Gianfranco Ferre was born in 1944, on August 15, in the small Town Legnano, in northern Italy. Ironically, his title of “architect of fashion” has some truth to it. In college, he studied architecture at Politecnico di Milano University and he got a degree in 1969.
However, he didn’t have much in common with that field, so he got his first job as an accessories designer. Later, he went on to design raincoats from 1972 until he opened his fist fashion label in 1974. It was called “Baila” and, after a number of years of hard work, he launched his first collection for women in 1978.
It took another four years until he launched his first collection for men, but it was well worth it.
He took another important step forward in his career in 1986 when he launched his fist ever couture collection, in Rome.
By now, he was already being noticed by other important fashion houses and Bernard Arnault, the owner of Christian Dior made him an important offer.
Ferre joined Dior in 1989 as Stylistic Director. This was highly unexpected and many people were shocked. It was unheard of for a foreigner, even a talented Italian, to have such an important position in a French fashion house.
However, in the following years, he proved every skeptic wrong by making a fantastic job.
Eventually, however, he decided it was time to move on. He announced everyone that the Spring 1997 collection would be his last with Christian Dior.
Although he already had a busy schedule at Dior, he never abandoned his own projects. He handled both the French house and his own business in Milan by frequently commuting in his private Jet. He also had a beautiful villa near Lake Maggiore where he could relax.
During these years, he saw his label increase its size and reach.
After 1997, he devoted more of his time to designing numerous collections of accessories. The Gianfranco Ferre handbags have been an enormous success. So did his lines of fragrance.
People have noticed differences between his work at Dior and what he did with his own. While his designs with the French house were pretty ‘exotic’, his own label was much more toned down. Indeed, he often expressed his disagreement with the way the fashion world worked.
Sadly, he passed away in 2007, leaving a major hole in the world, but also, an important legacy.