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Ferragamo

Italian

A perfectionist who as a child crafted a pair of white shoes for his sister’s first holy communion because his parents couldn’t afford new footwear, Salvatore Ferragamo was ambitious from his earliest days. The young Italian shoemaker established in the years that followed what would one day become a fashion empire — the highly profitable multinational family-owned and -operated luxury brand today counts more than 600 stores in 96 countries around the world, and vintage Ferragamo shoes, handbags and other clothing and accessories are objects of desire for fashion lovers everywhere.

Salvatore Ferragamo sought an education in the art of shoemaking when he was eleven — he apprenticed with a local shoemaker and spent a short time in nearby Naples learning what he could at a shoe factory. He opened his first shop with a handful of workers the following year, and in 1914 — when he was still a teenager — Ferragamo emigrated to America, just as his siblings had before him, seeking new opportunities for work and to learn in the footwear trade.

After securing a job at the Plant Shoe Factory in Boston, Massachusetts, Ferragamo was uninspired by machine-made footwear. He moved across the country to Santa Barbara, California. Owing to a connection he made with a then-actor cousin, Ferragamo found work with the American Film Manufacturing Company. He made women’s shoes and provided durable cowboy boots for a film crew’s costuming department. Ferragamo’s reputation in the world of Hollywood cinema soon broadened, and he established a storefront in Mission Canyon where he made shoes by hand for the likes of actresses Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo and Dolores del Río. 

By the 1920s, film directors commissioned Ferragamo to produce shoes for a range of movies — the list of films eventually included The Ten Commandments, The Covered Wagon and The Thief of Baghdad. When he felt comfortable enough with the English language, Ferragamo also enrolled in anatomy courses at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in order to better understand motion and the demands that we place on our footwear.

By the late 1920s, Ferragamo sought to expand production of his shoes and returned to Italy. He hired scores of apprentices to work in a factory in Florence, where Ferragamo carefully melded the principles of handcraftsmanship with all that he learned about America’s shoe factories. He filed patents — hundreds over the years — on the steel shank arch and many other unique aspects of his shoe design, and when economic and political influences during the 1930s forced Ferragamo to substitute pressed cork for steel to support the arch, the wedge heel was born. Other creative materials he integrated into his forward-looking creations were hemp, felt, nylon fishing line, fish skin and cellophane twisted with silk. 

In the late 1940s, the brand’s first storefront opened in Manhattan, and today Salvatore Ferragamo is known worldwide and is synonymous with a wealth of iconic footwear such as Viva ballet flats, Vara Bow pumps, Gancini loafers and lots more. Ferragamo’s son, Ferruccio, was appointed CEO in 1984. Under his leadership, Ferruccio diversified and expanded the fashion business further, getting into sunglasses, fragrance, watches and made-to-measure men’s shoes. Ferruccio was succeeded by his brother, Leonardo Ferragamo, and British designer Maximilian Davis is now creative director of the brand.

Find vintage Ferragamo shoes, clothing and other items on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$700
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1970s Italian Ferragamo

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A chic pair of black leather mules by Ferragamo of Italy. As you would expect the leather is of wonderful quality, with leather tops and soles. Heel height 3'' Model : DS 70229H50 6C
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Early 2000s French Ferragamo

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20th Century Ferragamo

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This is a wonderful vintage black wool coat dress from Salvatore Ferragamo. This could be worn as a coat if you don't mind slipping it over your head. I love the mandarin collar, a...
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This highly textured Ferragamo clutch will be your new favorite handbag! Salvatore Ferragamo is highly known to be a luxury Italian shoe designer who emigrated to Boston, MA and then shortly opened a store in Hollywood where he found success. He was always confused that shoes seemed to be beautiful but uncomfortable to wear, he so decided to study anatomy. Making an outfit stylized is all about mixing textures together. To mix textures, try pairing this crossbody/clutch with a soft knit dress, some leather Christian Louboutin knee high boots...
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21st Century and Contemporary Italian Ferragamo

Ferragamo Woven Bronze Clutch/Crossbody
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Browse all Fashion from Ferragamo
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Designers Similar to Ferragamo

Ferragamo fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Ferragamo fashion available on 1stDibs. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Laura Biagiotti, Off-White, and Valentino Miss V appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Ferragamo fashion from top boutiques around the world. Ferragamo fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $1,995 and tops out at $1,995, while the average work can sell for $1,995.
Questions About Ferragamo
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Ferragamo’s Gancini print is a famous pattern that resembles a series of interlacing hooks. It was inspired by the metalwork of the Palazzo Spini Feroni gates. It is usually printed in black and white. Shop an array of Ferragamo pieces featuring the iconic Gancini print on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Ferragamo is mostly known for producing luxury silk ties for men and handcrafted leather shoes for women and men. One of the Italian fashion house's signature styles is the stacked-heel, bow-capped Vara Pump, which debuted in the 1970s. Shop a range of Ferragamo apparel and accessories on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Famed shoemaker Ferragamo was born Salvatore Ferragamo in 1898 in Bonito, Italy. The future shoe designer was the eleventh of 14 children born to Antonio Ferragamo and Mariantonia Ferragamo (both had the same surname prior to their marriage). It is reported that at age nine he made himself a pair of shoes and decided that he had found his calling. On 1stDibs, find a collection of authentic Ferragamo shoes from some of the world’s top sellers.

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