New Salvatore Ferragamo collection lets you step into styles worn by Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino

If you’ve ever wanted to walk in the shoes of Hollywood golden era stars Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford, now’s your chance — kind of — thanks to a limited-edition capsule collection from Italian luxury label Salvatore Ferragamo.

The Italy in Hollywood collection, which is set to hit a dozen Ferragamo stores around the world later this month (including the Beverly Hills boutique locally) and, consists of three silhouettes for women and three for men, each replicating a shoe worn by one of the screen stars shod by the namesake designer during his years living in Southern California from 1915 to 1927.

The Bella, a black, brushed calfskin pump with an asymmetrical, magnolia-colored, nappa bow on the vamp ($1,050), is a faithful re-creation of the pumps worn on screen by Swanson in the 1928 film “Sadie Thompson.” The magnolia-colored Assoluta ($1,090), identifiable by its contrasting black toe cap and double straps across the instep, brings back to life a pair that can be seen on the feet of Mary Pickford as she sits with Douglas Fairbanks at a Cairo hotel in late 1929. And the geometric-patterned snakeskin and kidskin Foxtrot ($1,390) is a modern-day doppelgänger of the shoe Ferragamo created for longtime customer Joan Crawford in 1932.

The men’s options include brown calfskin riding boots ($2,500) and two-tone nubuck and calfskin Oxfords (in two color combinations; magnolia/black and cognac/brown, $1,150 each), referencing styles worn by Rudolph Valentino from 1921 to 1926.


Ferragamo found himself rubbing elbows with — and designing shoes for — the above clients and other Hollywood stars of the day (think Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, Mae West and Fairbanks) during the years he worked out of the Hollywood Boot Shop at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue. (The shop’s address was 6683 Hollywood Blvd., according to The Times’ archive.)

His footwear also was featured in more than a few films, including Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” (1923), for which he reportedly was commissioned to make more than 12,000 pairs of sandals, and “The Seven Year Itch” (1955), in which the only thing between Marilyn Monroe and the skirt-billowing subway grate was a pair of Ferragamo stilettos.

Ferragamo’s years in Southern California (first in Santa Barbara and later L.A.) are the subject of a new exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferrragamo in Florence, Italy, and the current capsule collection, timed to hit retail in conjunction with the exhibition’s May 25 opening, will go a long way toward underscoring the deep relationship between the brand and the entertainment industry for the folks who won’t be in Florence before the exhibition closes next March.

Only 95 of this special-edition Studio Bag ($2,700) are being produced, a nod to the 95th anniversary of the opening of the Hollywood Boot Shop by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1923.
(Salvatore Ferragamo )


Ferragamo also is referencing Hollywood with special incarnations of its new Studio Bag, the first new handbag design under Paul Andrew, who took the reins as women’s creative director in late 2017. The sturdy, rectangular, calfskin bag, with the company’s backward-horseshoe Gancini logo clasp and studded metal feet on the bottom, is being issued in two limited-edition versions — one metallic silver and the other color-blocked black and brown.

Only 95 of each edition — a nod to the 95th anniversary of Ferragamo’s opening of the Hollywood Boot Shop — will be available for purchase starting May 15 ($2,700, available at and select retail boutiques).

“Italy in Hollywood” exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Florence, Italy, from May 25 through March 10, 2019.

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