No visible Gancini, no trumpeted Hollywood angle, no oversized cutout bags—and, Look 29 aside, what ever happened to Ferragamo red? Now three shows in, Maximilian Davis is learning while doing: Along the way, he seems wisely unafraid to change elements in his direction in order to steer Ferragamo to the destination it craves. The result this morning was in various ways his most interesting and appealing collection for the house so far.

Backstage, Davis ran smoothly through various seasonal inspirations in this order: Italian marble; the mixed materiality of Arte Povera; sage green; the complex, representationally subversive art of Agostino Brunias painted in 18th-century Hispaniola; and Renaissance armor. A subtle continuation of the early-1950s themes touched more forcefully upon in earlier collections was delivered here via acutely waisted asymmetrical dresses and menswear tailoring that in Look 59 seemed a direct homage to the juvenile style of Italian style-paragon Gianni Agnelli.

The marble reflected the beading on new banana-heel versions of Ferragamo’s 1956 Calipso sandal. The mixed materiality ran through the collection, with the insertion of metal hardware within necklines and panels of leather in a closing section that reflected Davis’s research into armor. The green (momentarily an unclaimed shade in fashion) was evident in a series of impactful leather pieces.

As for the work of Brunias, Davis said it was reflected in the loose, layered cotton pieces that echoed the artist’s depictions of freed people made shortly before the rise of the revolutionary Toussaint Louverture—who wore Brunias miniatures on the buttons of his freedom fighter’s tunic. Ferragamo’s seasoned Tuscan touch for generating sleek luxuriousness, as ever most exquisitely exhibited through its footwear, rendered these complex ingredients into a visually attractive whole that revealed its obliquely coded details via the attention and scrutiny Davis’s work increasingly rewards.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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