EST. 2009

June 26, 2017

That Architect of Fashion

THERE WEREN'T MANY JOBS FOR YOUNG ARCHITECTS IN 1960S ITALY when Gianfranco Ferré got his degree. He designed accessories for a living; an unplanned step into the fashion industry where he would eventually start his own label, and also become artistic director at Christian Dior. It was deemed controversial at the time for a non-French designer to lead a Parisian house, but Ferré's impeccable craftsmanship and innovative approach to design made him a fitting choice for the luxury brand. His creations reflected a strong architectural influence, earning him such titles as “architect of fashion” and “Frank Lloyd Wright of fashion”.

Ferré became well known for designing an array of white women's shirts that strayed from traditional patterns. He took the iconic garment, reinvented its proportions, and produced pieces that required masterful techniques. In 2015, eight years after his passing, the white shirts received a tribute through an exhibition by Milan's Palazzo Reale, the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation, and the Prato Textile Museum. La Camicia Bianca Secondo Me, or "The White Shirt According to Me" gathered and displayed drawings, photographs, installations and advertising that represent and celebrate two decades of the designer's creativity.

Among the display items were photographs by Leonardo Salvini, whose x-ray simulations of Ferré's white shirts highlighted their technical perfection. Exposing every pleat and seam, the images present the shirts from an almost architectural, blueprint-like perspective, rendering them both structural and delicate at once.

Fittingly iconic photographs of an equally iconic subject matter, Salvini's images romance both Ferré's original field of study, as well as his fashion legacy. They inspire me personally for the triumph they represent, of turning an otherwise failed attempt at a career in architecture, into one of the most celebrated fashion perspectives of the late 20th century.

Photographs of Gianfranco Ferré shirts by Leonardo Salvini,