August 7 marks the 55th anniversary of the death of Florence’s world-famous fashion icon, Salvatore Ferragamo.
Born into an impoverished family in 1898, Ferragamo created his first pair of shoes at the tender age of nine. He later became an apprentice to a local cobbler in his home town of Bonito in southern Italy and then an entrepreneur at the age of 14, opening a small shoe shop with a total number of six assistants working for him. Persuaded by his elder brother to accompany him to the United States, Ferragamo immigrated to Boston in 1914 at the age of 16.
It wasn’t until the designer moved to Santa Barbara, California and finally to Hollywood that his success began. He met high-profile clientele and movie stars, who fell in love with his trademark shoes, and gained a reputation as the ‘shoemaker of dreams.’ With his remarkable talent and entrepreneurial skills, by 1919 Ferragamo had established one of the most famous fashion brands in the world.
Upon his return to Italy, Ferragamo set up shop in Florence in Via Minnelli, where he copyrighted his luxury shoe brand. In 1929, he bought and converted Palazzo Spini Feroni into his headquarters.
The Salvatore Ferragamo brand eventually expanded to include other luxury goods, such as bags, clothing and perfumes, consistently maintaining its standards of excellence and refinement.
Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62 in Pietrasanta, a small town in Tuscany. Ferragamo’s legacy is destined to last for many years to come, and is kept alive by the success of his family and the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum at Palazzo Spini Feroni.