The traditionally taupe, beige and camel-coloured world of Salvatore Ferragamo is ideal for this fashion moment in time. Outside the show venues of Milan, women in masculine tailoring of precisely that palette are delighting street style photographers trying to immortalise the way we dress in 2020. The look’s connotations are well defined: sophisticated, intelligent and slightly subversive. Inside one of those venues, Paul Andrew got that memo, too. Following last month’s Salvatore Ferragamo men’s show, which bore evidence of the impact Daniel Lee’s reinvention of Bottega Veneta has had on fashion, Andrew continued to amplify the fashion-forward volume of his leather house in a show that felt targeted at that current definition of cool.
“It probably sounds a bit mental but I’ve been discovering Carl Jung and was reading about how he’d established, in the early 1900s, these seven female archetypes: the queen, the mother, the lover, the sage, the maiden, the huntress and the mystic,” the designer said in a preview. “I was thinking how completely outmoded that is today. A woman, on any given day, is all of those things combined.” Pinned to his mood board were pictures of the women shaping his life: among them, Marlene Dietrich, Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, and Nancy Pelosi ripping up Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech last month. “She’s really stepped it up,” Andrew noted.
His idols inspired a character-driven collection where silhouettes from the gentleman’s wardrobe echoed January’s men’s show: a boxy brown suit, an all-leather motorcycle outfit, and a broad-shouldered black leather coat. They played tag with more sensual, ladylike manifestations, from chain fringing in skirts (also used to pinstripe trousers) to knitted body-con dresses and elements from lingerie. Hard to ignore were boned fabric cinchers styled tonally over tailoring, which looked as if the worlds of burlesque and accounting had spliced in a single accessory.
“Women feel comfortable wearing masculine tailored clothes, but they also want to throw on a feminine dress in the same day,” Andrew said. “I feel like our woman is wanting both of these things.” He further exercised that philosophy in footwear that ranged from biker boots to cocktail sandals, constantly increasing the fashionability of the otherwise so timelessly luxurious Salvatore Ferragamo. “I guess I’ve been feeling a little braver with that. For the first couple of seasons it was a little more classic and subdued,” he reflected, noting that business has been good.