Fall 2023 Fashion Show Review

Review of Ferragamo Fall 2023 Fashion Show

The Maverick Makes his Mark 

By Angela Baidoo

Maximilian Davis’ calm demeanour backstage reflected having pulled off that most difficult of tasks – the successful sequel, but his second collection for the Italian fashion house brought a purity to his vision which is starting to settle and take shape for fall 2023.

Ferragamo Fall 2023 Fashion Show

Moving away from the ubiquitous ‘minimalist’ term, Davis expressed that his approach to the house was more so a play on the codes that already existed, especially those of the 1980s and 1990s.

A brands customer can oftentimes be tricky to satisfy, especially in today’s retail environment. As they evolve or grow older, do they also continue to feel an affinity with the designs which are created season after season, keeping them coming back and investing in a DNA that helps them feel the best version of themselves? This, among many other things, is what had been on Davis’ mind when he was forming his fall collection. Speaking to The Impression backstage he expressed that the clothes he previewed – prior to them being made available to those existing customers, and of course, new converts to the brand – were a family affair “The Ferragamo customer today is a mix of people, when we’re designing it, it’s for a family of people, whether it’s for the mother and daughter, or father and son. And for us we want to ensure the existing client stays here but also introducing other clients as well”.

Far from chasing that most elusive of customer that resides within the Gen Z co-hort, Maximilian Davis is showing a wisdom beyond his years and a business savvy, most likely learned under the tutelage of the Fashion East programme. For to take a generational approach will mean that the designer is committed to bringing along for this new chapter, all who love and loved the Ferragamo brand.

In a change of pace from his first presentation, Davis brought his shapes back to the body, in his use of stretch fabrics and the sharp seaming of his tailored suits and outerwear. But don’t make the mistake of labelling this collection as minimal, an easy trope that is bandied about too often nowadays. As the designer expressed his approach to the house was more so a play on the codes that already existed, “Especially the codes that were there from the 80s and 90s” he said. These eras become evident in the knitted skinny pants, boxy tailoring layered grey check-on-grey check, the structured mini dresses, both bardot style and low-scoop neck, and one of the few casual looks – which Davis would do well to explore further as a parallel project – in the form of a second-skin bodysuit and leather trousers in white. There was also the creating of a modern partywear hero that could have been plucked straight from a 1980s discotheque, in form of his gathered lamé minis.

It’s in the quietly considered directional details too where Davis is also winning. A nylon hood attached to a wool coat is both practical and aesthetically pleasing in its contrasting white or red, the batwing sleeve on a midi dress made up of a swathe of additional fabric, also in contrasting red, or the asymmetric drape on a canary yellow jersey dress. The front view of the final look – an off-the-shoulder maxi dress – also disguised sculptural folds towards the back, the handiwork of a knowing designer and cutter.

Colour as a powerful communicative tool was kept within the primary realm, which is not something many can successfully utilise without straying into the world of pre-school. But bold brights are such an inherent part of the Ferragamo house codes that it is only fitting that they be used in confident blocks. The masterful application that seemed to saturate the wools, compact knits, and draped jerseys, were akin to the work of artist Anish Kapoor, whose colour pieces were almost something you could dive into headfirst. Navy looked new and its use on a high-collared coat, as well as a glossy leather mini revived the traditionally conservative colour for that mother/daughter appeal Davis alluded to. Sporty nylons, where these hues live comfortably in the active world, gave short windbreakers with matching pants an appeal that could extend to the youthful streetwear market.

The signature red of the house was disseminated across outerwear and tailoring – taking on a slightly warmer tone on chubby furs – but a new twist in its use came through slicing open skirt hems and sleeves in black to reveal a sliver of the pop colour, with Davis noting backstage “The slash detail introduces the Ferragamo red in a smaller way.”

In contrast to the fitted linear forms on display, handbags and ‘man bags’ were blown up to epic proportions. Set to offer a broader depth of colours and finishes in leather, suede, and exotic skins.

 Navy looked new, and its use on a high-collared coat, as well as a glossy leather mini revived the traditionally conservative colour for that mother/daughter appeal Davis alluded to

Ferragamo Fall 2023 Fashion Show

Davis decided to base his collection on archive Ferragamo finds from the 1950s, a time in which Salvatore Ferragamo freely admitted to having archived over 20,000 models, and more than 350 patents, ready for a time when “the world realizes how beautiful the models really are”. And one such patent exploring the idea of “Metallic Soles”, led to the development of the infamous gold sandals which were created for an Australian customer.

And for the designer, now is once again the time for reviving this radical shoe design, saying “In 1956 a Ferragamo shoe was made out of 18-carat gold, and that felt so modern and new for Ferragamo today”. And with Davis heading up the brand, Ferragamo too, is starting to feel modern and new.