Salvatore Ferragamo - The Fashion Designer Behind the Hollywood Stars' Perfect Shoes

Salvatore Ferragamo is a legend. He is the brilliant fashion designer behind many of the Hollywood stars' extraordinary shoes.

Over time, the fashion house he established served personalities from the world of film, politics, and more, such as Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Princess of Wales, and Margaret Thatcher.

The company Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960) founded has more than 14,000 pairs of shoes in its archives.

Salvatore was not only concerned with making beautiful and attractive shoes, but he also wanted the people to feel comfortable in them.

Ferragamo's creations include the high-heeled sandals in the colors of the rainbow worn by Judy Garland, as well as the heeled shoes worn by the emblematic  Marilyn Monroe in "Some Like Jazz."

The Story of Salvatore Ferragamo

According to "Bussiness Magazin", the famous designer discovered his passion for fashion at just nine years old and went on with his business even after going bankrupt.

Salvatore Ferragamo was born on June 5, 1898, into a modest family in Bonito, Italy. He was the 14th child of Antonio and Mariantonia Ferragamo.

He created the first pair of shoes at just nine years old, later going to Naples to study the art of creating shoes for a year. After that, he opened his own store in the basement of his parents' house

In 1915, Salvatore decided to emigrate to Boston, Massachusetts, where one of his brothers worked in a cowboy boot factory.

Salvatore Ferragamo Attains Glory in Hollywood

Ferragamo soon persuaded his brother to move to California, going from Santa Barbara to Hollywood. Here he would know success, although he initially started from the bottom, making repairs before starting to create his own designs. He eventually opened his own store, "Hollywood Boot Shop", in 1923, and became the favorite designer of movie stars.

To ensure that his shoes are not only beautiful but also comfortable, he went to the University of Southern California to study anatomy.

He remained in the United States until 1927, when he decided to return to Italy, settling in Florence. Here he began to produce shoes for the well-known women of the time, such as Eva Perón, the first lady and an important figure in the history of Argentina.

The designer opened his first store on Via Mannelli (Florence), experimenting with design while applying for patents for his fashion innovations.

In 1933, due to mismanagement and the economic pressure of the Great Depression, he was forced to declare bankruptcy. After the end of World War II, his business flourished again, and the famous designer managed to gather 700 artisans who made 350 pairs of shoes by hand every day.

The Ferragamo Legacy Moves On

Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960, at the age of 62, leaving a legacy of an important brand in the fashion world, led by his wife, Wanda, and their six children: Fiamma, Giovanna, Fulvia, Ferruccio, Massimo, and Leonardo.

Subsequently, the company that bears his name expanded its production area with bags, glasses, watches, perfumes, jewelry, and other luxury clothing and accessories.

A museum opened in Palazzo Spini Feroni (Florence), which Salvatore Ferragamo had bought in 1933, has been dedicated to his life and work since 1995.

In March 2013, the Ferragamo Foundation was launched in Florence, in order to support young fashion designers.

Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A (joint-stock company) currently has a number of 4,000 employees and recorded, in 2020, revenues of 916 million euros.

 View our Collection of Antique & Vintage Jewelry 

Shop now