Gianfranco Ferre: at Dior and beyond

01/07/2012

Gianfranco Ferre in 2006
“Great couturier who knew how to create absolute chic with details that will remain a part of the history of fashion."
Donatella Versace

After establishing his own label, Ferre continues working on elaborate beautiful collections and becomes one of Italy’s most treasured fashion designers alongside Valentino and Armani.

Gianfranco Ferre at work, one of the Fall/Winter 1983 designs, a sketch from the Spring/Summer 1983 collection & Ferre look in the March 1984 issue of American Vogue photographed by Herb Ritts
In 1983 he joins the Domus Academy as founding Professor of the Department of Fashion Design.

a Domus Academy prospect with a list of Ferre's lectures in Fashion design

In 1984 the first fragrance, Gianfranco Ferre, a powdery combination of floral and woody notes, is launched, followed by five other perfumes that accompany new women’s and men’s wear collections including "Gianfranco Ferre Night" line that is destined to transform into Gianfranco Ferre Alta Moda two seasons late.

design and look from the Gianfranco Ferre Autumn/Winter 1985-86 collection

Being true to his philosophy and an absolute perfectionist, Ferre designs each flacon himself.

Gianfranco Ferre Donna perfume 1984
That very same year the designer receives an offer to become an artistic director for the house of Dior. Ferre declines thinking of the time and attention needed for his own label that he is successfully growing.

Gianfranco Ferre studio
On 22 July 1986 he shows his first Haute Couture collection in Rome. It includes 70 looks linked together by a harmony of classic colours: grey with white, red and black accents.

Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 1986 Haute Couture collection
Beautiful rich fabrics, embroidery, crystals, fur, crocodile skin – luxury without borders ruled by imagination and sculptural shapes. It was a triumph.

Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 1988 Haute Couture
Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 1988 Haute Couture, design, sketch & fabric swatches
Gianfranco Ferre Spring/Summer 1988 Haute Couture
That very same year Ferre introduces first fragrance for men, adds a collection of time pieces to the ever-expanding brand portfolio, that is further boosted by the "Studio by Ferre" lines for men and women in 1987 and "Furs by Ferre" in 1988.

Furs by Ferre 1988
In spring 1989 LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault approaches Ferre again and this time, in May 1989, after spending an enormous amount of time in Dior archives, Gianfranco Ferre finally agrees to design for Dior. In many ways, his move to the French fashion house was a scandal. French people struggled to see an Italian, however talented he was, as a new Dior designer. Until that very moment no foreigner was allowed such a thing. In his interview, Pierre Bergé, the chairman of Yves Saint Laurent, observed: "I don't think opening the doors to a foreigner - and an Italian - is respecting the spirit of creativity in France."

Shalom Harlow in Christian Dior Fall/Winter 1989 Haute Couture collection by Gianfranco Ferre
As it turned out, Arnault couldn’t have chosen  a better candidate to replace Mark Bohan. With his deep understanding of fashion history, the meaning of the Maison Dior as an integral part of national identity, caring attitude to details and love of all things luxurious and beautiful, Ferre was incredibly careful about his work for the house. His muse at Dior was Eva Perón, who had been one of Dior's original customers.

Shalom Harlow in Christian Dior Fall/Winter 1989 Haute Couture collection by Gianfranco Ferre
Later Ferre wrote: “It was an adventure on which it was not very easy to embark, but that turned out to be extraordinary, for my professional and creative development no less than for my human and personal one.

Ferre's design for Christian Dior Haute Couture 1997 collection
The most prestigious maison de couture in France was a temple of rituals, traditions, codes of conduct and rules, perhaps unwritten but no less hard and fast, no less binding for all that.

Gianfranco Ferre designs for Christian Dior
For weeks I studied, analysed and “breathed” his style. And so I discovered affinities and analogies… that made it possible for me to meet the challenge – between my way of understanding and interpreting elegance and that of Monsieur Dior.

My adventure “chez Dior” proved to be an extraordinary opportunity for growth and fulfillment.”
His first Haute Couture collection that was shown in July 1989, just two months after Ferre’s arrival to Dior, won him Dé d'Or award for the best Paris collection of the year. 

“The tailor of two cities” lived between Paris and Milan, on and off the plane, as the languages blended into a musical daydream and the cities became an endless source of inspiration – two mentalities, modern and sober Milanese pret-a-porter and deeply understood and appreciated luxury of Parisian fashion.

Gianfranco Ferre home at Lgenano & Stresa
Gianfranco Ferre home at Lgenano & Stresa
Gianfranco Ferre home at Lgenano & Stresa
Weekend were often spent in Stresa, his home in lake Maggiore, near Milan. It was a house of an architect. Every single detail, every item, were placed in a special order to the point of absolute perfection: every item from his collection, every small box, every vase were placed in a strict symmetry.

Gianfranco Ferre house
Even the garden was immaculate designed according to the Lago Maggiore rules and looked after by a gardener. There was never a stray twig or grass. Just roses, dozens and dozens of them. The blooms were always cut off a few days before they would drop their petals on the ground, to avoid any mess.
Ferre remained at Dior until autumn 1996 when his contract ended by mutual agreement.

Gianfranco Ferre and his models at Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1996, the last collection Ferre designed for Dior
His last Haute Couture collection for the house, Passion Indienne, was inspired by the most treasured memories of his life.

Gianfranco Ferre designs and line
He returns to Milan and, after renovating a palazzo on the Via Ponaccio to become the company headquarters, continues producing new collections under his own name.

Ferre's interiors at Via Pontaccio
Ferre's interiors at Via Pontaccio
Ferre's interiors at Via Pontaccio
He died suddenly. On Sunday, 17 June 2007, in San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, after suffering a massive brain haemorrhage.

Gianfranco Ferre RTW Spring/Summer 1991 campaign (photography: Gian Paolo Barbieri)

Photo source: Gianfranco Ferre in 2006, Gianfranco Ferre at work, one of the Fall/Winter 1983 designs, a sketch from the Spring/Summer 1983 collection & Ferre look in the March 1984 issue of American Vogue photographed by Herb Ritts, a Domus Academy prospect with a list of Ferre's lectures in Fashion design, Andie MacDowell photographed by Herb Rittz for Gianfranco Ferre Spring/Summer 1984 campaign, Ferre's sketch for the Fall/Winter 1984 collection & design and look from the Gianfranco Ferre Autumn/Winter 1985-86 collection, Gianfranco Ferre "Donna" perfume 1984, Gianfranco Ferre studio, Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 1986 Haute Couture collection, Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 1988 Haute Couture, design, sketch & fabric swatches and Spring/Summer 1988 Haute Couture, Furs by Ferre 1988, Shalom Harlow in Christian Dior Fall/Winter 1989 Haute Couture collection by Gianfranco Ferre, Ferre's design for Christian Dior Haute Couture 1997 collection, Gianfranco Ferre designs for Christian Dior, Ferre by Ferre perfume 1991, Gianfranco Ferre in 1996, Gianfranco Ferre home at Legnano & Stresa, Gianfranco Ferre house, Gianfranco Ferre and his models at Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1996, the last collection Ferre designed for Dior, Gianfranco Ferre designs and lines, Ferre's interiors at Via Pontaccio, Gianfranco Ferre RTW Spring/Summer 1991 campaign (photography: Gian Paolo Barbieri) via Fondazione Gianfranco FerreGianfranco Ferre: Lessons in FashionMaria Vittoria Alfonsi Gianfranco Ferré. L'architetto stilista, Telegraph

11 comments:

  1. Such beautiful dresses. I'd love to own a piece of his work. Hope you're well. x

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  2. wow i would love to go back then and wear those beautiful dresses!!! it was all different nowadays :)

    take care. and hope you had a wonderful weekend!

    xoxo, Haus of Gala

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  3. the last dress has immense detail! it can easily be a wedding dress

    www.trendinginfashion.blogspot.com

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  4. Thank you for another wonderful fashion week. I hope all is well, my dear. Wishing you a beautiful new week and month! xo

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  5. thank you for sharing his story. i didn't know it. what an amazing man and talent.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  6. Thanks for this wonderful and detailed story of Ferre. I really enjoyed reading this post and the previous one because, as I said before, there was just so much I didn't know about the designer.

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  7. Such a great story of Ferre. Like his work-he's a genius!

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