Inspired by Chinese cultural elements and made with Italian flair, Ferragamo is globally launching its special 2023 Lunar New Year collection to celebrate the festival.
The collection by Ferragamo’s creative director Maximilian Davis anchors its visual aesthetics in the figure of rabbit, a symbol of auspiciousness in Chinese culture. Set in a red, white and black theme, the scarlet eye of the rabbit provides inspiration, nodding to the creature’s mythical clairvoyance. The classic form is given a contemporary makeover.
The debut of the collection in China comes as millions of Chinese hope for a brighter future in the 2023 Year of the Rabbit as the country emerges from pandemic restrictions.
Ferragamo initially cast its gaze to the East in the '80s, landing in Hong Kong in 1986 and debuting on the mainland China market in 1995. Since then, the heritage label has expanded aggressively in China, making this market into one of its most important regional growth drivers over the past two decades. So far the brand has 62 retail stores and 18 retail outlets across the country.
The Florentine luxury house, whose shoes and handbags were favored by Hollywood cultural icons like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, embarked on a brand revamp last year under its new CEO Marco Gobbetti. In May, Gobbetti said that the company plans to double its sales in the next four to five years, with a potential investment of up to €400 million (RMB 2.75 billion) for in-store refurbishments, technology innovation, and supply chain optimization in the next three years.
The appointment of Davis as Ferragamo’s new creative director in March was an important step for the brand's rejuvenation, aimed at boosting revenue by attracting younger luxury shoppers. Gobbetti, who has a reputation for revitalizing classic fashion brands into new global powerhouses, called Davis “one of the most brilliant talents of his generation.”
The 26-year-old British-Trinidadian designer graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2017. But his creativity was cultivated from childhood within his Trinidadian-Jamaican family. Growing up surrounded by creative family members in Manchester, England, Davis has developed a unique way to tap into heritage and cross-cultural identity, making him a go-to designer for names like Rihanna and Dua Lipa.
Major updates to its brand identity followed in September, with Salvatore Ferragamo shortening its name to Ferragamo and transforming its handwritten logo into a custom serif typeface. It also unveiled a new flagship color: a deep, emotive red, registered as 3546C in Pantone color systems.
The rabbit eye series constitutes the first “capsule” designed by Davis for a special festival. The bold and avant-garde design style marks another big step for the brand’s ongoing refresh, where it will lean on distinctive designs to boost the proportion of its apparel sales. Currently, 80 percent of total sales are generated by shoes and leather goods.
Chinese culture has long lauded the rabbit, a zodiac figure believed to reflect the purity, agility and optimism that resides deeply in people’s hearts. In Tang poetry, rabbits were described as “bright as moonlight, sincere and kind by nature.”
The transcultural, timeless imagery also galvanized Davis into creating a look for the collection that merges Chinese folkloric traditions with the codes of a modernized Italian house.
Refreshingly, Davis chose to center aesthetics around the rabbit's eye instead of other well-used Chinese elements already common in the global market. The enlarged rabbit eye pattern, the central visual in the series, adorns Ferragamo’s contemporary men’s and women’s ready-to-wear garments and accessories. Silk shirts, silk skirts, wool sweaters, and urban jackets are accented with Chinese New Year red. The collection also includes classic leather items such as Trifolio Handbag, Studio handbag and clutch bag, as well as sneakers, all colored in vibrant, energetic Chinese New Year red.
The collection’s drop in China is followed by a global release slated for January 3. Chinese consumers around the world will have access to the dedicated capsule to celebrate the 2023 Lunar New Year in style.