Six years after his debuting his namesake shoe collection, Paul Andrew is putting the business on hold to focus on his expanded role as Salvatore Ferragamo’s creative director.
The move, which was first reported by The New York Times, illustrates the difficult choice many young designers face as they juggle high-profile gigs with their own passion projects.
Andrew, who was promoted at Ferragamo last month, is charged with modernizing the storied family brand, maintaining its rich Italian heritage — and most importantly, propelling the business forward at a critical time. It won’t be easy, and that is likely why Andrew made the decision to concentrate solely on Ferragamo.
Andrew struck out with his own collection in 2013 after working for Donna Karan for more than a decade and holding posts at Narciso Rodriguez and Calvin Klein. Already firmly rooted in the industry, he quickly landed in Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Shopbop.com with the made-in-Italy line — all featuring exclusive materials, richly developed fabrications and handmade heels. Retail prices range from $595 to $3,000. His signatures include the Zenadia pump with scalloped topline and the architectural Chrysler heel.
“When I launched my brand, everything was about heavy platforms,” said Andrew, who won FN’s designer of the year award in 2016. “There were no single-sole shoes on the market anywhere, so I took a major risk and went for it. Thankfully, it resonated.”
Andrew, who is one of the hardest working and most connected designers in the business, caught the attention of Ferragamo as he was building his own venture. He was first appointed footwear design director in 2016, before being named the creative director for womenswear and shoes in 2017. His most recent promotion to creative director came during Milan Fashion Week.
Andrew demonstrated his formula of reworking footwear from the archives while doubling down on leather-based ready-to-wear. “I think that we should own leather clothing,” Andrew told FN backstage after the show. “Ready-to-wear is a huge opportunity for the brand. Now doing the shows, which I hope people like, we are seeing great response in the stores, and the hope is really to increase the business there.”
According to the Times, Andrew’s ’19 collection will be the final one shipped to stores, at least for now.