“Jewellery is one of the most important expressions, a flexible and versatile way of translating ideas and emotions into reality. Or bringing dreams to life.”
Jewellery was Ferre’s first love and never ending passion. A hobby inspired by his fascination with precision, craftsmanship, forms and materials was a way to express his vision of beauty.
He began making jewellery while studying architecture spending his time moulding and combining leather and metals into bracelets and belts that he would then give to friends as presents.
His future changed when his childhood friend Isa Bertolini introduced him to Rosy Biffi and Franco Limonta, the owners of Biffi, the most popular Milanese boutique. The couple then approached him with an offer for designing a small collection of leather accessories, which he first refused thinking about his upcoming exams, but eventually agreed to.
A few weeks later Isa’s sister, Luciana Bertolini was spotted at a fancy party wearing a leather bracelet made by Ferre. The accessory caught attention of Anna Piaggi, an editor of Italian Vogue, who quickly sensed a new talent and immediately contacted Ferre asking if he would be able to design a few pieces for the upcoming New York photoshoot.
And so, from bijoux to jewellery, his journey as a designer has began. Ferre stopped working as an architect and completely devoted himself to his new project.
The more he learned and saw, the more elaborate his pieces became. Influenced by West and East, history and places, he would sculpt the jewellery from gilded metals, painted wood, paste, semi-precious stones, tulle and sequins assigning each creation with a symbol, an ornament of India, China, Japan or the Amazon forest.
Everything he designed was “linked to the “physicality” of human form”, focusing attention on the key points of the figure: a long neck, shoulders, wrists and waist. The pieces were placed strategically to construct the body, lengthen it, add a touch of sensuality with a tinkling of bracelets, a necklace that caressed the neck or a wide belt that would mark the movement of the hips.
He saw jewellery as a mirror of the clothing, one impossible without the other, but at the same time, as individual as a woman who wore it. In its most opulent form, the cascades of precious stones and beads laid over a bare flesh would replace a part of an outfit, becoming an item of clothing – it was a beautiful extreme, a totally new vision.
Photo source: Gianfranco Ferre Jewellery Campaign Fall/Winter 1994-1995