Ferragamo: The Anatomy of a Vision

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Find out why Salvatore Ferragamo is considered a visionary, and discover how his relentless studies led him to create a veritable shoe empire...

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FERRAGAMO: THE ANATOMY OF A VISION

By Margaret Durnien, Brian Luchsinger, Joan Sanders

Most know his name. Many know his work. Some know his talent. But few know where his immense success came from. Find out why Salvatore Ferragamo is considered a visionary, and discover how his relentless studies led him to create a veritable shoe empire.

Italian born and universally recognized, Salvatore Ferragamo is a world-wide sensation. Desiring to be a shoe-maker from a young age, he possessed a natural talent for the art of shoe construction and design. But what made him so successful? Unlike some designers, who only have an eye for fashion, Ferragamo had a passion for the theory behind it. He saw the complete package; the design, construction, and finished product.

Studying the anatomy of the foot at the University of California Santa Barbara, he dedicated his life to finding out what makes a shoe comfortable. Mastering the science of interaction between the bones and tendons of the foot when one walks, he was able to find out what makes a shoe work. His ability to create something that was not only beautiful but also functional, set him apart from other designers. Some might say that this is what makes him a visionary. He is the scientist and the designer; the mastermind behind it all.

One of his most famous designs is the cage heel. This design was invented in 1955 but is still in production today and worn by many stars including worldwide pop star Lady Gaga. Another design that comes from Ferragamo’s visionary mind is the wedge heel. It is a design thought up by Ferragamo that other designers have imitated but Salvatore perfected first. This style of shoe is still prominent today and Ferragamo’s use of cork for the heel was monumental in the shoe industry.

Ferragamo died at the age of 62, but his legacy and brand lives on. His international company carries luxury goods including shoes, accessories, eyewear, watches, clothes, perfume and more. The Salvatore Ferragamo museum is located on Piazza di Santa Trinita, in Florence. Here, the public can learn more about the process of making the shoes and the architecture behind them. Replicas of shoes he realized are showcased, including famous designs created for celebrities and movie stars like Marilyn Monroe. The exhibits change every so often, the current one entitled Equilibrium describes the philosophy behind the foot and Ferragamo’s designs. The changing exhibits are always informative, exciting, and innovative, much like the legendary designer.

His extreme work ethic starting from the young age of nine when he made his first pair of shoes for his sister, along with his unique designs and appreciation for the functions of the foot are just a few of the many reasons Ferragamo is still prevalent in the fashion world today. The brand has continued to maintain itself thanks to the work of his daughter and wife. The city of Florence also has played a large part in providing for his designs and housing his art.

Ferragamo designs are timeless. They are often imitated but never could be replicated. Ferragamo may have passed but he continues to make an impact in the fashion world as his brand grows. Many are more than happy to walk in his shoes, and will continue walking in them for many stylish years to come.

To visit the Ferragamo Museum in Florence, please visit the museum website.
Equilibrium was on display until April 12, 2015.

About the authors: Margaret Durnien, Brian Luchsinger, and Joan Sanders are current Spring 2015 J School students. This piece was authored for the Writing for Digital Media course taught by Prof. Beatrice Santini.


news header

ferragamo museum florence visit exhibition large

FERRAGAMO: THE ANATOMY OF A VISION

By Margaret Durnien, Brian Luchsinger, Joan Sanders

Most know his name. Many know his work. Some know his talent. But few know where his immense success came from. Find out why Salvatore Ferragamo is considered a visionary, and discover how his relentless studies led him to create a veritable shoe empire.

Italian born and universally recognized, Salvatore Ferragamo is a world-wide sensation. Desiring to be a shoe-maker from a young age, he possessed a natural talent for the art of shoe construction and design. But what made him so successful? Unlike some designers, who only have an eye for fashion, Ferragamo had a passion for the theory behind it. He saw the complete package; the design, construction, and finished product.

Studying the anatomy of the foot at the University of California Santa Barbara, he dedicated his life to finding out what makes a shoe comfortable. Mastering the science of interaction between the bones and tendons of the foot when one walks, he was able to find out what makes a shoe work. His ability to create something that was not only beautiful but also functional, set him apart from other designers. Some might say that this is what makes him a visionary. He is the scientist and the designer; the mastermind behind it all.

One of his most famous designs is the cage heel. This design was invented in 1955 but is still in production today and worn by many stars including worldwide pop star Lady Gaga. Another design that comes from Ferragamo’s visionary mind is the wedge heel. It is a design thought up by Ferragamo that other designers have imitated but Salvatore perfected first. This style of shoe is still prominent today and Ferragamo’s use of cork for the heel was monumental in the shoe industry.

Ferragamo died at the age of 62, but his legacy and brand lives on. His international company carries luxury goods including shoes, accessories, eyewear, watches, clothes, perfume and more. The Salvatore Ferragamo museum is located on Piazza di Santa Trinita, in Florence. Here, the public can learn more about the process of making the shoes and the architecture behind them. Replicas of shoes he realized are showcased, including famous designs created for celebrities and movie stars like Marilyn Monroe. The exhibits change every so often, the current one entitled Equilibrium describes the philosophy behind the foot and Ferragamo’s designs. The changing exhibits are always informative, exciting, and innovative, much like the legendary designer.

His extreme work ethic starting from the young age of nine when he made his first pair of shoes for his sister, along with his unique designs and appreciation for the functions of the foot are just a few of the many reasons Ferragamo is still prevalent in the fashion world today. The brand has continued to maintain itself thanks to the work of his daughter and wife. The city of Florence also has played a large part in providing for his designs and housing his art.

Ferragamo designs are timeless. They are often imitated but never could be replicated. Ferragamo may have passed but he continues to make an impact in the fashion world as his brand grows. Many are more than happy to walk in his shoes, and will continue walking in them for many stylish years to come.

To visit the Ferragamo Museum in Florence, please visit the museum website.
Equilibrium was on display until April 12, 2015.

About the authors: Margaret Durnien, Brian Luchsinger, and Joan Sanders are current Spring 2015 J School students. This piece was authored for the Writing for Digital Media course taught by Prof. Beatrice Santini.


Read more: Ferragamo: The Anatomy of a Vision

From Vietnam with Love: Vu Nguyen

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The J School catches up with publishing alum Vu Nguyen, who is currently developing sports programs for a broadcast company in Vietnam.

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FROM VIETNAM WITH LOVE: SPOTLIGHT ON VU NGUYEN

Photo by Vu Nguyen, shot for a collaborative project with Italian photographer Paolo Belletti.

 

The J School caught up with recent Publishing Career Program graduate Vu Nguyen from Vietnam. Vu was a team member of the 2013/14 publishing group that produced the Flair book. He is currently back in his home country where he is working at the broadcasting division of the Viettel Corporation, one of Vietnam's biggest companies.

Vu, tell us about your background (educational, interests, etc.) prior to coming to FUA.

I come from a very artistic family. I remember seeing as a 5-year-old images of paintings and mosaics from the Renaissance in my father's books about Renaissance art, they made me fall in love with the arts at a young age. Vietnam is a country that also comes from a longstanding history, where history is mixed together with the present, and where we Vietnamese feel connected to historic moments. It's a traditional way of being in many Asian countries, and I have personally always loved history. On the other hand I also love to travel and have turned it into a personal habit. Travel allows me to find myself, to know what's going on outside of my home-city-country. My career path is an interesting story. I attended the university in Hanoi to become an automation engineer. But after three years I realized that I needed to find something for me, not for money or simply to have a prestigious career. I began the search for something that responded to my background in the arts, which I had always cultivated thanks to my father who is a professor at an art-based university. In August of 2010, I was hired by VTC 3, a sports channel in Vietnam. After two years I moved over to the Sport Channel of VTV (national Vietnamese television). The company gave me a chance to improve and cultivate my talent and knowledge. I was able to work on some really great shows in Vietnam.

Where are you currently working today and what does the company represent in Vietnamese media?

I came back after completing my FUA studies in mid-April. I currently work for the Viettel Corporation, one of the biggest companies in Vietnam. Specifically, I am in the broadcast division. We are preparing a channel that will be on air this summer and I have high hopes for a good start.

Can you describe your daily duties and responsibilities?

My colleagues and I are preparing for this summer. We are working on building the channel format and its programs. Our goal is to build a new sports channel that will be interesting and able to compete with the other sports-related channels in Vietnam. We will also be dealing with news. So I get to continue working as a journalist, reporter, and editor.

How are you employing the skills gained through the publishing program at FUA to your new job? 

FUA provided a new, beautiful environment and real experiences during the eight months I spent in Florence. The institution gave me the confidence to take on a new, challenging job upon returning home. What I gained from the program was organization and communication skills, in addition to the knowledge gained from the various faculty members I worked with. These skills help me greatly at my job, they have distinguished me from others. To stand out is a big goal in my opinion when working in an office.

You also freelanced as a journalist for projects in your home country while studying at FUA. What are some of the changes that you are experiencing through the TV medium?

While in Italy I continued to collaborate with VTV. I worked on projects involving Piaggio and Vovinam Italy, and various monthly projects assigned from back home that allowed me to continue earning while studying. It's difficult to freelance in a different country, especially when people don't know me and language skills are lacking, and I was working on my own as a solo freelancer. But I gradually improved and learned, thanks to the Flair project, that preparation and details are extremely important when working. Time management was another crucial element, because sometimes there is no second chance or followup. I also learned that when giving my best to a client, I can also seek to anticipate a deadline. My time in Italy was extremely busy but the beauty of Florence always relieved me in some way.

What are your plans for your future career path?

 

This year my immediate goal is to push my channel and promote it. I would love to expand to other book-related opportunities, for example create a Flair-quality publication in my home country. I obviously would jump at the chance to come back to Italy to catch up with friends and FUA.


Any words of advice for future Career Program students at FUA?

 

We have limited time and limited chances. Live as much as you can and don't miss out on anything. 




Read more: From Vietnam with Love: Vu Nguyen

Renee Puno: J School Alum in Southeast Asian Publishing

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Renee Puno, 2012/13 alum from the Philippines, joined the ArtPostAsia publishing team upon concluding her career program studies in Florence. In this interview she highlights her career path and her involvement in contemporary lifestyle publications focused on Southeast Asia.

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RENEE PUNO: J SCHOOL ALUM IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN PUBLISHING

 

Renee Puno, 2012/13 alum from the Philippines, joined the ArtPostAsia publishing team upon concluding her career program studies in Florence. In this interview she highlights her career path and her involvement in contemporary lifestyle publications focused on Southeast Asia.


Renee, you recently started working for the publisher ArtPostAsia. Tell us about the company and the products that it publishes.

ArtPostAsia is a publishing and design group that produces beautifully photographed and illustrated books with compelling narratives on curated museum collections, art exhibitions, cultural and living traditions, cuisine, design, and contemporary lifestyles in Southeast Asia. Among ArtPostAsia’s titles on Philippine Heritage are publications focusing on landscapes and cultural landmarks, world heritage sites, coffee culture, to name a few. Our company has been recognized internationally, specifically:

  • Foodlore and Flavors - Inside the Southeast Asian Kitchen: Prize Winner of a World Gourmand Cookbook Award 2007, Best Asian Cookbook category at London Bookfair.
  • Lopez Memorial Museum and Library's 50th Anniversary Publication, Unfolding: Half a Century: Merit Award from the International Association of Business Communicators' Philippine Quill Awards.
  • Flora Filipina: From Acapulco to Manila: Excellence Awards from the Asian Publication Awards in the Content Generation category for the Southeast Asian region.
  • An Invitation to Malacañan: Best Entertainment Cookbook in the Philippines from World Gourmand Cookbook Award 2010.

We basically provide end-to-end solutions (from conceptualization, to design, to editing, to printing, to launching to distribution, etc.) in creating coffee table books that center on history, art, design, and culture. We also publish books for companies and families that may be celebrating major milestones and events.


What does your specific role cover within the company?

My official title is Associate Editor and Publications Management Officer. I basically handle the book projects and coordinate with the clients, writers, photographers, printers, and everyone involved in the project, as well as manage all the publication materials and schedules involved in book development. I also do research and editing tasks as required and perform proofing and press checks during printing. Planning and attending book launches are also part of my job description.

What projects are you working on this year?

We just wrapped up a couple of books in the past month or so - one about Philippine orchids, another about Ann Pamintuan, a well-known artist who creates furniture and sculptures from metal, and another about a family. Currently, I’m working on a book that details the history and accomplishments of the Filipino company DMCI for its 60th anniversary, as well as another family book. I'm excited however because we've got a couple of art and culture-heavy books underway that will allow me to explore the society and traditions of a neighboring country, as well as that of the Philippines.


How have your previous publishing studies at FUA assisted with your transition to the professional industry? Are there any skill sets that you are employing on a daily basis?

My publishing studies at FUA have helped tremendously. Before starting my post-grad studies at FUA, I had been part of the working force for about 5 years. I was mostly doing writing work for magazines, newspapers and websites though, so that side of the publishing process was the only one I was really familiar with. The FUA coursework helped me discover and understand the entire process of bookmaking and publishing, and I find that I consistently use the things that I’ve learned from every subject. The photography classes allowed me to develop a keen eye and to learn how to edit. This is helping me now when I select and shortlist photos for our publications, or when I have to edit them myself for our book launches. The graphic design class allowed me to understand design and get familiar with programs we commonly use at the office. The writing class allowed me to sharpen my writing skills and push the boundaries of my writing to new milestones. The PR, Communication, and Marketing in Publishing class taught me how to create more comprehensive press kits and how to plan book launches and events, something I have to do quite often now. The Professional Book Production class broke down the basics of publishing and provided a better understanding and appreciation for the history of my current profession. The Lifestyle Magazine classes allowed me to experience firsthand the task of putting together a publication from scratch, which really encapsulates everything I do now.

How have your perspectives of the publishing world changed since your studies in Florence?

Before Florence, I never really thought about the publishing world except for the part I was involved in, which was writing and creating output. My course made me understand every aspect of the publishing process and provided me with a holistic, well-rounded understanding of the industry.

What are your long-term goals?

I have and will always be connected to the publishing industry, albeit through its different facets. I plan to continue to work and grow in this industry. Studying in Florence has reawakened and expanded my love for books and I plan to nurture this particular love affair of mine. I believe in what I do and believe that what we create adds beauty, truth, and goodness into the world, and, essentially, makes it a better place. That in itself is enough to dedicate a life to.

Advice for current and future publishing students in terms of studying and living in Florence?

Be a sponge. Soak everything in. Don't take anything for granted. Do well in your classes and strive to learn, both in the classroom and outside of it; explore not just your surroundings, but also this version of yourself that exists in the Florentine city that is fortunately your current playground. Be passionate about growing, searching, discovering. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (you can be a tad reckless if you have to be), but do learn from them when you make them. Everything you do and live through while on your study abroad journey will be useful to you in the future, and will shape who you will become, and who you’d like to become.

Find out more about ArtPostAsia at www.artpostasia.com.

Photo courtesy of the interviewee. 

Read more: Renee Puno: J School Alum in Southeast Asian Publishing


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