Deemed the "shoemaker to the stars," Salvatore Ferragamo is known for its footwear. In the early 1920s, Ferragamo, a Naples native who apprenticed with a shoemaker as a teenager, set up the Hollywood Boot Shop in California. Soon he was crafting boots and shoes for movie stars' on-screen looks. Enamored of his designs, actors from Douglas Fairbanks to Mary Pickford enlisted him to custom-fit their feet off-screen as well. After moving his company to Florence in the late twenties, Ferragamo achieved worldwide success in the next few decades as he pioneered such innovative designs as the "invisible" sandal, wedge heels, and the all-important steel-reinforced stiletto, popularized by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.
In 1959, a year before his death, Ferragamo's daughter Giovanna introduced the label's first clothing collection. Accessories soon followed. Today, the ready-to-wear collection, shown in Milan, focuses on Italian sportswear.
From 2003 to 2007, Graeme Black, a Giorgio Armani alumnus, oversaw the label. In 2007, Cristina Ortiz, formerly of Brioni and Lanvin, assumed the post of women's ready-to-wear designer. Her first collection met with mixed reviews for its flashy vibe, which was out of sync with the house's traditional aesthetic. Eventually, after seasons of trying to hash out the differences, Ortiz left the label, showing her last collection at Milan Fashion Week Spring 2010.
In June 2011 Ferragamo brought in Massimiliano Giornetti to replace Ortiz. Having already worked for the label ten years, the Tuscany native was named the first creative director of the brand.
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