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Salvatore Ferragamo's Massimiliano Giornetti Finds The Perfect Balance

After almost nine years as head menswear designer for iconic Italian brand Salvatore Ferragamo, Massimiliano Giornetti finally stopped by our fair city (barely) long enough to sit down with us to talk fashion, inspiration and finding the perfect balance:

How would you define the Ferragamo man? "A businessman during the day, casual on the weekends. Someone always on the move whether traveling, boating, or enjoying a glass of wine. I create classic yet stylish clothes for the different dimensions of a man's lifestyle. Fashion is not made to be in a museum, it's meant to be worn."

How do you think your designs fit into San Francisco style? "The men seem to be relaxed and casual but also not scared of adding some eccentricity into their wardrobes, which is who I like to design for. Knitwear sells well here because they are classic pieces that you can mix and match with your personal style."

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced since becoming the designer for such an established brand? "It was actually a smooth transition because I had tutors from within the company to help me understand the message. I had to find a balance between respecting the history and spirit of the brand and adding my own vision to the line. It's frustrating when I see designers try to force their own vision on a brand because you need to keep the company's roots in mind."

Where do you find style inspiration?
"I find it coming from people in the street, which I'm proud to say. I think it's really important to be close to consumers and understand what they want to wear, especially at this time."

What influenced your Fall '09 collection?
"I was very inspired by the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi and finding the balance between light and dark. I also focused on silhouette and construction, creating softer shoulders on everything from suits to sweaters. I wanted the collection to look soft and natural, like the sun coming through a window."