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MAXIMILIAN DAVIS continues to enthral at Ferragamo, where the Manchester-born designer currently reigns.

For Ferragamo’s autumn-winter 2023 collection, Davis decided to look into the cultural ties between the house and Hollywood. However, for this season, he decided to intertwine more of his own personal roots.

Known for his family-driven design approach, Davis taps into his Caribbean heritage in order to evolve his design style for the latest offering.

Speaking on the decision, the designer said: “I wanted things to feel a lot lighter, both in terms of fabric and construction but also in terms of how people want to dress. There’s a familiarity I have found in the Italian way of dressing and living: an effortlessness which feels very Caribbean. The idea of doing everything at your own pace, on your own time.”

Combining traditional dress codes from both cultures, Davis infuses the collection with his signature expertise and craftsmanship. The young designer also found inspiration from Italy’s Arte Povera movement.

The Arte Povera moment belongs to a group of young Italian artists who were particularly active during the late 1960s.

Predominantly based in Turin and Rome, the artists disliked figurative art and classicism and, instead, would make their art using banal, mundane items. Materials such as wood, coal, fire and jute were used to create intricate, conceptual masterpieces.

Davis calls upon this creative attitude and presents carefully crafted wooden accessories, cotton pieces – which have been treated to appear as leather – and more industrial elements appearing through discreet detailing. “I really wanted the pieces to feel very pure and honest; for the collection to be relatable within a wardrobe, but interesting in terms of the touch of the hand,” said Davis.

Juxtaposing natural fabrics with technical hardware and adornments, the collection dissects the balance between freedom and restraint. Smooth, gentle silhouettes are contrasted against impeccable leather tailoring to heighten the drama of the inherent dichotomy.

Viscose jersey drapery, found in both 18th-century Caribbean dress and Florentine dress, is styled with leather bodices in order to call upon Renaissance ideals – a common source of inspiration for the designer.

Additionally, this collection continues to present pieces in a much more contemporary light. Pairing elegant evening-wear dresses with patented boots or cropped fitted loungewear shorts, the designer imbues aspects of fetishism into the seasonal offering.

“Fetishism is something that runs through the DNA of my work,” read the show notes. “There’s something modern about incorporating that in your daily life and daily wardrobe.”

Additionally, the house is considered very highly for its accessories – particularly its shoes and bags. For SS24, nappa latex shoes and gaucho lak boots embody Davis’ signature codes.

Meanwhile, the Calypso – an archival style from the 1950s – influences the design of a 3D printed, galvanised banana cage heel. In terms of menswear, the house’s classic styles have been adapted to align with present-day dressing ideals.  Oxfords, moccasins and driver shoes have been reimagined and reinterpreted to have a new, subversive flair.

The handbags of the collection are equally intriguing. The Hug bag appears as a high-shine pouch with new canvas and leather finishes – available in a plethora of bold shades.

Marrying various cultural dress codes with Ferragamo’s contemporary aesthetic, Davis continues to make revolutionary waves at the Italian heritage brand.

by Sophie Richardson


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