Museo Salvatore Ferragamo lays bare the house’s artistic inspirations

A display showcasing multiple heeled shoes on a brown surface with a siwrly blue backdrop
A new exhibition, ’Across Art and Fashion’, launches this week at Museo Salvatorre Ferragamo. Pictured: the exhibit showcases many of Ferragamo’s shoes, with a backdrop recalling Sonia Delauney’s paintings
(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

At different venues in the environs of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in the heart of Florence, an exhibition named ‘Across Art and Fashion’ (Tra Arte e Moda), that encompasses clothing, accessories, fabrics, works of art, books, periodicals and photographs, considers the often-discussed relationship between fashion and art.

'In the last 10 years, artists have been reflecting on the commercial aspect more and more', according to Stefania Ricci, director of the Ferragamo Museo. 'And fashion designers are using art more too', she continues, 'in research and inspiration'.

With the weighty backdrop of Florence’s history as a meeting place of artists and incubator of art, it’s only fitting that Salvatore Ferragamo chose Uffizi Gallery, the National Library, Museo Marino Marini and the museum of Textile in Prato as its collaborators. 'In the Renaissance, there was no difference between art and craftsmanship', Ricci remarks, and that’s where Mr Ferragamo, the Florentine shoe designer comes into the picture.

There is no question that he was deeply fascinated by avant-garde art, as much as he was fascinated by the glamourous Hollywood world he equipped with elegant footwear. He collaborated with both Dior and Schiapparelli, and bedecked both Audrey Hepburn and Peggy Guggenheim.

Ferragamo took a great deal of inspiration from the colourful works of Sonia Delaunay and from Kenneth Noland’s circular abstraction, and along these pieces contemporary designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake share the plinths with Yinka Shonibare, a Nigerian artist who uses African waxprint textiles in 19th century silhouettes, and Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang and Gareth Pugh. 'Essentially, they all address the problem of the body', concludes Ricci. As did Salvatore Ferragamo, who produced his best work in the 1920s and 1930s, and who will go down in fashion history as the shoe designer who artfully altered our silhouette from the ground up.

Hard wood shelves with 3 black rhino inspired heeled shoes on display with the sketch of the show on a white paper pinned to the shelf

Sketches of one of Ferragamo’s shoes inspired by a rhinocerous’ horn, along with Stephen Jones’ shoe hat

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

A displayed of shoe moulds on embedded into sections of a wall shelf. on the right is a showcase of shoes in different colours

One of the halls showcasing shoes from the collection, including a Peggy Guggenheim inspired shoe, on the far left

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

2 Suede pumps with kid appliqués with a target-shooting motif displayed on a shelf. On the left the canvas of a target shooting

Pictured here, Salvatore Ferragamo’s ’Tirassegno’ suede pump with kid appliqués with a target-shooting motif, and Kenneth Noland’s Untitled painting from 1958, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 96 cm

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

A display of 2 outfits enclosed in a glass box with white platform base in an exhibition room with brown floors and walls. on the left: Green court cape in silk velvet with embroidery; on the right: a dirt white gothic style short sleeved bridal dresss

On the left, Rosa Genoni’s Pisanello’ court cape, in silk velvet with embroidery, from 1906

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

A display of a dress inspired by the human body enclosed in a glass display placed against a concrete wall pillar. Behind the pillar is Yasumasa Morimura’s three-panelled Portrait series hanging on the wall (which inspired the dress)

Issey Miyaki’s dress inspired by Yasumasa Morimura’s three-panelled Portrait series, 1986–90

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

A room with dresses on display with the focus on the geometric design shift dress, next to the artist’s painting on the wall by which it was inspired

Yves Saint Laurent’s world-famous 1960s Mondrian shift dress, pictured here next to the artist’s painting by which it was inspired

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

4 frames on the wall of black and white sketches on a white background of females wearing white shirt and tie. In glass display boxes are 2 displays of Andy Warhols famous The souper dress

Pictured here, Andy Warhol’s famous The Souper Dress, produced in the Seventies with the motif of the famous Campbell’s Soup can, an image repeated in sequence as silkscreens

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

An exhibition space with white walls and floor, featuring abstract painting on the walls in orange, green and blue. Focus on 2 shift dresses by Germana Marucelli on display, one on the left corner and the other on the right corner

Two dresses by the Italian fashion designer and stylist Germana Marucelli, inspired by the work of Spatialist artist Paolo Scheggi

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

Two men standing in a room with interactive walls with displays coming from the white projectors in the ceiling

One of the interactive halls in the Ferragamo Museum

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)

A display of designs by Martin Margiela, on their invividuals tands with an information card

Martin Margiela was also one of the designers who was continuously inspired by art and fascinated by the human body, pictured here, some of his famous creations

(Image credit: Guglielmo de’ Micheli)


'Across Art and Fashion' continues through 7 June 2016. For more information, visit the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo website

Photography: Guglielmo de' Micheli


Palazzo Spini Feroni, Piazza di Santa Trinita, 5/R, 50123 Firenze, Italy