Gianfranco Ferré Foundation /



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Milan, June 14, 2007. Milan Polytechnic. School of Design. Graduate course in Fashion Design


“We prefer to stand with our feet firmly on the ground, but with our head among the stars (Mies Van Der Rhoe)

A declaration on intent. Reason or emotion?

The first postulate

In principle there is form because every garment is, in the first place, a formal design.

The second postulate

The necessary form is that of the human body, with its physicality, its real requirements of movement, its dynamics of relationship with what covers and what surrounds it.

The third postulate

Form has a substance, which is the material.

The dynamics of the design process

Taking Apart

Many people have described my clothes as works of “textile architecture”. I like the definition.It clearly conveys the idea of wht clothing is for me: the result of an encounter between form and material “guided” by the designer’s hand. I would not choose to use any other definitions. I would simply add this: my clothes are works of textile architecture conceived for the body. Which the body brings to life.

Istanbul, December 8, 2006 International Herald Tribune. Luxury Conference 2006


The Global Intelligence of Fashion

Fashion without Borders

The Lesson of the East
The Thousand Souls of India
The China of “Raise the Red Lanterns”
Japan, Graceful Warrior
Other Horizons: Out of Africa
A Thousand and One Nights
In the Jungle: from Africa to Amazonia
Mexico Hermoso

Pampas & Tango Glamour
On the Sea
: from Hawaii to Punta del Este

Milano, 17 novembre 2003. Centro Culturale Francese. Il lunedì degli amici milanesi


“Gianfranco Ferré: the tailor of two cities.” Out of a sense of impartiality, I am starting this relation on my French adventure which lasted over seven years with a definition that was pinned on me by an American magazine in the years of my creative- as well as physical and geographic- commuting between Milan and Paris.

… my adventure chez Dior proved to be an extraordinary opportunity for growth and fullfillment. I never felt the slightest sensation of a split between being Ferré and being Dior.

…after ten years of prêt-à-porter, my approach to the absolute “Frenchness” of the the Dior style could only be pragmatic, rooted in design and highly logical. I a word: very Milanese. And very Ferré.

I transferred the value and the importance of design into couture: the design of the garment as outcome of a reasoned intervention in the forms…

Shanghai, 26 aprile 2001. Fashion Institute. Dong Hua University


A virtue and occasional vice. Creativity is one of the fundamental components of the Italian culture and character. It is a sort of flair and at the same time a question of application and precision, a touch of brilliance and a joint effort, just like in the workshops of the Renaissance masters, which have left us all those pictures, statues, frescoes and churches

“L’inspiration c’est travailler”, said Charles Baudelaire, well aware that the momentum comes from working every day, from constant tenacity, from an understanding of technique so deep that you are not trapped by it

… my daily activity , in the first place through drawing.

It is in a second phase that i draw on my training in geometry and my knowledge of Oriental methods, like origami and the forms af assembly derived from it.

What count, then, are the “elective affinities” with design. As an architect I hold that fashion is design-defined as the act of trasformationthat leads from the idea to the object-and that the relationship between architecture and fashion is very close.

If I look at the origins of my creativity, I discover that what I do every day is a mode of operation with ancient roots : a “humanistic” attitude that finds its expressive force in the cult of quality and beauty , the sense of tradition, the love of harmony. My creativity takes on concrete form in the daily confrontation with forms, colors and materials: it is an exercisein rigor and determination; it is the continual deside to innovate and experiment.

Cernobbio; September 11, 1999. Villa d’Este. Fondazione Antonio Ratti. International Textile Forum. Complexity and Turbulence in the Textile Market: Challenges for the New Millennium


Preliminary remarks: Awareness…

I cannot help but agree that there is turbulence in today’s textile market. Turbulence or rather inconsistency, the combination of different and contrasting tendencies and phenomena, “movements” that are not always immediately comprehensible and identifiable…

The globalization of the economy, that is to say of consumption and taste, also involves the globalization of the information that reaches everyone without distinction and is growing every day infinitely faster, more incisive and more powerful…

As a consequence , the recognizability of fashion and the label have grown in the eyes of public. Their desiderability has grown too, but from a different perspective than in the past, at least in the “mature” markets. People no longer think in terms of status symbols, but of style symbols…

The Emerging Responses of Creativity:

Objectives and Horizons
Coherenceof Vocabulary and Complex Design
Subdivision of Style
Innovation and Production

London, November 26, 1998. Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design


I believe that quite independentely of the professional sphere in which you work there is a particular value in handing on your own know-how to those who are intending to go down the same route…

But, even more important, transmitting knowledge is an investiment. A guarantee of continuity for your own work: the assurance that your own “achievements” can be built on, developed, and spread, so that they become part of a common heritage of creativity and culture…

I think it only right and proper to offer young people an analysis of my experience, focusing on the role and the importance of the material in the application of creativity to fashion.

The New Frontier of Creativity

The Pure Material

The Material Reinterpreted

The Invented Material

Eye-Catching Material: Alchemies and Illusions

Eye Catching Material: Gleams and Glints

The Material, The Forms, The Body

Volumes that envelop the body
The unveiled body
The sculpted body

Milano, 14 luglio 1997. Domus Academy. Fashion Design Summer Session Fashion and Jewelry


My adventure in the fashion world began by chance - almost thirty years ago, even before I had finished my architectural studies - more for pleasure of handling the materials and succeeding in “producing” sometimes original and in keeping with my own taste than out of any conviction that I was suited to the role of a fashion designer. And perhaps it is no coincidence that this adventure started with jewelry.

Jewelry and Fashion: a Coherent Project
Jewelry and Material: Invention and Interpretation
Jewelry and Form: the Body Enhanced
Jewelry betwen East and West: Influences and Inspirations
Jewely and Clothing: from Accessory to Complement

Tokio, June 12, 1997. United Nations University


Men’s fashion is for me, above all a question of method. The approach is rooted in design: in this sense my training as an architect has provided me with the mental aptitude and with means, including cultural resourches and research tools, that are perfectly suited to the microcosm of fashion…

The basic idea behind my analysis of men’s fashion lies in the constant search for proposals that are flexible, but alwaysoffer the utmost comfort, that hark back to a distant, but still present, origin in traditional manners, just as my approach to my menswear is traditional: I have always studied and created it with a naturalness that, perfecting the concept of the supple and unstructured garment, has now become my familiar “lexicon”…

While I love the experimentation and research carried out in the field of sports, vacation or leisure wear, I believe in the symbolic and representative value contained in formal clothing, in the classical which has a precise identity, since dressing for town had codified, conformist rules…

I think that the future will b e an expression of our spirit more than of our power and our money, even if today an “uniform” does not represent so much the status of a person as his mentalparadigm…

I like to define my history of “making things for men” as evolution in continuity. Continuity above all in the method of working, in the constant reinterpretation of tradition, in the development of the style, as each collection is shaped by the moment in history, by the social environment in which it is set, by needs, by habits, in short by the way the clothing is used…

Milan, March 14, 1997. Milan Polytechnic. Seminar of the courses in Theories and Techniques of Architecture entitled Composition in the Practice of Art


I was never to work as an architect, but I can say with confidence that, over these twenty-five years each of my creations has had in it at least a bit - and often much more- of what I learned at Milan Polythechnic. In terms of logic, method and approach to design but also in terms of willingness to analyze, taste for experimentation and rigor of intentions.

Of course, someone is going to object, fashion is not just this, but fantasy, intuition, imagination in the pure state too. For me too fashion has two souls. It is both emotion and reason: this is what I would like to talk about here, taking it one precise point at a time and remaining faithful to the principles af analysis that I learned in this very place.

Composition in fashion. The rules

Clothing as a design, construction and intervention in forms

Clothing as an expression of culture. Fashion as awareness of reality, of the present, of the past

Clothing and design as self-expression. Your own vocabolary and ideas as the basis of creativity

Composition in fashion. The means

The drawing as a first step in the design

The material. Treatments and processing. Technology and research

Color, an “intrinsic” element of design

The composition of fashion. The ends

The garments as product and as utilitarian object. The sense of reality

Clothing as a quest for effect, as a vehicle of feeling and means of expression

Composition in fashion. The present, the future

The new values: freedom, comfort, naturalness

The first value: the body

The garment as individual “piece” within the collection

The principle of superimposition and stratification

The breakdown of the barriers between daywear and eveningwear

Decoration as a personal choice

Style on different and complementary levels: the first line, the “second lines”, the youth lines, the sports lines

New York, September 6, 1996. Fashion Institute of Technology


I believe the most significant and useful contribution I can offer to an audience of young people who will be working in fashion in the future must start out from a consideration of how creativity, inspiration and imagination find their expression in this field through an extraordinary range of channels and means.

We all know that fashion, a mirror and interpretation of reality, is in fact a phenomenon with a thousand facets, constantly in progress and more fluid than ever today. It is a phenomenon that arises out of individual sensibilities, out of an always personal and subjective interpretation of life and its evolution. A phenomenon that nevertheless appears to be organized into grand common tendencies, operating at different levels, with different reactions from the public and different choices of content…

The sartorial approach to the work, to the makingof the garment, based essentially on manual techniques, and the absolute care taken over detail are the extraordinary means that only the couturier has at his disposal and that multiply the possibilities for expression of his creativity…

I will conclude with a very simple observation, in the twofold guise of créateur and couturier. In my daily activity throughout these years I have never believed in a hard and fast separation between the two spheres of creative action, that they are incompatible or in conflict. Certainly both haute couture and prêt-à porter have their peculiarities - the atelier its rituals, industrial design its necessities of production - but I can say with complete confidence that I would not have achieved certain results, not have been able to act with stylistic coherence and consistency, if I had not always made an effort to integrate the experiences gained in both sectors, if I had not been able to transfer with flexibility methods, procedures and stratagems from one field to the other…

Starting out from ready-to-wear, it has been almost natural for me to apply a design method in high fashion too, conceiving the collections as a set of garments that are unique but linked by a guiding thread, by a common logic of style.

I have tried to apply the “riches” of high fashion, the passionate care for details and for decoration, in ready-to-wear too, adapting them of course to the rules of industrial production.

Turin, April 22, 1996. Second international forum on automobile styling


So what are the distinctive characteristics of industrial design in fashion?. In the first place we can speak of continuous design…

It might be thought that fashion is in fact engaged in wholly superficial modifications, frivolous and of no substance: something that is the complete opposite of the basic principle of industrial design, which aims instead at the creation of definitive objects. It is not like that: the continual process of deisgn in fashion is to some extent reminescent of artistic research, for example that of the painter who goes on evolving from work to work with results that are different each time but have the coherence of a personal individual style…

Another characteristic of design applied to fashion becomes clear when we realize that the aim of that design is not the object-the item of clothing-as such, but to have an effect, through the clothing, on the behaviour and the taste of individuals . In a world saturated with objects, the fashion designer has to design, or strive to design, the desires of men and women…

The activity of the fashion designer who proposes styles of an aesthetic character, and thus styles of behavior as well presupposes a complex kind of design that cannot be limited to the product. Instead it has to involve all the phases and means of communication and the relationship with the end users…

In parallel the quest for clean lines, the conscious move away from decoration, has opened the way for a further field of development: the innovative approach to material.

Focused by tradition and by constitution on the activity of processing, our industry - and the textile industry in particular - is able to make the most of its familiarity with experimentation, its quickness in adopting innovative ideas and making thems its own, especially in the field of the processing and treatment of material. The new materials, the new mixes, are displaying properties of elasticity and comfort and presenting a look and a feel that were unimaginable hitherto…

The unprecedented possibilities possibilities that the material offers to the fashion of our own day are also leading to new solution of form. Thus technical research becomes “formal” too, since today’s material permit the design of clothing with new forms and new fits that have never been achieved before except at the expense of comfort . And it is precisely comfort that has become the real and concrete goal , the objective of the fashion designer’s efforts…


Sorry, this entry is only available in italian.