Salvatore Ferragamo (5 June 1898 – 7 August 1960) was an Italian shoe designer and the founder of luxury goods high-end retailer Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. An innovative shoe designer, Salvatore Ferragamo, established a reputation in the 1930s. In addition to experimenting with materials including kangaroo, crocodile, and fish skin, Ferragamo drew on historic inspiration for his shoes.
Salvatore (registered as „Salvadore”) made his first pair of shoes for himself, a pair of high heels, at age nine (and his sisters to wear at their confirmation), young Salvatore decided that he had found his calling.
After studying shoemaking in Naples for a year, Ferragamo opened a small store based in his parents’ home. In 1914, he emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where one of his brothers worked in a cowboy boot factory. After a brief stint at the factory, Ferragamo convinced his brothers to move to California, first Santa Barbara then Hollywood. It was there that Ferragamo found success, initially opening a shop for repair and made-to-measure shoes, leading to a long period of designing footwear for the cinema.
After spending thirteen years in the US, Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927, settling in Florence.
Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960 at the age of 62, but his name lives on as an international company, which has expanded its operations to include luxury shoes, bags, eyewear, silk accessories, watches, perfumes and a ready-to-wear clothing line. At his death, his wife Wanda and later their six children (Fiamma, Giovanna, Fulvia, Ferruccio, Massimo and Leonardo) ran the company. The company is owned by the Ferragamo family, which in November 2006 included Salvatore’s widow Wanda, five children, 23 grandchildren and other relatives. There is a rule that only three members of the family can work at the company, prompting fierce competition.
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