Gianfranco Ferre

FERRE | February 7, 2011


Asymmetrical black&white dress by Ferre

Gianfranco Ferre is one of the most well-known designers of all the times. He was born in northern Italy in 1944. In 1967 Ferre qualified as an architect in Milan. While studying in college he supported himself financially by making belts. His first official employer was the owner of design study making furniture. Gianfranco Ferre was making jewelry for his girlfriend, and once, the owner of a boutique in Portofino accidentally noticed it. After this event Ferre was invited to design jewelry for Walter Albini, a successful accessories designer. Ferre also started to work as a freelance designer, completing commissions for Lagerfeld and Fiorucci. In the beginning of 1970’s Gianfranco Ferre spent 3 years studying crafts in India. The colors and craftsmanship of the country impressed him enormously. In 1974 he came back in Italy full of inspiration. In the same year Ferre agreed to take part in design work for Mattioli’s Baila label, and in 1974 created the first womens ready-to-wear collection. In 1978, after 4 years of working for Baila, he decided to create his own brand. However, he founded the company together with Mattoli, the shares were 50%-50%. In 1978, he presented womens ready-to-wear collection, and a line of accessories, reflecting the free spirit of Sportswear. In 1982 he presented his first menswear collection and accessories. In 1983 Gianfranco Ferre became a professor of Fashion at Domus Academy in Milan, Italy. The designer was awarded 6 times with the title of Occhio d’Oro Award (Best Italian Designer).

White short spring dress by Ferre

Grey elegant women's pant suit by Ferre
In 1984 he gained the title of the Designer of the Year. The international trade Press awarded him 5 times for his women’s ready-to-wear collections.
First women’s fragrance Gianfranco Ferre was launched in 1984. In 1986 Ferre created his first Haute Couture collection. In 1989 Ferre became Stylistic Director of Christian Dior, replacing Marc Bohan. He ended his work for Dior in 1997, designing the last Spring collection for Dior fashion house. In the same year Ferre introduced new Jeans line.

Nowadays Gianfranco Ferre house has 5 product lines:

  • Gianfranco Ferré: The main womenswear and meanswear line.
  • Ferré: ready-to-wear for both men and women. Within this line, there are Ferré Red (for plus size) and Ferré Fur. For Ferré men there is also Ferré Underwear.
  • GF Ferré: Is the line for the younger people. This line is more sporty.
  • Gianfranco Ferré Fragrances.
  • Ferre Milano – casual meanswear and womenswear line.

The peak of total sales of a company was reached in 1996, and it was 1250 billion Lira ($811 million). 70% of Ferré total sales are earned in export. The USA is the main importer of Gianfranco Ferre products. Italy still holds 20% of the sales, but the success of the Ferré Jeans business in the US seems to shift the focus here.

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