There are practical reasons why iconic Italian leather goods brand Salvatore Ferragamo teamed up with Colombian-born, Florentine-based footwear designer Edgardo Osorio for a new capsule shoe collection. ‘He lives next door!’ laughs James Ferragamo, Salvatore’s grandson and director of the brand’s women’s leather goods. It’s true that both brands are situated on the same street in Florence, but the pairing, the first for Ferragamo, is aligned on a much deeper level.

Osorio, whose own Aquazzura label has shot to international hotness in just four years, started his career, at the age of 19, over a decade ago at Ferragamo’s footwear atelier, where he met Ferragamo’s current creative director Massimiliano Giornetti. The experience left an indelible impression on the designer. ‘There’s nothing like the Ferragamo archive,’ says Osorio of the 14,000 pairs of perfectly preserved shoes. ‘They have everything in there. He did everything. And he did it first.’ Indeed, Salvatore Ferragamo is the spiritual godfather of modern footwear. His inventions with innovative materials such as cork, jute, straw, cellophane and fishing line, as well as radical silhouettes such as massive platforms, were seismic back in the 1940s and continue to shake the catwalks today.

For the new 14-piece collection, Osorio plucked many of these groundbreaking elements from Ferragamo’s past but added elements of Latin exuberance. Ferragamo’s signature cork and polka dots are now incorporated into chunky mid-heel sandals. The brand’s famous bows have been repositioned as three metal sculptures on the back of stilettos, while wing details were taken from Ferragamo advertising campaign illustrations from the 1950s. Ferragamo’s most iconic shoe, the rainbow wedge, has been reinterpreted in charming dégradé encrusted stones.

Pulling in a foreign hired gun might be considered sacrilegious at the House of Ferragamo, but James Ferragamo insists the brand is ‘open-minded’. ‘Everybody contributes to fashion today,’ he says. ‘It’s not just one brand, one designer. Fashion is bigger than that.’ 

As originally featured in the December 2015 issue of Wallpaper* (W*201)