A look at fashion’s new world

Maximilian Davis Salvatore Ferragamo / Photographed by Casper Kofi / Styled by Luca Galasso

When Manchester-born Maximilian Davis, 27, was appointed creative director of the craftsmanship-steeped, near-century-old Florentine label Salvatore Ferragamo in March—two years after he launched his eponymous brand from his north London bedroom— he hadn’t yet staged so much as a solo catwalk show. Refined, sensual and cut with razor-sharp precision, Davis’s debut collections—quickly fangirled by Rihanna, Dua Lipa and Kylie Jenner—are the result of a rigorous design process that draws on his post–London College of Fashion apprenticeship with the academically inclined Grace Wales Bonner. They also reflect the designer’s family legacy, from the Sunday-best suits worn by his father to the calypso vinyl beloved by his grandmother. In the months before his designs for Ferragamo are unveiled at Milan Fashion Week this month, Davis has been digging through the archives “to identify what the new house codes will be”, he says. “It’s about imbuing the sophistication of my own brand into Ferragam o today.” Davis’s own narrative which travels from his parents’ birthplaces in Trinidad and Jamaica to the nightclubs of east London—is now firmly rooted in Florence’s Renaissance skyline. “My designs always start with something very personal,” he says. “But lately I’ve been trying to understand Salvatore. I’m stepping into the Ferragamo family.” —LH

While this is flummoxing and sometimes frustrating, it is also exciting. With no obvious path forward, the most curious and creative designers working today are engaged in furious processes of experimentation, laying down tracks others may follow towards a fashion future less wasteful, more just and—this is important—bolder in terms of ideas, craft and style. The key is not to turn back.

“It’s easy to overstate the change,” notes Babak Radboy, Clemens’s hand-in-glove partner at Telfar, referring to political and social convulsions in the wider world. “There’s a desire in fashion [and beyond] to produce a narrative of progress that makes it seem like, great, the work is done, when in fact there’s been very little shift in terms of who holds power or how things operate.”

“Like, we spent two years calling each other out, and now that it’s all out, everyone’s figured out how to get back to business as usual without pissing people off,” adds Clemens. But business as usual is gone. A new language is emerging out of an old vocabulary. This is the situation of fashion now, at a moment of becoming. Eyes on the horizon, we join the designers in this portfolio in celebrating the chance to explore.

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