“That was beautiful. Wow,” said the artist Tyler Mitchell immediately after Maximilian Davis’s star-studded Ferragamo debut. He spoke for the rest of the front row, packed with Davis’s friends and supporters from around the world, who had flown in to support the 27-year-old’s campaign to turn Ferragamo into a modern ready-to-wear juggernaut. (Davis started by lopping off “Salvatore” for a logo redesigned by creative legend Peter Saville, whose imprimatur has also marked new beginnings for Burberry and Calvin Klein.) Held at the palatial site of what will eventually be a Ferragamo hotel, it felt like a family reunion of Davis’s biggest supporters from London, where he made his name designing sensual slips: Naomi Campbell and Edward Enninful had a confab among the stone pillars, while Skepta posed for photos in a fresh Ferragamo belt. Mitchell and model Jordan Barrett, meanwhile, sported elegant new suits of Davis’s design: Mitchell a dark navy three-button blazer over flowy trousers with jaunty knee cutouts, and Barrett a radiant white suit with flared sleeves. Classics, dusted off for a young and sophisticated customer.
Out came one of those suits in a chill shade of tan, and another, with shorts, rendered in lustrous black leather. Palate cleansers, really, to make the fiery red trousers and matching slick tank tops peppered through the rest of the collection feel that much hotter. “When joining Ferragamo, the Ferragamo red was very quiet, very dark,” Davis said after the show. “And I felt like the new energy that I wanted to bring was about making it more vibrant…So we made that statement that this is the new Ferragamo, this is the new color for the brand.” It’s a clever branding move that will, hopefully, hit with the same force as “Bottega Green” and Valentino’s searing bubblegum pink. Notably, there was little overt branding to be found on the clothes or accessories, and not a single Gancini-link loafer to speak of. A lapel-less black tuxedo with a delicate silk scarf plunging off the back—“I really wanted to have this crossover between men’s and womenswear, playing with the fabrications and using the more feminine fabrics for men’s tailoring,” Davis said—made it even more clear that this is not your lawyer’s Ferragamo.