On March 24 when it was announced that Massimiliano Giornetti was resigning at Salvatore Ferragamo you couldn’t help but mutter an expletive under your breath. The Italian designer, after sixteen years working at the label—six of those as creative director—was beginning to critically excite in a way his work hadn’t done previously. His Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 collections were applauded for their quiet excellence; the clothes were polished and posed—what Giornetti did best.
With Giornetti out, a replacement was sought. It wasn’t until the show day, on Sunday, that the person was finally unmasked. Fulvio Rigoni, a disciple of Raf Simons, with previous experience as head designer of womenswear at Jil Sander and head of tailoring at Christian Dior, both stints under the Belgian designer. You’d be forgiven for quickly seeking Raf-ism in his work, it spins an amusing narrative. The modernist appeal, feminine approach, 40s tailoring, those were all counted for in this debut.
It must be difficult for a designer like Rigoni to come into a house like Salvatore Ferragamo, with its backstory, and keep the torch lit. Giornetti had a well-received tenure that increased revenue for the Italian label, originally founded in 1928. With the sole of objective of continuing this commercial success, there can be constraints on creative success. Here, it appeared Rigoni handled the large task with aplomb. For starters the clothes were particularly strong. Model of the moment, McKenna Hellam opened the show in a yellow and blue, floral dress with an elasticated neckline, ballooned sleeves and a cinched waist. It was both Raf’s Jil Sander and Dior, but it worked perfectly for the brand in question. There was a subtle, pink tuxedo dress with padded shouldering.
There were further examples of impeccable tailoring in the show. This is unsurprising given Rigoni’s time as head of tailoring at Christian Dior, where he remained for more than three years. Italian tailoring was kept characteristically sharp and interpretative of others. It was like this collection in many respects: borrowing references from close to home.
With touches of Jil Sander Spring 2011 and 2012 (one of Raf Simons’ most memorable) and the Christian Dior time periods proved highly influential in the execution of this collection. It’s no wonder given Rigoni’s roots. Potential for longterm success is already visible in this collection’s creative endeavours. It was a remix of familiar ideas, but at least they were close to Rigoni’s history as a designer. Now, we wait and see if this designer will be protected and nurtured by the house it’s seated at, or will it be another cautionary tale.
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com