Remembering Salvatore Ferragamo: His Lasting Impact On Shoes

While it’s been more than five decades since Salvatore Ferragamo passed away, the legendary shoemaker continues to have a major impact on the footwear business.

A pioneer known for his visionary sense of style and a client roster that ranged from Hollywood starlets to royalty, Ferragamo’s earliest U.S. boutique opened in California in 1916. By the 1920s, the Italian designer’s footwear business was well on its way to becoming a global luxury empire. Today, the U.S. market represents nearly 25 percent of sales, and all six of Ferragamo’s children are involved in the company.

The designer, who became known as “The Shoemaker to the Stars,” set out for Hollywood at a young age, forging close relationships with icons such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

He crafted a number of legendary styles, including the rainbow wedge sandal that made an unexpected appearance at the label’s spring 2015 show in Milan last fall. Another memorable standout is the Fiamma cage heel, named after the designer’s eldest daughter, who died in 1998.

Iconic Shoes
Salvatore Ferragamo rainbow platform sandal.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

A museum dedicated to Ferragamo’s life and work opened in Florence, Italy, in 1995. It continues to host unique exhibitions each year.

Click through the gallery to see some of the designer’s standout moments and the label’s current runway hits.

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