These sculptural Ferragamo heels tell a story about the house’s history

Ferragamo’s historic ‘Gancini’ logo becomes the gravity-defying heel of the ‘Elina’ sandal, one of British creative director Maximilian Davis’ first footwear designs for the Florentine house

Close up of Ferragamo Elina sandal
The ‘Elina’ sandal, one of Maximilian Davis’ first footwear designs for the house
(Image credit: Photography by Vito Fernicola, courtesy of Ferragamo)

When British designer Maximilian Davis presented his debut collection for Florentine house Ferragamo in Milan in September 2022 (among our Milan Fashion Week S/S 2023 highlights), eyes were as much on the feet as the collection’s looks – after all, house founder Salvatore Ferragamo made his trade as a shoemaker, outfitting the starlets of Hollywood’s golden age in the 1920s. After returning to Florence in 1927 to found the eponymous brand, he would continue to provide footwear for film’s leading ladies, from Marilyn Monroe to Judy Garland. The latter provided perhaps the house’s most memorable shoe: a vertiginous rainbow-coloured wedge heel created for the actress in the late 1930s and reissued in various iterations in the years since. 

Davis paid homage to the house’s Hollywood history in the collection’s looks – a sparkling red look was designed to evoke a scarlet crystal pump made for Monroe in 1960’s Let’s Make Love – conjuring an insouciant glamour synonymous with the home of filmmaking. ‘I wanted to pay tribute to Salvatore’s start by bringing in the culture of Hollywood – but new Hollywood,’ Davis said at the time. ‘Its ease and sensuality; its sunset and sunrise.’

Ferragamo S/S 2023 ‘Elina’ sandals

Woman crouching on sandal wearing Gancini heel

‘Elina’ sandal, available from

(Image credit: Photography by Vito Fernicola, courtesy of Ferragamo)

An array of footwear accompanied, though it was the sculpted heel of the ‘Elina’ sandal that made it perhaps the most memorable accessory, its near-circular shape recalling the house’s historic Gancini symbol. A motif that has reoccured throughout Ferragamo’s oeuvre in the decades since its founding – including across its signature ‘Gancini’ loafer and belt – the horse-bit-style design was originally drawn from the patterns on the gates of Ferragamo’s medieval Florentine headquarters, Palazzo Spini. 

A graphic, ‘high-definition’ style – now available in an array of hues, including Davis’ signature ‘Ferragamo red’ – the ‘Elina’ sandal, says the house, encapsulates ‘the signature symmetry and structural harmony’ of Davis’ designs, translated by the designer ‘with linear precision’. Each pair is created using the ‘book’ technique, whereby fine stripes of leather are folded and worked together ‘to caress the foot and highlight its sensuality’. The construction also promises comfort and stability despite the seemingly gravity-defying design, with an elasticated front strap (ensuring a ‘perfect fit on the heel’) and a slim, padded square toe (‘to guarantee maximum comfort’). 

Elina sandal by Ferragamo

‘Elina’ sandal, available from

(Image credit: Photography by Vito Fernicola, courtesy of Ferragamo)

In the show itself – presented in the courtyard of a 17th-century baroque palazzo on Milan’s Corso Venezia, which has since been converted to the Ferragamo-owned Portrait Hotel – showed the ‘Elina’ sandal’s mettle, the towering heels holding steady as models traversed a runway piled from Ferragamo-red sand. The debut, which received wide acclaim, showed Davis’ ability to marry the house’s rich history of design with his own sleek, modern sensibility. ‘It was about looking into the archive and establishing what could be redefined to become relevant for today,’ he said.

Ferragamo’s ’Elina’ heels are available from the house‘s website, below.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.