Coffee with Louise Holm Ferragamo
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Coffee with Louise Holm Ferragamo

On a crisp day, The Florentine had the pleasure of chatting with Louise Holm Ferragamo in the discreet ambience of Caffè dell’Oro along lungarno degli Acciaiuoli. As the winter rays streamed in through the windows, Louise explained what brought her to Florence, her fervent support of Meyer

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Thu 05 Feb 2015 1:00 AM

On a crisp day, The Florentine had the pleasure of chatting with Louise Holm Ferragamo in the discreet ambience of Caffè dell’Oro along lungarno degli Acciaiuoli. As the winter rays streamed in through the windows, Louise explained what brought her to Florence, her fervent support of Meyer Children’s Hospital and how she converted her love of events management into successful business Made by Made.

 

 

Photos by Elke Numeyer

 

 

Helen Farrell: You’re Danish by birth. Why did you originally come to Florence?

 

Louise Holm Ferragamo: When I was 19, I came to Italy to study fashion design in Milan. I had a bad start and I almost turned back. But I was a bit proud and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t go back after a few weeks when I’ve planned to be here for a year’. I actually visited Florence by coincidence and I decided that it was more of a realistic city for me. I was lucky to find a great school and a job at Il Rifrullo [a bar in the San Niccolò neighbourhood].

 

 

HF: Now you’re a wedding and events planner. How did that come about?

 

LHF: I went back to Denmark for four years to finish university as a fashion designer. After a few years of working in design, I was contacted by a Scandinavian fashion group that needed a production manager here in Florence. After a few years, I got the opportunity to open my own office in Palazzo Frescobaldi in piazza Santo Spirito, doing sourcing and production for other brands like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Then I got married and had my first baby. I realised that my schedule was so tough, working until 9pm, breastfeeding and travelling for work. It was a crisis point. I’d always had the hobby of doing events, something fun that I did in my spare time. I helped with some family weddings and friends’ parties. I started getting requests: my sister-in-law was getting married and I began to set some of my work aside to make time. Then came six requests in one year, so I closed down my fashion business.

 

 

HF: Are there similarities between fashion design and events management?

 

LHF: Yes, the two are very close. Timing, finding suppliers and pricing: you’re still delivering a product. For me, planning events is much more fun; it has more heart.

 

 

HF: Are your customers people who have always dreamt of getting married in Tuscany?

 

LHF: I work with people who’d like to find a little hamlet and maybe have a village-based party. Weddings that are personal and in your own style. I help people to realize the ideas that they have in their head. That’s what I enjoy doing. The most fascinating thing is to understand what people are dreaming about and creating it for them.

 

 

HF: Do you have a favourite location?

 

LHF: I love the limonaia in the Corsini Gardens because it’s so left as it possibly can be left. I also love Villa Le Rose, in the Certosa area: it has a frescoed ballroom that can sit 110 people. Plus, there’s Il Borro [an estate owned by the Ferragamo family near San Giustino Valdarno], with its many event locations, from the village and its apartments to the villa, the vineyards. All of your guests can stay within walking distance: families can be together for several days doing fun activities together.

 

 

HF: For Christmas, you organized the Meyer Foundation’s annual charity dinner. How much of your time is spent giving back to society through charity events?

 

LHF: Ever since my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve felt indebted to the hospital. Gradually, I’ve become involved with fundraising and then I was asked to become part of the board. There’s a lot going on at Meyer, it’s really active. Every year, I am involved in organizing the Christmas event. This year, at Polimoda, we raised funds towards a respirator and other equipment for the intensive care department.

 

 

HF: Do you have a favourite place to shop in Florence?

 

LHF: Traslucido in via Maggio, a tiny shop that sells 20s, 30s and 40s furniture, Murano things and small statues. I also love Boutique Nadine, vintage clothing and new pieces inspired by vintage.

 

 

HF: Favourite place for an aperitivo?

 

LHF: In the summer, I love the sky lounge [at Hotel Continentale]. There’s a comfortable, little place that we often go to called Mago Balducci in via Marconi; it’s like a little Paris.

 

 

HF: One place in Florence that makes you happy or inspires you.

 

LHF: The Sant’Ambrogio market, both the antiques and the food market. I love doing vintage settings, creating a photo booth with old typewriters and trinkets. It’s sad to hear that rain is coming through the roof, plus there’s asbestos. All they need is a new roof, to keep the heat in and the cold out… We really need to do something to save that place, it’s so inspiring.

 

 

The conversation continued…

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