• Nikita Shah

Salvatore Ferragamo: The man behind the luxury house

Salvatore Ferragamo born on 5 June 1898 was an Italian shoe designer and the founder of luxury goods high-end retailer Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. "Salvadore" Ferragamo was born to a poor family in Bonito, Italy, near Avellino, the eleventh of fourteen children.

Salvatore Ferragamo, 5 June 1898 – 7 August 1960

After studying shoemaking in Naples for a year, Ferragamo opened a small store based in his parents' home. In 1914, Ferragamo immigrated to Boston in the USA and soon convinced his brothers to move to California, first Santa Barbara and then Hollywood. It was there that Ferragamo found success, initially opening a shop for repair and made-to-measure shoes, leading to a long period of designing footwear for the cinema.

Ferragamo spent thirteen years in the US, after which he returned to Italy in 1927, settling in Florence. He began to design  fashion shoes for women, from the Maharani of Cooch Behar to Eva Peron to Marilyn Monroe. He opened a workshop in the Via Mannelli, concentrating his efforts in experimenting with design, applying for patents for ornamental and utility models and some related inventions.

Marilyn Monroe in Ferragamo, 1963

Salvatore soon designed his very first bag in 1949. The bags are viewed as a symbol of status among the haut monde today.

Vintage Ferragamo clutch bag

Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62, but his name lives on as an international company, which has expanded its operations to include luxury shoes, bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes and a ready-to-wear clothing line.

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