We at the Museeum love to explore museum shops, but in Florence you can also find a shop’s museum! In a historic Palazzo Spini Feroni, that was purchased by Salvatore Ferragamo in the 1930s you can find the flagship Ferragamo store and the museum dedicated to design genius downstairs.
The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the famous Italian shoe designer. It’s a small museum that contains 10,000 models of shoes created by the designer from the 1920s-1960 and presents not only an exclusive collection, but also various exhibits that merge art and fashion.
If you are interested in fashion this museum will surely be interesting. All fashionistas at some point ask themselves – is fashion art? Is it worth spending money on designer clothing? Fashion must be functional, be applicable in real life, it’s bond with craftsmanship removes it from the ideal of “art pour l’art”. On the other hand, Andy Warhol taught us that the uniqueness of an artwork no longer meshes with artistic production, Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades are concept first and art second. In this context, can we still talk about the dichotomy between art and fashion? These are the types of questions that the museum poses.
And everyone will answer in a different fashion! The museum offers a glance at the intersection of art and fashion throughout history. There you can imagine if you would have fit in Marylyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Greta Garbo, Anna Magnani, or Sophia Loren’s shoes, because there you’ll find the wooden casts of world-famous legs.
When Salvatore Ferragamo moved to California, bringing with him his passion for shoes and exceptional craftsmanship, his first work experience was in the movie industry. Because of this he had close relationship with film that continued to inspire him and his company for decades.
Following Ferragamo's death, the collection was expanded upon by his widow and children. Each season a number of unique and artistic shoes, designed personally by Ferragamo, are being reproduced in limited numbers (500 pairs of each style, to be exact). You can buy the shoes that you’ve just seen in the museum in the Ferragamo shop upstairs.
Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s interesting to walk around the shop after visiting the museum. You begin to notice the various details that have been kept from 1940s or 1960s that shine through in new collections. Or if you plan on buying something, the museum will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and get an extraordinary pair… Just like we did!
Tip: Although there is an elevator, the museum isn’t really suitable for wheelchairs or strollers.
Fact: The museum is now situated where the palazzo’s kitchen was in the 19th century, so throughout the museum you’ll notice the old, seemingly random signs – frigid zone, fish section, etc.