Salvatore Ferragamo is an accessory house, first and foremost. It's never really had much of a fashion identity - and, frankly, it feels a little late in the house's eighty-something year history for it to be 'Doing a Gucci'. Nevertheless, Ferragamo soldiers valiantly onwards, with relatively new creative director Massimiliano Giornetti wrestling with the tricky task of giving this Florentine leather house a fashion spin without rocking the boat.
If we take that as his modus operandi, then we're really not looking to Giornetti to provide directional fashion but rather a passable catwalk show to help clothe the advertising campaign (this season, shot by Bruce Weber) and bolster brand consciousness. To that extent, Giornetti succeeded. His latest line seized on the peasant vibe that has been doing the rounds in MIlan, rinsed it of too much of that scary fashion business, and presented it in luxurious, simple materials. It all felt rather seventies - another of next season's hot tickets - with a Kramer Vs. Kramer feel to tonnes of tan, trenches and trousersuits with broad shoulders and slender boot-cut legs. The peasant came in with billowing, full-sleeves blouses, some elongated into tiered dresses, some cropped at the midriff and worn with a flounced skirt and neat headscarves. Almost too neat - there was nothing truly peasant to these country girls, and certainly not when those flounced skirts came in butter-soft suede or iridescent silks in teal, amethyst or French navy. Blue was the only break in the all-neutral palette, in the aforementioned hues or a rather scary powdery pastel (scariest in a retro flower or John Travolta-style prom tuxedo).
As the fashion hacks put it, it was very on trend. But those trends felt like they belonged to other people - both this season, and the dozen-or-so times they've been referenced before. There were some nice, wearable pieces in there, free of the retro timeworn - sleek, Celine-style blouses, flared macrame mini-dresses that reminiscent of an exquisitely Alaia-clad Tina Turner, and a slightly YSL safari moment in brown-belted cotton drill. But, again, all redolent of other people, with nothing really new or interesting to add. Ferragamo may focus on accessories, but if it insists on showing a fashion show of its own in Milan, Giornetti should try to do exactly that - create a fashion show of his own ideas.