Salvatore Ferragamo's heritage kept alive in generations

Salvatore Ferragamo's heritage kept alive in generations
Mr James Ferragamo is the women's leather product director of Salvatore Ferragamo.

The Italian luxury design house Salvatore Ferragamo has been slow to bring dramatic changes to its designs.

Signature designs such as the ribbon bow and metal buckle have been repeated or revived with handbags, shoes, accessories and ready-to-wear collections.

"Some of the signature pieces are the same design although new colors and materials have been added. The styles have always been the same because they've become icons," said James Ferragamo, who oversees the women's leather shoes and bags division, in an interview with The Korea Herald last week in Seoul.

James is the grandson of the firm's founder. His father Ferruccio is the president of the company.

Started as a footwear store in 1919 by the founder Salvatore Ferragamo, it has been transformed into a luxury design house for handbags, shoes, accessories and clothes across three generations.

"You create products that are unique and stand the test of time. That's what happened to Vara. It's elegant, timeless, could be worn in the day and worn in the night."

This year marks the 35th birthday of Ferragamo's iconic Vara pumps ― the three centimeter-heeled round-toe shoe with a grosgrain ribbon bow and metallic disc.

Designed in 1978 by his aunt Fiamma, the eldest daughter of the founder, the Vara pumps have helped Ferragamo establish itself as a global shoe brand.

While inheriting the early design, the design house offers customers about 16 different options to create their own Vara.

They can choose the colour of the shoes' bows, heels and body, and select either patent leather or tweed for the material. They can also have their name engraved on the soles.

Women's leather bags and shoes account for 50 to 55 per cent of the total sales revenue of the design house, according to James Ferragamo. Combined with men's accessories, leather goods take up 78 per cent of its overall sales.

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