The Moment: Italian designer Sara Battaglia’s collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo arrived in stores this week, creating a mild buzz for color enthusiasts, rainbow lovers, and Judy Garland fans alike. The Fifth Avenue store in New York City sold at least seven of Battaglia’s handbag designs on the first day, said James Ferragamo, who directs the women’s leather goods business.
Ferragamo and Battaglia arrived in New York on Thursday for the launch, which had been previewed in Milan earlier this year. The designs – many of them featuring rainbow stripes that are swirly and skewed – were inspired by a rainbow wedge designed by Ferragamo’s grandfather for Judy Garland in 1938; other styles are offered in all black or gold versions, from $1,990 for a clutch (pictured, below) to $4,400 for a mink drawstring satchel. The rainbow-striped satchel in calfskin that Battaglia carried herself, and that costs $2,150, is the closest in spirit to Garland’s original wedge (pictured, top).
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“It’s super great exposure to see my name next to a huge brand like Salvatore Ferragamo,” said Battaglia, who started her handbag label five years ago and plans to introduce her first ready-to-wear collection this fall. “I think people will believe in me even more after this.”
Why It’s a Wow: Ferragamo plans to continue experimenting with collaborations, having worked with Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura last year, as a means of maintaining excitement and a concept of story-telling in its stores.
“It’s something my grandfather even used to do with artisans who were specific to other products,” Ferragamo said. “Even the logo design in the shoes was created by Lucio Venna, who was an artist in the 1930s.”
These special projects are also a way of maintaining interest during a period of intense transition throughout the fashion industry, marked by intense pressure on luxury companies. At Ferragamo, chief executive Michele Norsa, announced he is leaving the company by the end of the year, but will remain on its board. This news came just a month after its creative director, Massimiliano Giornetti, stepped down.
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Nothing has been decided yet on the future creative direction of the house, Ferragamo said, but he remains committed to an approach that prioritizes “creating something that is not everywhere, and that is focused.” The Battaglia designs, for example, are only available in its top stores, and the customer reactions have been strong.
“We just cannot wait until the election is over here, so that people can stop watching television, and start shopping again,” Ferragamo said.
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Learn More: Take a look at how Ferragamo celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, as the company begins to take news steps toward its future. And discover more about Milan’s rising star of accessories, Sara Battaglia.