It is the unstable balance between elegance and freedom that runs through the entire spring-summer 2024 collection designed by Maximilian Davis for Ferragamo, presented during Milan Fashion Week. All the looks collaborate together for a new idea of Italian tailoring with the intention of recognizing themselves in a clear identity, made of pure, sincere and honest garments. The next season seems to question the traditional idea of wardrobe, only to stand out from the clear desire for lightness and composure, daughter of the Caribbean spirit that characterizes the designer’s background. Indeed, a strong parallelism between Italian and Caribbean codes arises among the aura of the clothes, an inspiration of contrasts that creates for all intents and purposes an ensemble of sophisticated silhouettes. Maximilian Davis proposes as one does in a choreography, a choral work on rigor, on the search for forms and, above all, on the harmony of a rhythm, giving to the eyes of most a lesson in poetic minimalism that sinks in a necessary way into the history of Made in Italy. Indeed, it is tailoring that is the great element to be questioned on the catwalk.
“I wanted each element to feel much lighter, not only because of the fabrics and constructions, but also because of the correspondence to the way people really want to dress.”
In addition to inspiration toward codes from his homeland, the collection also rethinks the contrasts represented by the Italian Arte Povera movement, which often juxtaposed natural materials with industrial elements, elevating the everyday through deep conceptual reflection. On the runway, linen and simple cottons are paired with elegance and precision, paired on the satins of capes or treated to take on the look of leather; accessories and sculptural details in polished wood along with severe silhouettes cut in natural fabrics once again reiterate the reflection on lightness. Just as in Arte Povera, signs are reduced to the bare minimum by impoverishing them to their archetypes, Ferragamo’s woman, worn of essential clothes and rigorous cuts, is contaminated with utility elements that give dynamism to the looks. Body-hugging lines of color-block knits and draped dresses that emphasize and caress the body alternate with the floaty volumes of printed silk tunics. The use of color is also poetic and calming, a clear sky blue that instills well-being, the waxed satin trench coat and suit that mimic the effect of green skin sublimate the desire to wear that color, and then, in the finale the black patent leather bodice.
“There is a feeling of familiarity that I recognize in the Italian way of dressing and living: a naturalness very close to the Caribbean spirit. It is the idea of always being able to follow one’s own rhythm, and one’s own time.”
The impeccable lines of the tailored silhouettes of the 1950s deviate to a dimension of fluidity. Soft viscose jersey draperies-inherited from the Florentine heritage and evoked by 18th-century Caribbean gowns-meet the image of Renaissance armor, with shaped bodices in brushed leather and rigid, shiny inserts. On the runway, men’s very short shorts influenced by loungewear, twisted shirts, high patent leather boots. The shapes to which the designer gives body through repetition are sensitive and bold, such as the detailing in latex nappa leather and gaucho Iak, materials that recall Davis’s aesthetic imprint by resorting to the mastery of Ferragamo’s ateliers. Everything is designed for comfort and practicality, such as the new banana heel-cage with a precious gold finish, inspired by the archival model from 1955, Calipso. The exploration of masculinity, on the other hand, is done by the brand’s entire heritage, reinvented with the lexicon of contemporaneity: oxfords, loafers and driver models are deconstructed or finished with contrasting latex inserts.
“Fetishism is inherent in the DNA of my work, there is something very modern about wanting to incorporate it into everyday life and wardrobe.”
With this recipe made from a constant balance between simplicity and modernity, between conceptual and commercial, Davis has crafted a desirable collection, that is, one full of garments and accessories to want to wear, yet he has done so while maintaining a certain magic in the narrative. The Ferragamo SS24 fashion show is an act of humility and also a lesson in looking back at product history to look forward.