What do Leonardo da Vinci and Massimiliano Giornetti have in common? Well, thereby hangs a tale. The show mounted by the Salvatore Ferragamo creative director and his team at the Louvre this evening was a story of lasts, and firsts. Let's start with the lasts: da Vinci's great unfinished masterpiece, an oil painting of the Virgin and Saint Anne dating from about 1510,
is the keystone to the current blockbuster exhibition at the museum, featuring drawings and other preparatory works from the latter years of the Italian master's life. As a reward for sponsoring the exhibit, Ferragamo found itself in the enviable position of being the first Italian fashion house to stage a runway presentation at the museum, which took place under the arcades of the Denon wing. But the common threads between past and present run much deeper, Giornetti argued.
"Even more than making this about Italy, I wanted it to be about richness and craftsmanship," the designer said before the show. "It's Slow Fashion, which is not just about precious materials, but also the time that goes into each piece. It's about the old masters, but with a young spin." He cited as inspiration notions such as the sensuality of the first rays of sun on one's skin (something that the audience, shivering in the house's silk cashmere scarves, could only dream about). The clothes themselves were about as couture as they could get. From the house's tradition of primitive weaves, Giornetti recast "craft" with a rock edginess, in laced-up, perforated, crocheted, and latticed leather dresses, skirts, and halter tops, many intricately woven with sequins and pierced with delicate silver rings. Shimmying
fringed knits, boots in snakeskin or molten silver dots, and tassled handbags rounded out a lineup in delicate shades of blush, sand, and
palest gray, a palette the designer chose specifically in homage to the surroundings. "It's super-modern and yet connected with the
classics because every piece is the product of a tradition of ancient craft," he said. "The Ferragamo girl is cool, but she's got culture."