“What is genius? How does a system begin, be it film or fashion? And how does an intense obsession with the constant search for new ideas and creation meld with tradition and family values? The life of Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960), a leading player and observer of the 20th century, is the answer to these questions.”
Bringing us full circle back to film, with a feature-length documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino, to be presented at the Venice Film Festival – Salvatore Ferragamo’s autobiography, details the life of a pioneer who unintentionally bound his story to the world of film, with an equally unrivalled and timeless creative genius.
Beginning in 2017, the documentary which was inspired by the autobiography, traces every minute step of Ferragamo’s artistic journey, through reiterating the story behind the man. Showcasing the two deeply interwoven worlds that he inhabited: Italy and America, the film follows Salvatore from his birthplace in the Southern Italian region of Campania to the United States, from apprentice shoemaker in Naples to owner of the Hollywood Boot Shop in California, to his decision to return to Italy, to live and work in Florence, mastering his craft and rising to success as a businessman. All this in the span of one life marked by genius and intuition, the very traits that helped him overcome the difficulties he faced.
In order to present the most accurate depictions of Salvatore Ferragamo’s esteemed life, Luca Guadagnino reached out to the Ferragamo family, who opened the doors of the fashion brand’s archives to him, giving him access to interviews, family anecdotes and other information, as well as the final, precious words of Wanda Miletti, Salvatore’s wife. “We were overjoyed to learn that the film about my father’s life would be presented at the Venice Film Festival,” announced Ferruccio Ferragamo, “It is an honour for me and my entire family that a director of Luca Guadagnino’s calibre would take an interest in our family history, adapting it for the big screen.”
For three years, Fondazione Salvatore Ferragamo and Museo Salvatore Ferragamo worked with the director and screenwriter Dana Thomas, sharing historical expertise and in-depth knowledge. The tape recordings of Salvatore reading aloud some of the chapters of his autobiography, which were restored for the occasion, and the radio interviews he gave in Australia also proved invaluable for their research.