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Salvatore Ferragamo Net Worth

What Was Salvatore Ferragamo’s Net Worth?

Salvatore Ferragamo was an Italian shoe designer who had a net worth of $50 million at the time of his death in 1960. Salvatore Ferragamo was best known for his eponymous shoe company, which still stands as one of the most admired fashion houses in the world. Salvatore worked with such Hollywood stars as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Sophia Loren, and he created a platform sandal called “The Rainbow” for Judy Garland, a tribute to her song “Over the Rainbow” from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

In the 1920s, Ferragamo became known as the “shoemaker to the stars” in Hollywood. He launched Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. in Italy in 1927, and as of this writing, the company has more than 440 locations. Today the company is publicly traded under the ticker SFER and has a market cap of roughly $3 billion. In 2021, the company reported a revenue of €1.136 billion. Salvatore died of liver cancer on August 7, 1960, at the age of 62. The documentary “Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2020, and it earned a Critics’ Choice Documentary Award nomination for Best Biographical Documentary in 2022.

Early Life

Salvatore Ferragamo was born on June 5, 1898, in Bonito, Campania, Italy. His first name was registered as “Salvadore.” He was the son of Mariantonia and Antonio Ferragamo. Mariantonia’s maiden name was the same as her husband’s surname, which was not unusual in smaller Italian towns. Salvatore’s family was poor, and he had 13 siblings. Ferragamo made his first pair of shoes (high heels) when he was 9 years old and realized that he had found his purpose in life.

Salvatore Ferragamo

(Photo by Enzo Graffeo/BIPs/Getty Images)

Early Career

Salvatore studied shoemaking for a year in Naples, and at the age of 14, he opened a small shoe store out of his parents’ home. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1915, settling in Boston, Massachusetts. One of his brothers worked at the Thomas G. Plant Shoe Factory, and Ferragamo briefly worked at there before talking his brothers into moving to California. After moving there, the brothers lived in Santa Barbara, then they moved to Hollywood. In 1923, Salvatore opened a store in Santa Barbara, and some of his most loyal customers were well-known actresses. In 1925, he opened a store in Hollywood. Ferragamo designed shoes for films such as “The Ten Commandments” (1923). He attended the University of Southern California, and according to “InStyle” magazine, “There, he studied anatomy and learned that the arch of the foot supports the weight of the body. This nugget of information made a lightbulb go off in the designer’s head: Shoes needed to support the foot’s arch, which was a concept he’d apply to his designs moving forward.”

Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A.

Salvatore returned to Italy in 1927 and began making shoes for Marilyn Monroe, Eva Perón, and other prominent women. That year he founded Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. in Florence. Due to the Great Depression and the company’s dependence on American businesses, Ferragamo filed for bankruptcy six years after starting Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. He financially recovered by 1938 and bought Florence’s Palazzo Spini Feroni, which is where the company’s headquarters and flagship store are located.

In 1948, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. opened its first New York location, and in the ’50s, Salvatore had expanded his operations to include 700 artisans making 350 pairs of shoes by hand each day. Thanks to the scientific and creative approach that he employed in shoemaking, Ferragamo spawned many innovations, such as the wedge heel and cage heel as well as the invisible sandal. Over the years, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. saw the launch of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections in addition to eyewear, perfume, and accessories.

In 2008, the Ferragamo family hosted a three-day 80th-anniversary bash in Shanghai to celebrate the success of the brand. In 2022, the company was rebranded as “Ferragamo” ahead of Milan Fashion Week.

Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. was privately held by members of Salvatore’s family until 2011 when it was listed on the Milan stock exchange, and as of 2022, the family owned around a 65% combined stake in the company. In 2021, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A.’s total assets were listed as €1.010 billion, its total equity was listed as €785.879 million, and the company had more than 3,800 employees. As of 2022, there were 447 Ferragamo stores worldwide.

Personal Life

Salvatore married Wanda Miletti after meeting her in 1940. The couple remained married until Ferragamo’s death in 1960, and they welcomed six children, Ferruccio, Fulvia, Massimo, Fiamma, Giovanna, and Leonardo.

Death and Legacy

On August 7, 1960, Salvatore died of liver cancer at the age of 62. Wanda became a widow at the age of 38, and the couple’s youngest child was just 2 years old at the time. After Ferragamo’s death, Wanda took over Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. and served as the CEO for more than two decades. She expanded the company’s offerings to include ready-to-wear fashion, handbags, fragrances, and scarves. Wanda passed away in 2018 at the age of 96. All six of the Ferragamo children have helped run the company, and Salvatore’s son Leonardo has been the Chairman of Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. since 2021, succeeding his eldest brother, Ferruccio. In 1995, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum opened in Florence’s Palazzo Spini Feroni. The museum includes 10,000 models of shoes that Salvatore created and owned as well as “films, press cuttings, advertising materials, clothes and accessories from the 1950s to the present day.” In 2013, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. launched the Ferragamo Foundation to “encourage and educate prospective fashion talent.”

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