Wedge cut: high drama meets bold engineering in Salvatore Ferragamo’s refabricated heels

Image of black boot
Boots, £750,
(Image credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

For his debut collection as Salvatore Ferragamo’s design director of women’s footwear, Paul Andrew has stayed ahead of the curve, updating the Florentine fashion house’s signature F-shaped wedge – first created in 1947 – in suede and velvet variations. ‘I have been researching the shoes in the house’s archive and this is something that salvatore Ferragamo was never able to do,’ explains the English-born, New York-based designer.

‘When I was designing the collection, I started thinking about Richard Serra and the way he works with form. The shape of his Torqued Ellipse sculptures are very reminiscent of the F-shaped wedge. It’s very undercut and dramatic. To mould materials like velvet and suede, which don’t have much give, is very complicated.’ To achieve the design, Andrew developed leather crimping machines, which mould the fabric and leather 11 times over several days. ‘The silhouette that Ferragamo created in the 1940s was always covered with two pieces of leather,’ explains Andrew. ‘The state-of-the-art technology that we now have at our fingertips allows us to manifest the shape in one piece, which is a real feat of engineering.’

A version of this article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Wallpaper* (W*222)

Sandal (1947) in patchwork and suede, with wooden F-shaped wedge heel covered in suede

Sandal (1947) in patchwork and suede, with wooden F-shaped wedge heel covered in suede.

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Florence)

Left, S/S 2014 sandal in suede and nappa leather with plexiglas F-shaped wedge heel. Right, Salvatore Ferragamo, Patent no 26673, support shape for shoe sole, with central spur and support for the heel

Left, S/S 2014 sandal in suede and nappa leather with plexiglas F-shaped wedge heel. Right, Salvatore Ferragamo, Patent no 26673, support shape for shoe sole, with central spur and support for the heel, application dated 16 January 1947, patent issued on 10 May 1947. Courtesy of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Florence

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Florence)

A/W 2007 décolleté in patent leather with plexiglas F-shaped wedge heel

A/W 2007 décolleté in patent leather with plexiglas F-shaped wedge heel.

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Florence)

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Salvatore Ferragmo website (opens in new tab)