11 July 2017

Swan Style

For Leonardo Ferragamo, owner and chairman of Finnish shipyard Nautor’s Swan since 1998, sailing is a true passion. In 2015 he took delivery of his seventh Swan, 35m Solleone, but he first discovered the sport when his elder brother, Feruccio, took him sailing off the coast of Tuscany when he was very young. “I immediately fell in love with the sport and I’ve been sailing ever since,” he says. Quickly developing a fondness for Swan yachts, his first Swan was a Swan 51 called Marlin Blue which he bought in 1988, ten years prior to eventually acquiring the shipyard itself.

2016 sees the yard celebrating 50 years in business, a momentous milestone with more than 2,000 yachts built in that time, and Solleone and the Swan 115 model represent the pinnacle of that half-century of experience. “This major anniversary is the perfect moment to look at our future, taking inspiration from our glorious heritage and its core values that are still fundamental to our company: heritage, craftsmanship, excellence and expertise,” says Ferragamo. The yard has released a new design, the ClubSwan 50, to mark the anniversary. “The design represents a totally innovative concept and a Class programme that is entirely new.”

Of course the Ferragamo name is best known for high-end fashion with Ferragamo’s late father, shoe-designer Salvatore, founding his self-named luxury brand in the 1920s. As well as his work with Nautor’s Swan, Ferragamo is equally devoted to the family business, playing an active role alongside his five siblings. With plenty of logical crossover between the worlds of sumptuous fashion and yacht design, Ferragamo uses his creative expertise to become involved in the creative development process at Nautor’s Swan.

swan style fraser blog


“Where I feel most active and involved is in the collaboration with the Swan designers, both for the interior and exterior layout, to create new models,” he says. “My contribution derives from my experience as a sailor and yacht owner, and is also related to lifestyle and taste, two fields in which I have been involved all my life through the different worlds I have had the honour and pleasure to play a part in.”

The clear link between Ferragamo’s family business and Nautor’s Swan is, of course, his unwavering belief in the importance of heritage. “In Nautor’s Swan, I found the same core values that, though in an entirely different sector, distinguish my family’s company: innovation, performance, durability, comfort, style and quality,” he says. “Incomparable value derives from the use of quality materials coupled with traditional craftsmanship, expert design and construction. These are essential to product credibility and generate customer loyalty in shoes as in yachts.”

swan style fraser yachts

Many of the Swan family share Ferragamo’s passion for heritage with the owners of Tarantella, the first ever Swan sailing yacht to be built, recently approaching the yard looking to restore her. “The restoration of Tarantella by the same people who produced her 50 years ago was a project that struck me powerfully,” says Ferragamo. “Tarantella’s owners came forward voluntarily this year, and asked us to restore her to her original beauty. This is something amazing and tells you so much of the spirit, the passion, and the skills that we have in our company.”

According to Ferragamo, many lessons learned from working at the family-owned fashion house apply to the Swan brand too. “For iconic quality brands the biggest challenge is always to preserve and nurture the credibility with which they have earned their success,” he says. “Never take anything for granted, always look for one’s own evolution and improvement, with the goal of surpassing yourself year after year.”.

In this spirit, Ferragamo and the yard team are always working on new things, with an even bigger model on the cards. “I must be honest and tell you we are working on a larger model, a 140ft yacht of which, at the moment, I can say no more,” he says conspiratorially. No doubt, the next 50 years hold highly exciting times.

To find out more information about Nautor's Swan vessels, please contact a yacht sales broker at Fraser. This article originally appeared in issue XI of FRASER magazine – the intelligent magazine for living, loving and luxury yachts. Read the magazine here.