Salvatore Ferragamo may be a storied Milan fashion house with a fantastic history, but Massimiliano Giornetti is bound and determined to keep the label fresh and exciting. With minimalist silhouettes and funnel necks starting this morning’s show, we are almost certainly getting a sneak peak at the future direction Giornetti hopes to take the brand. Still, he knows his core audience well, knows what the Ferragamo woman likes, expects, and delivers on those expectations in a very wonderful way.

Yes, what comes down the runway first might be a little frightening to those more familiar with the tradition of the house. Over sized coats, severely padded shoulders, and tremendous sleeves seem the antithesis of the house aesthetic. Get used to this look, though. While it’s not going to take over immediately, Giornetti is almost certainly, gradually, cautiously, heading that direction. Even as he shifts back toward the fitted, highly tailored looks of Ferragamo tradition, he still manages to work in some of the more structured lines, larger, un-embellished panels, cargo pockets, and largess that come with more contemporary designs. Ferragamo’s tradition with leather actually plays well with the architectural silhouettes and in many ways is a logical path of evolution. Still, the designer is careful to take it easy and not make the jump all at once.

Fitted silhouettes consume the larger part of the spring collection, with tops that mold themselves to the body in seductive fashion and pleated skirts that sashay down the runway with a feminine move that has been getting attention for decades. Narrow belts, not the impossibly wide ones we’ve seen elsewhere, delicately gathered fabric at the waist to make sure the form stayed sufficiently feminine. Hem lengths are long for this season and high, gently scooped necks are surprisingly modest. Bare shoulders are about as daring as anything in this collection gets, but never does the look lose its identity.

While leather dominates the first part of the presentation, and python prints continue to show up like the guest who just refuses to leave, the real beauty of this collection comes in the delightfully composed prints that occupy the latter half of the line. These are the pieces toward which the more traditional Ferragamo woman is likely to flock. A vertical flow that doesn’t quite provide hard-defined lines gives structure to color gradients that are gentle and enticing. The visual effect is that the colors seem to sway and change along with the movement of the dress, an effect that is dramatic and alluring.

Fashion inevitably changes and keeping current can be an incredible challenge for long-standing labels with rich histories and traditions.  Giornetti is doing the best with Ferragamo by gently taking it by the hand and easing it into the future. What we see this season will be different from the next, but it will all be beautiful.

Photo credit: Gio Staiano

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