Ferrari is famous for competing on the Formula 1 circuit: Since 1952 the Italian motorsports thoroughbred has won 16 Constructor’s Championships, 15 Driver’s Championships, and seen its gorgeous, throbbing Rosso Corsa-clad cars start in pole position (a.k.a. first in line) a mighty 251 times. Tonight, though, Ferrari stepped up a gear to make its debut on a circuit so fast-moving and cut-throat it makes F1 look restrained: the fashion circuit.
Designed by Rocco Iannone—who cut his teeth at Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, and latterly Pal Zileri—this first Ferrari fashion collection comprised 52 looks, of which 80 percent were unisex. It was shown in Ferrari’s home town of Maranello on the assembly line where its automotive artisans are usually employed to hook up mighty V12 engines to hand-sculpted 812 GTS.
Opened by Mariacarla Boscono and closed by Natalia Vodianova, the collection was watched by design luminaries Jony Ive and Marc Newson, as well as John Elkann, grandson of Gianni Agnelli and the man currently behind the wheel of Ferrari (plus a gazillion other interests held by Exor conglomerate). Iannone integrated fabrics (such as carbon fiber) and silhouettes inspired by the anatomy of Ferrari’s automotive catalogue while adding house iconography drawn from its archives but recontextualized to rest next to bodies rather than bodywork. Partners including Puma and Ray-Ban provided sneakers and sunglasses that featured recognizable Ferrari motifs without being too pit-lane loud, although there was plenty of overtly Ferrarified sports-sock-sporting, and an interesting adaptation of the marque’s Prancing Horse logo into crystal-etched jewelry.
The collection was indisputably thought-through, intricate, and embedded with the heritage of this motor house. Plus it was for sure more evolved than the badge-heavy petrolhead merch long produced here—and at pretty much every prestigious car marque—to attract those who relate to the brand but cannot afford the $200,000-ish (in Ferrari’s case) it takes to buy an entry-level model. But all of this Prancing Horse-themed pomp and fashion ceremony did beg one big question: why? After all, last year Ferrari made a profit of 534 million euros on revenues of 3.46 billion euros—pretty sweet numbers—and was also named world’s strongest brand by Brand Finance for the second time. So why venture out of its lane to deliver this fashion diversion?
The answer seemed to lie in a comment by Iannone, who spoke pre-show of wishing “to enlarge our fan base, including young generations and women especially—although women have always been part of our fan base but it has never been well told.”
Furthermore, as this collection was launched, Ferrari simultaneously debuted a serene, terracotta-clad retail concept overseen by Simon Mitchell of London’s Sybarite, and reopened Cavallino, the Maranello restaurant that was originally Ferrari’s staff canteen, under the directorship of Modena-based superchef Massimo Bottura and the Paris-based architect India Mahdavi. As Ferrari’s chief brand diversification officer Nicola Boari said, the aim is “to build a bridge to a wider audience.”
Even on its home turf, Ferrari is embracing change: It will launch an SUV this year, before debuting its first all-electric vehicle in 2025. Fashion-wise, Iannone’s decision to size his collection from XXXS to XXXL was another indication that Ferrari is attempting to alter the aerodynamics of its perception in order to broaden its appeal and adapt to changing, 21st-century tastes.
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