Perhaps it’s the Italianate glory of the visuals — creative director Maximilian Davis’ new campaign for Ferragamo with Uffizi Galleries is something of a marketing masterpiece, both in its style and strategy.
The Fall/Winter 2023 advertising campaign launched on August 14 by the Italian luxury house is an homage to the city of Florence, and Ferragamo’s “New Renaissance.”
As part of the brand’s ongoing refresh since Marco Gobbetti became CEO in January last year, Ferragamo has piqued the interest of fashion watchers with its bold brand rejuvenation. This has included hiring 27-year-old designer Davis as creative director, shortening the maison’s name to Ferragamo, implementing a more modern-looking typeface, and introducing an auspicious red house color.
The company plans to invest up to 400 million euros (3.2 billion RMB) for store refurbishments, technology innovation, and supply chain optimization over the next three years with the goal of doubling revenue to almost 2.3 billion euros (18.2 billion RMB) from 2021 to 2026. Gobbetti expects these optimizations to start bearing fruit in the final quarter of this year. Sales in China improved in Q1 2023.
Ferragamo reconnects with Florence
Since coming on board as creative director in March 2022, Davis has demonstrated a reverential yet refreshing attitude to updating Ferragamo’s luxury heritage.
Both his Spring/Summer 2023 and Fall/Winter 2023 debut collections leaned into the brand’s connections with Hollywood, where the young Salvatore Ferragamo was “shoemaker to the stars” in the 1950s, including celebrity fans Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe. However, the newly released Fall/Winter 2023 advertising campaign switches focus to the city where the brand began in 1927.
Florence was a crucible of Italian culture and art during the Renaissance. Throughout his career, Salvatore Ferragamo was inspired by the “Jewel of the Renaissance” and his early boutiques in the US were imbued with Florentine grandeur.
A testament to the company’s success, the turreted and fresco-filled Palazzo Spini Feroni — a Florentine landmark first built in 1289 — has served as the Ferragamo headquarters since 1938 until today. The advertising campaign shines a light on this distinguished lineage to inspire new generations of luxury consumers.
Luxury fashion meets Renaissance art
Davis takes Ferragamo’s connection with Florence a step further for the campaign, partnering with Florentine art institution Le Gallerie degli Uffizi. Italy’s most-visited museum houses many of the most important works of the Italian Renaissance. The high-profile collaboration frames Ferragamo’s deep connection with art as well as the house’s significance among esteemed Italian institutions.
Several famous 15th- and 16th-century artworks from the Uffizi collections act as settings for Davis’ creativity. In the context of masterpieces by the likes of Bellini, Veronese and Botticelli, the campaign layers in a diverse community of models, musicians and creators, selected by Davis, who inhabit the mise en scene, animating them in a contemporary way.
The dialogue between past and present is arresting. Modeling opulent tailoring, richly textured fabrics and bold materials and colors, the new protagonists of the Renaissance paintings appear modern yet timeless.
The pictures cleverly juxtapose both the spirit of the Renaissance and the world of 21st-century luxury, helping to align tradition and progress, past eras and future generations. These messages are also reflected in the concept of Ferragamo’s “New Renaissance,” a rebirth of the label under the youthful energy of Davis and his team.
Complementing the Renaissance scenes shot by photographer Tyler Mitchell, a parallel series of images provides insight into the creative process. These behind-the-scenes stories help forge a deeper connection with younger generations that value community, collaboration and authenticity.
Blending heritage and modern design
Davis is already proving adept at mining Ferragamo’s 96-year-old archives and gracefully evolving the brand’s classical codes through his own precise aesthetic. Pieces from the Fall/Winter 2023 collection featured in the advertising campaign have a sense of old-world glamor, like draped dress details, bat-wing sleeves and archive-inspired gold sandals, which look right at home amid Renaissance scenes.
A highlight piece of the Fall-Winter 2023 show in Milan, the new Ferragamo Hug bag is another example of a timeless silhouette redesigned with modern sensibility. It appears in two art images both in the tote bag version and soft pouch style, featuring dual straps finished with Gancini closures that embrace the front panel of the bag like a hug.
As exemplified in the new ad campaign, there is an updated energy to Davis’ designs that the brand had lacked, and which the company hopes will attract a younger demographic of luxury shoppers. Since the campaign was launched on August 14 in China, the Weibo hashtag #Ferragamo New Renaissance (#菲拉格慕新文艺复兴) and # FERRAGAMOFW23 have received over 69 million views.
In the words of Davis: “The Renaissance is hardwired into Florence, and Florence is hardwired into Ferragamo. At this time of a new beginning at the house, it made perfect sense to reclaim the cradle of the Renaissance as our spiritual home, and to harness the deep, artistic spirit of this city to showcase the new collection.”
The “New Renaissance” campaign is both beautiful to behold and replete with context about Ferragamo’s past and future direction. With bold designs, new creative talents and fresh ways to connect with younger shoppers, the maison’s new chapter looks promising.