The collection had a vaguely 1970s, bohemian spirit.
The best thing about Salvatore Ferragamo’s spring collection was the molto Italian palette, from the distinctive mustard shades of buildings in Milan to the weathered blues and pale pinks you might encounter strolling around historic sites in Florence. It was largely “on brand.”
The dry, often papery fabrics also fulfilled Guillaume Meilland’s promise during a preview that it was a very summer-minded collection, evoking the desert, or the hot, dry climes of southern Italy.
Too bad the collection didn’t exalt those promising ingredients. The clothes were often too plain for the runway, or too tricky, especially all the short dresses with built-in breechcloths.
In fairness, Meilland, conscripted as Ferragamo’s men’s ready-to-wear design director in 2016, has the herculean task of leading the design team through a tumultuous period that has seen the departures of creative director Paul Andrew and chief executive officer Micaela le Divelec Lemmi. Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s current CEO, is to arrive at the management helm of Ferragamo sometime next year.
No wonder Meilland let the Ferragamo archive, which includes some 14,000 pairs of shoes, be his spirit guide for spring 2022. His reflection on the brand yielded such guiding phrases as “new formal” and “inventive craft,” which were spelled out on his mood board, along with a bounty of fashion images from the 1960s and 1970s. A scarf from the archive depicting poppies on an animal-print background was the main inspiration for prints, which ended up looking muddy.
One outside inspiration was “The Obscure Object of Desire,” the 1977 film about a dysfunctional relationship starring Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina.
Meilland described “oriental” touches, such as upturned toes on Dutch clogs in a natural leather, and said he also wished to convey a “voluptuous sensuality.”
All those ideas didn’t quite congeal. Let’s just call it a transitional collection with that bohemian, vaguely ‘70s spirit popular this Milan season.