The family of Wanda Miletti Ferragamo, widow of Salvatore Ferragamo (1898–1960), has announced that she passed away on October 19, 2018 in at her home in Florence at age 96.
The Ferragamo family matriarch — at work in her office in Palazzo Feroni Spini up until several weeks ago — was born in 1921 and would have reached the even more venerable age of 97 on December 18.
“I look at everything, check everything and it only takes me five minutes to understand when something is not working,” she said recently.
Daughter of the town doctor in Bonito, province of Avellino, she met Ferragamo when he was visiting her home town, and they quickly became engaged. Her husband, the shoemaker of the stars of Hollywood, decided to set up his business in Florence when he returned from America, as he admired the talent of the local craftsmen.
Widowed at age 39 with six children, Wanda Miletti Ferragamo became the executive director of her late husband’s company despite the fact that she had not been involved in the business before his death.
Thanks to her foresight, Ferragamo became an international brand with 4,000 employees and 630 sales outlets across the globe. One by one, her children became active in the firm: Fiamma (who died in 1998), Giovanna, Ferruccio, Fulvia (who also passed in 2018), Leonardo and Massimo. Over the years Ferragamo SPA expanded to become a fashion house in addition to designing and producing its iconic shoes.
She was also a patron of the British Institute of Florence.
She told a journalist recently that she had written a letter to her grandchildren with following advice: “Don’t conform to whatever is bad in this world but rather try to transform it by bettering your way of thinking and behavior in order to be in harmony with the goodness of God.”
Addio Signora Ferragamo.