Salvatore Ferragamo : [Sole]ly a shoe designer?

Its hard to think of an Italian designer more renowned and famous than Ferragamo. His precious designs and precision in his craft makes his store and museum a true hidden gem of Florence. The museum is located underneath the flagship store located in Palazzo Spini Feroni.

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One of the most unexpected things I found when visiting the museum was how it focused on culture and artwork in addition to Ferragamo’s shoes and ready-to-wear collections. Was set up like a ship and had a nautical theme that made you feel like you were navigating the seas and sailing through time with each of his collections. Ferragamo had immigrated to the United Stated and back; this could be an interpretation of the nautical décor.

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A brief history of Ferragamo’s life: he was born in Bonito Italy, and was the eleventh of fourteen children. The designer got his start [Sole]ly working in footwear.

Ferragamo started in footwear impressively early, he was an apprentice for a shoemaker at only eleven years old!

The designer is particularly known for the comfort and functionality of his shoes as well as offering extended sizes. The museum featured original drawings and sketches of the shoemaking plan before it took place.  Ferragamo had actually studied anatomy at the University of Southern California in order to properly understand feet and the body in order to make the comfiest shoes.

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Ferragamo initially gained popularity overseas in California creating shoes specially for celebrities; he has made shoes for big names like Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn just to name a few.

Ferragamo opened up his Florence location in 1927, after his return to Italy; in order to focus more on the craft and beauty of his designs.

katie ferragamo cheetah boots

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What I took away from the museum the most as a fashion student was the appreciation of the level of craftsmanship and technical mastery. The quality of the textiles and shoes was extremely apparent.

Anyone interested in fashion design, textiles or shoes in general should make a visit to this unique museum… and maybe do some shopping upstairs afterwards.


Katherine MahoneyKatie Mahoney attends Marist College and currently pursuing a degree in fashion merchandising with a concentration in promotion. She is a native of the Boston area but has spent the past summer and this coming, interning in NYC. Her passion for all things fashion had sprung from a young age, admiring her grandmother’s eclectic yet classically chic sense of style. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, having been to fourteen countries and counting; she finds it as an inspiration to see different cultural perspectives. She believes “Learning should not end in the classroom, you can learn so much from the people around you. Being abroad has broadened and challenged my view of the world. I have learned the most about myself from the places furthest from home.” She will continue her study abroad experience this fall, at a fashion institution in Paris. Upon graduation, Katie wishes to pursue a career in Public Relations for an in-house luxury retailer.