Gianfranco Ferré /

Biography

Gianfranco Ferré was born in Legnano (Milan) on August 15, 1944.
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After earning his high school diploma specializing in sciences foto, he enrolled in the School of Architecture at the Milan Polytechnic Institute
foto. In 1969 he graduated, presenting a thesis on the “Methodology of the Approach to Composition” with Franco Albini, an architect, as his major professor.

His very first, quite off-hand entry into the world of fashion took place in the same years. Ferré designed jewelry and accessories foto that he would then give to friends and classmates. Rosy Biffi, a true talent scout as well as the owner of one of Milan’s edgiest boutiques, had occasion to notice the creations. She mentioned them to Ileana Pareto Spinola and Anne Sophie Benazzo, two women who were so impressed by these handcrafted items that they suggested buyers might take an interest in them. At that point prominent Italian fashion editors (initially, Anna Piaggi and Anna Riva) happened to spy the creations. This led to coverage in major specialty mags foto, and in 1971 one of the accessories appeared on the cover of the Italian monthly Arianna.

Ferré’s early debut on the scene proved very successful. It even attracted the attention of leading Italian journalist Camilla Cederna, who talked about Ferré in her weekly column for the newsmagazine L’Espresso.

In 1973, the young architect-designer made the first of his many trips to India, where up until 1977 he spent long periods working for the Genoa-based San Giorgio Impermeabili clothing company owned by the Borelli family. In India he designed and had manufactured the company’s “Ketch” collection. foto

At the same time, he had the chance to visit every part of the country and to study local craftsmanship and production potential, also on behalf of the Indian government.

Ferré fell literally under the spell of India, a land where he consolidated his professional training and embarked on his creative path. From India he learned a fundamental lesson of life, all about the colors, scents and shapes forming a whole with feelings, sensations and emotions. It’s a lesson that he would later transfer to and instill inextricably in his collections, through his own remarkable way of reminiscing and remembering. foto

In the same years, during his stays in Italy, he did free-lance work designing accessories for prominent fashion names such as Walter Albini and Christiane Bailly, as well as knitwear and swimwear for other companies in the sector. His swimsuits debuted on the catwalk at the “MareModa Capri” event, winning a prize that marked the first of many the designer would earn throughout the course of his career.

In 1974, Gianfranco Ferré began designing his first collections, hosting his first fashion shows, in particular for the “Courlande” foto and the “Baila” labels foto, the latter which belonged to Franco Mattioli, a Bolognese industrialist who in 1978 would become his business partner.

In May of 1978, in fact, the Gianfranco Ferré company was set up on Via San Damiano foto in Milan (later the headquarters would move to Via della Spiga).

In October of the same year, Ferré presented his debut signature women’s ready-to-wear collection with a show at the Principe di Savoia Hotel in Milan foto, Truly a thrilling moment.

In addition to the launch of the men’s clothing line in 1982 foto, and to the introduction of a wide range of accessories and other products on license in partnership with leading companies in the various respective sectors, Ferré made a mark with two other key experiences: the creation of his own Alta Moda collection (1986-1989) foto and his extraordinary adventure at the finest and most storied of French fashion houses.

In 1983, he helped to develop the curriculum for Domus Academy, the new Milan-based Design, Design Management and Fashion Design Post-graduate School where up until 1989 he taught the course in Dress Design: analysis of dress design and relation to changing fashion, analysis of the design project from start to finish. foto foto foto

In May of 1989, Gianfranco Ferré was appointed Artistic Director of Christian Dior for the women’s Haute Couture foto, Prêt à Porter and Fourrure (Fur) lines. foto

Confirmation of the Dior appointment up to 1996 came in 1993. foto

In the fall of 1998, on the occasion of the brand’s twentieth anniversary
foto, a series of events important for the company’s future culminated with the grand opening in Milan of the new headquarters on Via Pontaccio: in the former Gondrand building, totally renovated for Ferré by interior designer/architect Marco Zanuso, then completed by Franco Raggi both on the level of the executive project and interior architecture.
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In 2002, the Gianfranco Ferré Company was acquired by Tonino Perna’s IT Holding Group. Gianfranco Ferré became Artistic Director of the house.

In March of 2007, Gianfranco Ferré was appointed President of the Brera Fine Arts Academy in Milan. foto

After suffering a brain hemorrhage, Gianfranco Ferré died in Milan on June 17, 2007. foto foto

 

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