“Jewellery is one of the most important expressions, a flexible and versatile way of translating ideas and emotions into reality. Or bringing dreams to life.”
Jewellery was Ferre’s first love, never ending passion, a hobby inspired by his fascination with precision, craftsmanship, forms and materials and a way to express his vision of beauty.
He began making jewellery while studying architecture: whenever he had some time to spear, he was found moulding and combining leather and metals into bracelets and belts, which Gianfranco would later give to friends as presents.
Ferre's future changed when his childhood friend Isa Bertolini introduced him to Rosy Biffi and Franco Limonta, the owners of Biffi, the most popular Milanese boutique. The couple then approached the young man with an offer to design a small collection of leather accessories. At first Ferre refused blaming it on the upcoming exams, but eventually accepted.
A few weeks later Isa’s sister, Luciana Bertolini was spotted at a fancy party wearing a leather bracelet made by Ferre. The accessory caught attention of Anna Piaggi, an editor of Italian Vogue, who quickly sensed a new talent and immediately contacted Gianfranco asking if he would be able to design a few pieces for the upcoming New York photoshoot.
And so, from bijoux to jewellery, his journey as a designer has began. Ferre stopped working as an architect and completely devoted himself to the new project.
Everything he designed was “linked to the “physicality” of human form”, focusing attention on the key points of the figure: a long neck, shoulders, wrists and waist. The pieces were placed strategically to construct the body, lengthen it, add a touch of sensuality with a tinkling of bracelets, a necklace that caressed the neck or a wide belt that would mark the movement of the hips.
He saw jewellery as a mirror of the clothing, one impossible without the other, but at the same time, as individual as a woman who wore it. In its most opulent form, the cascades of precious stones and beads laid over a bare flesh would replace a part of an outfit, becoming an item of clothing – it was a beautiful extreme, a totally new vision.
Photo source: Gianfranco Ferre Jewellery Campaign Fall/Winter 1994-1995 (photography: Tyen), Gianfranco Ferre jewellery & accessories, 1969-1970 , Gianfranco Ferre collections: Spring/Summer 1989 campaign by Herb Ritts, Spring/Summer 1993 ready-to-wear collection, Fall/Winter 1993-1994 ready-to-wear collection & Fall/Winter 1992-1993 ready-to-wear by Gian Paolo Barbieri, Gianfranco Ferre jewellery campaigns & collections: Fall/Winter 1993 campaign by Tyen, Spring/Summer 1990 campaign by Gian Paolo Barbieri, Spring/Summer 1991 by Gian Paolo Barbieri, Spring/Summer 1993 by Tyen, Spring/Summer 1993 ready-to-wear, Spring/Summer 1993 campaign by Gian Paolo Barbieri, via Gianfranco Ferre: Lessons in Fashion