WANDA MILETTI FERRAGAMO
Born on December 18, 1921 in Bonito in Irpinia, the same town where her husband Salvatore Ferragamo was born 23 years earlier, she married very young on November 9, 1940 in the church of St. Lucia in Naples. Her life is marked by two distinct moments, separated from the death of Salvatore in 1960: the first concerns Wanda as a woman, wife, mother and hostess; the second her life as an entrepreneur, in which, however, the family and children are always at the center. From the story of this path emerges a woman who has been able to perfectly combine femininity with commitment in her work and in society.
She met Salvatore Ferragamo in Bonito in 1940. Wanda's father, the doctor and mayor of the small town, invited him to his house and Wanda welcomed him.
“Good evening. I am Wanda, Dr. Miletti’s daughter. I am happy to welcome you to our home and to know you. My father will be here in a few minutes, and in the meantime perhaps you will come upstairs and wait for him?” She spoke rapidly but almost before she had finished I knew that here was the girl I was seeking. I turned to my sister and said in English: “I have found the wife I am looking for. She is going to be my wife.”
(From the autobiography of Salvatore Ferragamo, Shoemaker of Dreams, Electa, Milan 2020)
Salvatore and Wanda on their honeymoon, Sorrento, 1940
They lived a few happy years together, cheered by the birth of six children, three boys and three girls. When Salvatore passed away, Wanda was 39 years old. During his illness, Salvatore had already delegated ordinary and extraordinary powers to his wife, who became the engine of corporate change, supported by all the employees, by the eldest daughters Fiamma and Giovanna for the creative part and by his nephew Jerry, regarding production optimization and mechanization strategies. Under her direction, the company took the big step from footwear mono-production to the total look - consisting of clothing, leather and silk accessories, perfumes. She held the position of President and Honorary President of Salvatore Ferragamo until 2018, when died at the age of 97. All her life she wanted to remember and honor the memory of her husband and she did it in the best way: by pursuing and cultivating his dream and values.
During her career, Wanda Ferragamo obtained a lot of prestigious awards in Italy and around the world. To name a few: in 1982 she was elected International Woman of the Year by the Committee of 200, an association made up of prominent female managers, based in the United States; in 1986 she was awarded an Honorary Degree in Letters from the New York University, and later in Economics in 1996; in 1987 she was named Cavaliere del Lavoro della Repubblica Italiana; in 1995 she was nominated by the Queen of England Honorary Officer of the British Empire; in 2003 in New York he received the title of 2003 Entrepreneurial Champion during the 6th Annual Luminary Awards of the Committee of 200; in 2004 she was awarded by the President of the Italian Republic of the Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana, with the title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce; in May 2007 she received the Honorary Degree in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.
In 2013 together with his children, she established the Fondazione Ferragamo with the aim of inspiring young generations, who more than anyone else need positive reference examples to consolidate their personal and professional growth.
“Adults, institutions and businesses are responsible for gi¬ving young people opportunities and providing them with know-how, creativity, technology and, above all, the desire to move forward, to overcome all obstacles, values exemplified by my husband’s life and work.”