The next time you slip on a pair of wedges, take a moment to thank Salvatore Ferragamo, creator and grand poo-ba of some of the most iconic shoes in modern footwear history. The company has evolved from shoes and handbags (daughter Fiamma Ferragamo designed the first bags) to a full range of clothing and accessories for men and women.
The family-owned Italian-based company proves there’s still plenty of love for luxury goods, no matter what the economy, thanks to the Ferragamo faithful who fell in love with the cork shoe or stiletto heel so many years ago. Vincent Ottomanelli, president and regional director of Ferragamo USA, who was in Houston to celebrate the recently expanded and remodeled boutique in The Galleria, chatted about the storied shoe collection and just who the Ferragamo woman is.
Q: Let’s get the obvious question out of the way. How has the recent world economy affected Ferragamo?
A: It has been a challenge, but we are holding our own nicely. We have fewer entry level shoppers, but we are still selling and people are beginning to feel comfortable shopping again. Ferragamo just feels so good on the body. Once you go Ferragamo, you never go back.
Q: Was their ever a question about the Houston store?
A: Not at all. Houston is a very important market and one of our better producers. We were thrilled for the opportunity to expand and we can do more business in the new space.
Q: Ferragamo is known for its innovation, especially with shoes. What can we expect in the future?
A: Look for more ornamental bows and the Gancini clasp used in more innovative ways on future products.
Q: How is Ferragamo staying fresh and relevant?
A: Other brands invent history, but we already have one. We can go back and look at the shoes from the past and how they still look amazing now. We attract new customers all the time.
Q: Who is the quintessential Ferragamo girl?
A: She is sophisticated, elegant, trendy. She is Eva Longoria, Jennifer Anniston and Gwyneth Paltrow. They all wear Ferragamo. We also think Michelle Obama is a Ferragamo girl. She just hasn’t worn us…yet.