Spring/Summer 2024 was the season Maximilian Davis truly came into his own at Ferragamo. Notably absent were the Gancini symbols and bold Hollywood allure, replaced with an air of subtlety and layers of intricate artistry that culminated in Davis’s most compelling Ferragamo collection yet.
Just three shows in, Davis demonstrates a commendable evolution, not merely sticking to a rigid design formula but adapting and innovating. At the heart of this evolution is the deliberate shift in inspirations; from Italian marble to the deeply provocative art of Agostino Brunias, to hints of Renaissance armor. These muses were not just random choices, but carefully curated elements aimed at stirring a conversation.
Davis’s tribute to Italian style-icon Gianni Agnelli is hard to miss, especially in the menswear tailoring. There’s a subtle nod to the early 1950s, witnessed in beautifully constructed asymmetrical dresses and sharply tailored suits. And then there’s the marble – the enchanting beading on the revamped 1956 Calipso sandal bears its reflection.
The uniqueness of the collection lay in its mixed materiality. Metals strategically positioned within necklines and leather panels towards the end echo Davis’s dive into armor, while green – a shade currently unique in its rare use – demonstrated its power in a series of striking leather pieces.
But it wasn’t just about the past. Davis’s interpretation of Brunias’s art, depicted through loose cotton pieces, paid tribute to revolutionary times and revolutionary figures like Toussaint Louverture. It was a testament to Ferragamo’s mastery, seamlessly combining intricate inspirations into a holistic, visually captivating ensemble. This was Ferragamo’s signature Tuscan touch at its best, with the spotlight, as always, on its exquisite footwear.
Yet, the Milan season was not just about Davis’s artistic flair. It was also about his acute understanding of the Ferragamo clientele. From the luxurious casual wear to the sleek tailoring, there was a palpable undercurrent of mid-century glamour, an essence he brilliantly introduced in his Fall/Winter 2023 collection. Davis’s intention for the season was clear: infusing a spirit of lightness, playfulness, and an abundance of color. This sentiment was resonated especially in the bold sage greens and the modernist evening wear, reminiscent of the elegance of Geoffrey Beene.
Davis, with his roots in Trinidad, draws parallels between the relaxed lifestyles of Italy and the Caribbean, presenting a collection that is not only beautiful but relatable. His designs offer a blend of American sportswear sensibility – practical yet sophisticated.