After a seven-month stand on Wilshire Boulevard, Italian luxury label Salvatore Ferragamo is back in its former Rodeo Drive digs, which have been extensively renovated to pay homage to the brand's DNA and underscore its century-long relationship with Hollywood.
Although the 10,000-square-foot footprint of the ground-level store hasn't changed, that's about all that hasn't. What was formerly a relatively open space has been divided by new interior walls into a handful of smaller, more intimate-feeling rooms by architect William Sofield. Each focuses on a different product: shoes, handbags, footwear, silks, small leather goods and the men's and women's ready-to-wear collections.
The sleek, stripped-back aesthetic the space had before has been replaced with an Art Deco feel thanks to materials including silver travertine and rose-colored Etruscan marble accented in curving silver metal and mirrored glass.
References abound to some of Ferragamo's best-known designs: Cork side tables are a nod to the cork wedge, and glass-rod floor lamps and upholstered leather chairs with bulbous, onion-like glass feet call to mind Ferragamo's Invisible Sandal.
On Rodeo Drive, having a place to cater to VIP clients is nearly as important as having electricity, and the redesign is done in such a way that the two sections showcasing the men's and women's collections can be quickly converted into private dressing areas by swinging out immense floor-to-ceiling wall panels of silver metal and frosted glass.
A less-subtle acknowledgement of the label's celebrity clientele appears in a wall-mounted video screen serving up clips of famous friends and clients like Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn and Madonna. (Two additional screens loop videos of the men's and women's fall and winter 2015 runway collections.)
That might be considered akin to hanging a celebrity headshot behind the counter, but Ferragamo's relationship with Hollywood — 101 years and counting — is pretty impressive. Namesake founder Salvatore Ferragamo came to Southern California in 1914 from Italy and began his career here by making custom shoes for the movie studios. (His shoe designs have appeared in films such as "The Ten Commandments," "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like It Hot.") And before returning to Italy in 1927, he opened his first retail space here: the Hollywood Boot Shop at the corner of Hollywood and Las Palmas boulevards in 1923.
To celebrate the face-lifted Ferragamo flagship, which re-opened its doors on Rodeo in the first week of August, the brand's creative director, Massimiliano Giornetti, has designed two Art Deco-inspired pieces that will be bricks-and-mortar exclusive to the Beverly Hills boutique: a black-and-gold envelope bag ($2,100) and a pair of black-and-gold suede calfskin shoes ($1,290).
Both hit store shelves there (as well as on www.Ferragamo.com) on Sept. 9 — the same day the brand is scheduled to throw its official, star-studded, invitation-only, grand re-opening bash.
Salvatore Ferragamo Beverly Hills, 357 N. Rodeo Drive, open 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
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