Business is a family affair for Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo. "I grew up in the atelier and my father always talked about his vision," said deputy chairwoman Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo, who joined the family firm in 1965, when she launched its women's ready-to-wear collection.
She was in town last Wednesday with her sister, vice-president Fulvia Visconti Ferragamo, for the opening of an exhibition celebrating the brand's made-to-order shoes, handbags and luggage in West Kowloon's Elements mall.
More than 160 guests, including actors Zhang Jingchu, Richie Jen Hsien-chi and Julian Cheung Chi-lam, attended.
Giovanna was in the mood to reminisce, telling how she watched her father - who died in 1960 - toiling in his workshop long after it was meant to close at 6pm. "It was so much fun seeing him put strips of leather or fabric onto the shoe mould," she said.
As a child she was proud of the family business, as were her five brothers and sisters. But shop-talk was strictly off-limits around the family dinner table.
"We spend a lot of time together in the boardroom, so we don't need to talk about business at family gatherings. When we get together … it's just about family."
The exhibition, which runs until next Monday, includes demonstrations of shoemaking techniques by veteran artisans.
The brand is now offering its made-to-order collections in its boutiques in Pacific Place and on Canton Road.