February 18, 2008
Cristina Ortiz is doubtless under a great deal of pressure as the new creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo, where she replaces Graeme Black, who left the brand to focus on his signature label. The strain showed today. Ortiz was way off the mark with a brash collection of chain-mail minidresses, silk satin halterneck jumpsuits, spiraling coats and jackets spliced together with what looked like silver sutures, and cutaway gowns suspended from the shoulders with cobwebby threadsall of which came out on Lucite wedge heels with clear plastic toe straps. The Las Vegas vibeone unlucky model walked the length of the runway in an ill-fitting halter top that left her breasts exposedfelt out of sync not only with the season but also with the company's heritage as a maker of traditionally elegant shoes and accessories.
Ferragamo celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, beginning with a grand fête in Shanghai next month that is scheduled to include a restaging of the Fall collection. There's still time to rejigger the mix by focusing on the pieces that did work here: a softly constructed bronze leather trench; a circular-cut suit jacket with rounded lapels shown with high-waisted, wide-legged pants; and a cape made from alternating stripes of black and silver sequins. Those looks could put the class back in classic.