Milan Fashion Week: Ferragamo offers effortless luxe for a private island
If there's one thing you realize when you attend a dozen fashion shows back-to-back, it's that spring and summer can be interpreted a dozen different ways. But multiply that by four days, and you start to see some overlap in locales (the Mediterranean! the Hamptons!), in motifs (anchors! nautical stripes!) and activities (swimming! surfing!), but the collection that Ferragamo sent down the runway this season was an island of blessed solitude.
In a color palette of neutrals -- white, beige and cream -- and fabrics like silk, linen and hemp, the Ferragamo man pads around that island wearing a loose jacket belted at the waist and layered over a double-breasted blazer, or a safari jacket over a sweater, trousers either flaring generously at the ankle or held close to the leg by a single button.
Back and forth across this island he carries a faded leather bag or one of canvas, and a frayed raffia hat keeps the sun from his eyes. His clothes look lived in and sun-bleached but the blazer stays buttoned, the crocheted tie stays knotted.
He came here from the mainland in the '30s -- hence the high-waisted, pleated trousers -- and communicates back by post -- and that's only when he needs to lay in a supply of rum. His demeanor is as relaxed and effortless as his wardrobe.
It could be the Mediterranean, or Caribbean, or even the South Pacific. He has no use for labels -- except the one he's wearing.
On his feet are a pair of espadrille slippers he kicks off only when wading into the surf to retrieve a message in a bottle.
As the company gets ready for an IPO, the expectation might be that the brand would try harder to hammer home a point, or show an over-the-top collection, but the label just continues doing what it's always done: confidently put one well-shod foot in front of the other.
-- Adam Tschorn, reporting from Milan
Photos: Looks from the Ferragamo spring / summer 2012 runway collections shown during Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto /Getty Images.