Finest Hour

Harper's Bazaar Malaysia|October 2019

Finest Hour
The creative director of Ferragamo on spearheading the grand Italian house, keeping the spirit of innovation alive, and how he stays modern, always.
Natasha Kraal

Standing next to a super-luxe tan leather bomber jumpsuit, Paul Andrew is on-point about his creative vision. “My approach to moving Ferragamo forward is really the opposite of what other luxury houses are doing,” says the creative director of the Italian heritage house. “Hoodies and T-shirts, jeans and sneakers with the brand’s logo emblazoned all over—that’s not luxurious, not high fashion. My approach for Ferragamo is very different. It’s about keeping that ease and the wearability in the clothes but making it very elevated.”

Andrew is on top form this crisp spring morning in Tokyo, at the Ba-Tsu art gallery in Shibuya, where he’s presenting the Ferragamo Autumn/Winter ’19 collection to a legion of regional editors. This is his third collection for the 91-year-old Florentine fashion label; he joined in 2016 as the head of women’s shoes, given his incredible success with his eponymous shoe label that he founded in 2012, and was appointed to oversee both men’s and women’s collections in 2018. He brings his cool British sensibility, love for leather and sumptuous fabrics, and great eye for colour and characterization to his work. “She’s woken up in the morning in her silk pyjamas … she’s gone outside to get her coffee so she’s thrown on her double-faced cashmere coat and her rhinestone shoes from the night before to go to Starbucks,” he describes precisely that look on his muse, the “relaxed, empowered woman”.

The 40-year-old British designer walks us through his key pieces, noting his yen for “scarf dressing”, an archive-print silk skirt that with a snap button can go from corporate chic to cocktail-ready with ruffles down the side; then a cheongsam-inspired dress. Colour blocking in exquisite ’60s-touch shades of pumpkin, aquamarine, teal and salmon pink feature as panels in a gorgeous Love Story esque suede skirt worn with a tiny cashmere tank. “The collection stays sensual and sexy this season, there’s still a lot of skin,” he explains, “but because it’s winter I gave her a nappa leather scarf lined with cashmere knit jersey.”

Should climes call for more warmth, consider those wool twill jackets, worn boxy and oversized, or side drawstrings pulled in for shape and dimension. This detailing appears on many pieces, particularly the season’s statement workwear jumpsuits that Andrew then “elevates” with luxurious cashmere trench-coats thrown over, dress shirts worn under, or beautifully crafted in nappa leather. Shoes are, of course, the highlight—like the founder Salvatore Ferragamo, Andrew started out as a shoemaker—from kinky embellished booties to knee-highs in laser-cut patchwork panels. “The beauty of these boots is in the pyramid heels based on an archival heel in the ’60s that Salvatore Ferragamo’s daughter Fiamma designed,” he notes. “The construction is really complicated; only a shoe company like Ferragamo with their expertise can probably manifest something like this.”


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October 2019