today's project represents the synthesis of a backward investigation not only into the work and life of Salvatore Ferragamo but also into the role of the company museum and the curatorial practice that accompanies it. It makes use of new junctions which on the one hand highlight Ferragamo's contribution to the rebirth of craftsmanship and the definition of Made in Italy in the post-war period, on the other hand they highlight how Italian design, also expressed thanks to Ferragamo's footwear, is based on the winning combination of decorative and artisan tradition, functionality and technological innovation.

Furthermore, the analysis of Salvatore Ferragamo's personal library suggests new reflections. From the publications preserved in it emerges an indisputable and innate aptitude for perceiving the most advanced signals of the society of the time, together with a philosophy of life and work that expresses a broad and profound conception of the world, regulated by a single and universal divine wisdom.

In this way the Ferragamo Museum, as an institution linked to fashion, which in itself represents a complex and versatile system, has expressed its aim of keeping the company's dialogue with the relevant public vital and dynamic. Today's project represents the synthesis of these stages, comparing the object, the document, the thought, the inspiration with the exhibition that has generated, in the past years, this wealth of materials and, consequently, food for thought .

Salvatore Ferragamo 1898-1960 is therefore much more than an exhibition, we could define it as a memory reel, a backward investigation into the role of the museum and the curatorial practice that accompanies it.


Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5R
50123 Florence


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