Obituary: Fiamma Ferragamo

FIAMMA FERRAGAMO was determined the ball should go on. The Ferragamo family were hosting the inauguration of Florence's second Biennale della Moda and Fiamma Ferragamo was resolute that her illness would not mar such an important family occasion.

Few outside the family were aware of how gravely ill she was, but Ferragamo's strength of character gave her the willpower to fight the cancer for a few extra days past 19 September when the inaugural ball, sponsored by the family, was to be held. She had helped create the famous Cinderella slipper used in the film Ever After, a Cinderella Story and the premiere of the film was the highlight of the ball and Biennale.

Born in Florence in 1941 during the height of the war, Fiamma was the oldest of Salvatore and Wanda Ferragamo's six children. Salvatore Ferragamo, known as "The Shoemaker to the Stars", founded one of Italy's best-known luxury shoe and fashion brands when he returned from Hollywood in 1927. From the 13th-century Palazzo Feroni-Spini in Florence he established a business which his children inherited on his death in 1960.

Despite an attempted occupation of their home in nearby Fiesole by the Germans and subsequent bombing by the Allies, the young Ferragamos survived the Second World War. Fiamma left school at the age of 16 to join her father's business. She was the only one of his children to work alongside him on the bench learning his craft and receiving his guidance. She was 19 when he died.

It was apparent from the first official footwear collection presented in London in 1961 that she had inherited his extraordinary talent. Naturally, Fiamma Ferragamo was to take control of the design of shoes, handbags, luggage and small leatherwear. Together with her mother Wanda and her five siblings, who run various other aspects of the business, she played a key role in the development of the Salvatore Ferragamo business.

When their father died he was hand-making 80 pairs of shoes a day for wealthy clients - today automation produces 11,000 pairs. Now their fashion and shoes sell all over the world in large numbers with sales for 1997 at 869 billion lire (pounds 320m). Fiamma, though, maintained all the fundamental principles instilled in her by her father. Quality and fit are still the basis of their work.

She was an astute businesswoman. As vice-president, Fiamma Ferragamo was very closely involved with the design and running of the business. They are a tightly knit family who believe in teamwork and are untouched by the feuds that have riven other family-owned luxury brand names. Wanda Ferragamo is chairman and the eldest son Farruccio Ferragamo is chief executive. Fiamma and her siblings were equal shareholders.

Her responsiblities ranged from designing the shoes for the films Evita and Ever After with their respective costume designers and overseeing the design and production of all Ferragamo's shoe and leather goods, to getting involved with the negotiations that led to Ferragamo's takeover of the Paris couture house Ungaro in 1996 and the family's various local hotel concerns.

In the world of fashion Fiamma Ferragamo was a very modest and discreet person. Famous for her enchanting smile, she was good- natured and kind and took her role as older sister seriously. Although conservative in her own taste - frequently seen wearing a simple suit, Ferragamo scarf and the company's celebrated Vara shoe, with its grossgrain ribbon - she enjoyed fashion and would always attend the Ungaro haute couture collections in Paris. Passionate about music, she and her husband Marchese Giuseppe di San Giuliano travelled around Europe to music festivals.

Fiamma Ferragamo received the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award for creativity in 1967, exactly 20 years after her father received the same award. Other international accolades included the Saks Fifth Avenue Award in 1969, the 1988 American Footwear News designer of the year and the Fashion Footwear Association of New York Medal of Honor in February 1993.

She was also president of the Tuscan delegation to the FAI (Italian Environment Fund), member of the Consiglio di Regganza of the Bank of Italy and of the council of the Centro di Firenze per la Mode Italiana.

Francesca Fearon

Fiamma Ferragamo, designer and businesswoman: born Florence 1941; married 1969 Marchese Giuseppe di San Giuliano (one son, two daughters); died Florence 28 September 1998.

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map