July 24, 2021

Wanda Ferragamo, the story of the pioneer behind Salvatore Ferragamo

Learn the story of the woman behind the hard work and dreams of Salvatore Ferragamo, that turned this Italian house, then just a shoe business, into an entire fashion empire. Salvatore Ferragamo He was known at 41 among Hollywood artists, of which Joan Crawford, Anna May Wong, Lillian Gish and Greta Garbo stand out.

All these celebrities considered him the “creator of dream footwear.” It was then that he had to travel back to Italy for a charity fund issue in Bonito, his hometown, to meet with the mayor.

Wanda Ferragamo in her study at Palazzo Feroni

© Massimo Sestini / Salvatore Ferragamo

How did Salvatore Ferragamo and Wanda Miletti meet?

Accompanied by his sister, Salvatore Ferragamo He knocked on the mayor’s door and was completely paralyzed when he saw the presence of Wanda Miletti, his daughter. Salvatore asked Wanda if the footwear could be removed to make her father, who was also a doctor, notice a podiatric issue.

Salvatore Ferragamo was delighted with a small hole in a Wanda sock that let his finger stick out and was captivated by the beauty and character of the young woman, who at that time was 18 years old. Discreetly, Salvatore mentioned to his sister that he would marry this woman … And he did.

“This woman will be my wife, he whispered to his sister.”

From the moment they were united Salvatore Ferragamo and Wanda Miletti, showed a unique connection and understood each other deeply since they both felt an infinite appreciation for the artisan work, she gave herself completely to her new home and her new family. They had six children who were a crucial part of the business.

The key to this marriage was that Wanda was Salvatore’s secret ally, his trusted source of inspiration, his support, and the support of her husband’s career dreams. He always provided feedback on his work and accompanied him in every challenge he had to face. Happy to listen to their projects, Wanda was interested and contributed her opinions to realize the dreams of Salvatore Ferragamo.

The Italian empresaria, Wanda Ferragamo

© Salvatore Ferragamo

Wanda Ferragamo led the Italian fashion house

Like all life circumstances that are fraught with uncertainty and surprise, in 1960 the life of the Ferragamo family took a radical turn when they died Salvatore Ferragamo unexpectedly. Wanda, who was 38 years old at the time, steadfastly refused to sell the family business despite everyone advising her otherwise.

“I had never worked before my husband passed away, when I met him I was almost a child and the only thing I learned was to paint, play the piano and some culture.”

Wanda Ferragamo, a woman of convictions, intelligence and strong character, set out to carry the business forward with the help of her children, who would later hold important positions within the company.

Wanda Ferragamo in 2007 at Palazzo Feroni

© Massimo Sestini / Salvatore Ferragamo

What was Wanda Ferragamo’s legacy?

Wanda’s work honored the life of Salvatore Ferragamo, since it catapulted the legacy and dreams of her husband that carried intrinsic his values, his creativity, his love for artisan work and his drive. Not only did it give continuity to these dreams, but from being a family firm dedicated solely to footwear it became a powerful fashion group. This earned her the International Woman of the Year award during her professional career.

A bright, intelligent, tenacious and impeccably dressed enterprising woman who never lost the positive attitude that characterized her, Wanda Ferragamo instilled in her children the value of passion for work, attention to detail, perseverance, discipline and love for the family.

Wanda Ferragamo pictured at Palazzo Fioroni, Ferragamo headquarters in Florence

© Michele Borzoni/Salvatore Ferragamo

He always showed deep respect for his employees and claimed that work kept his mind young. That was probably the reason why she remained healthy, relentless and full of energy, allowing her to live for more than ninety years, always loved and admired by all the people who knew her.