For Salvatore Ferragamo’s spring/summer 2021 presentation, artistic director Paul Andrew turned to the Master of Suspense. Shown as a virtual-reality experience, viewers were greeted by the troubled caws of ravens, calling to mind Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film, The Birds. This was followed by a short film directed by the great Italian film director, Luca Guadagnino.
As if everyone had gone into hiding, the scene opens with the sounds of footsteps hastened by the scores of intense drumbeats. Shot in Milan’s most cinematic locales, models are seen in quiet halls and deserted passageways looking slightly disturbed and at times, finicky (perhaps in search of that kindred spirit?). The reference to Hitchcock was evident at every intense gaze, and the clever bolts of suspense provided many moments that drew the viewers’ eye to beautiful details: from the edge of a perforated leather coat in a Technicolor yellow to the sculptural heel of a freshly reimagined pump inspired by Ferragamo’s original 1947 classic—the F-wedge (It shoe alert!).
As one scene closes, the abstract narrative opens to a gorgeous runway presentation offering a myriad of unusual colours inspired by Hitchcock’s movies: mauve (Vertigo), sky blue (The Birds) and Hitchcock Tan, a reference to the director’s preference for female blonde leads.
A bias-cut dress started the narrative and what came after was a series of smart, well-designed essentials that is slowly becoming one of Andrew’s strengths. Leather jogger pants washed in a seagull Grey and a beautifully cut Tippi Hedren green blazer worn over what looked like harem shorts stole the show, while a handspun ‘floating’ braided dress in lobster mousse with marvellous movement and swing gave the collection that needed jounce of artistry and innovation.
Hitchcockian references aside, it was a collection that celebrated that light at the end of the tunnel. The precocious use of colours (and dare I say, some very beautiful ones) certainly brought a sense of optimism and joy to this ominous state we are in.