Ferragamo updates classic shoe with attitude

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — When Salvatore Ferragamo wanted to reboot its classic Vara shoe style, it turned to young tastemakers and asked them to put their spin on it.

The shoes, with their signature grosgrain bow, gold hardware and midheight heel, ended up similar to the original; it's the attitude they're worn with that has changed.

Olivia Palermo created a two-tone blue shoe for strolls through Paris, and Camilla Belle made hers in beige patent leather with a crisp white ribbon to wear with an ethereal peach-colored garden party dress. Alexandra Richards went for black on black. She said she'd wear them "with tight blue or black jeans, a T-shirt and my leather jacket."

Definitely, no stuffy skirt suits here.

To show the 35-year-old shoes — and their younger, flat-heel sister the Varina — in this new light, Ferragamo launched an online project called "L'Icona" on the brand's website Wednesday.

Portrait photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank was the curator and art director for the project, which incorporates a short film and still photographs of Richards, Belle, Palermo and their fashion-forward peers, including Lily Aldridge and Elettra Weidemann. Frank, who created the book "American Beauty," usually uses the signature of bare feet in her pictures, so this is a bit of an inside joke.

"Both Vara and Varina are frequently worn by young fashion girls, models and celebrities around the world, so we decided to choose 20 VIP international style icons that embody the inherently chic spirit of the shoe and the timeless modernity of our brand," said James Ferragamo, director of women's leather goods.

Ferragamo is also taking orders for custom-designed Varas from its shoppers, who can make their own color combinations and fabric choices.

Customization is the wave of the future, and it won't be long until everything is personalized, Richards said.

But that doesn't mean throwing out the classics.

"Classic means originality to me, the first and the best," she said.




Follow Samantha Critchell at —

and —