Last weekend, 100 of the Italian style world’s journalists and tastemakers were chauffeured in black vans to the Ferrari headquarters, a soaring glass factory designed by Jean Nouvel in the small Italian town of Maranello. They sat surgically masked on socially distanced cubes besides what is, on a normal day, an assembly line for F1 cars but which on this day had been transformed into a runway.
Surrounded by unfinished cars on the plant’s cherry red conveyor belt, they watched as models paraded by in vintage roadster-printed shirts and organza nylon jackets gleaming like freshly waxed vehicles. Logo-laden seatbelts doubled as belts.
This was Ferrari’s first high-fashion collection: an ambitious and well-financed attempt to transform the brand from a luxury automotive company into a luxury lifestyle name that will serve as an avatar of Italian aesthetics to the world.
“We’re a start-up,” said Nicola Boari, the chief officer of Ferrari’s branding diversification arm, which oversees the new clothing line, “but we’re the most fortunate start-up in the world.”
For two decades, the car company has leased its name to a vast range of merchandise whose prime selling point is the Ferrari shield: perfumes, shampoos, T-shirts, logo-emblazoned veils for the Saudi Arabian market, even a Ferrari computer.