Last month, Italian luxury label Salvatore Ferragamo had a flurry of fashion activity in Southern California. The brand outfitted a bumper crop of stars during awards season, including actors Gerard Butler and Zachary Quinto, who were at Vanity Fair’s Oscars party; skier Gus Kenworthy and boyfriend Matt Wilkas, who attended the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards viewing party; and “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah and “Avengers: Endgame” star Chris Evans for the Oscars.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the Florentine fashion house, which presented its fall/winter 2019 collection last month in Milan, also launched one of the brand’s newest stores — this one at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, which replaced a former store there.
A three-piece mini collection of goods featuring blue skies and nature motifs of flora and fauna was introduced as part of the new store celebration. The three accessories — a handbag and two pairs of shoes — commemorate the years the late designer spent in Southern California between 1915 and 1927.
The strappy shoes, which come in two heel heights, share the same pattern as the bag — a pale ivory background lavishly printed with pretty lake-blue birds, flower petals and leaves, and the surprising addition of turbaned men, one in a rowboat and the other riding a horse.
The pieces — the handbag is $1,890; the shoes are $950 — are exclusive to the new store, which opened last month. The store moved from one location in the upscale shopping center to another.
According to a Ferragamo representative, the 5,500-square-foot space was designed by William Sofield of Studio Sofield in New York and features additional throwbacks to the legendary shoe designer. For example, some areas use wood and cork accents; Ferragamo incorporated those materials into his earliest footwear.
Customers to the boutique, which carries the full range of fashion and accessories for men and women, can lounge on plush seating made from pink velvet and bouclé or red leather. Art Deco-influenced lamps are another reminder of Salvatore Ferragamo’s time in the Golden State.
Ferragamo, who died in 1960, had worked out of the Hollywood Boot Shop, at Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue, in the early 1920s. That’s where he repaired and created footwear for the stars of the day, including Greta Garbo and Mae West.
During his Hollywood run, he was commissioned to make shoes, among them 12,000 pairs of sandals for the 1923 movie “The Ten Commandments,” directed by Cecil B. De Mille.
The Italian designer established himself as a force in footwear, and subsequently in ready-to-wear, upon his return to Florence, Italy, in the late 1920s. His widow, Wanda Ferragamo, served as honorary president of the luxury empire until her death last year.