A new exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo celebrates the house’s flair for weaving lifescapes with silk.
A camel’s hump, entirely decorated with flowers, shimmies across an undulating, monochrome desert-scape. Two white feathered birds sweep across a lavender-colored sky. A rooster’s lofty plumes appear to glisten against a golden sunset. These are just a few of the tableaux of the natural world that come to life through silk in the world of Salvatore Ferragamo. Since the Seventies, Fulvia Ferragamo Visconti, the soul of silk accessories at Salvatore Ferragamo, has seen that the Italian house flourish in this highly technical and creative milieu to the point that along with shoes, silk accessories became integral to its visual identity. To celebrate its history, a new exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence offers a closer look at the marriage between creative bravura and craftsmanship. It explores the story behind manufacturing a scarf, through the lens of the revered Italian house.
It was in the early Seventies that Ferragamo’s daughter Fulvia created the first silk accessory for the house. The designs were manufactured in the Como area by craftsmen like Ravasi, Butti e Ostinelli, Ghioldi, and Canepa, who specialized in various print techniques. Como had emerged as the location in Italy for creating printed products and serving to elevate the Made in Italy cache since the Thirties. Italy had already established itself as a manufacturer of silk fabrics since the Middle Ages. The company hired in-house illustrators to design under Fulvia’s supervision. She saw that sketches were made using a collage technique and miniature scenes of flowers and the animal world would appear as such, modified according to her wishes, until they were finally made at real size. Her love of the natural world stemmed from her own hobbies; the late designer, who passed in 2018, was a passionate horse rider and liked to sail. Her taste, inspiring joy, will endure for generations to come.
Silk is on until April 18, 2022 at Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, Italy.
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Originally published in the May 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia