The births of their two daughters, Fiamma and Giovanna, filled their home with joy, although the war created uncertainty about the future. The couple’s first son, Ferruccio, was born on 8 September 1945. The years of post-war reconstruction were a time of growth for both the city of Florence and the Ferragamo family. Borders reopened and international trade resumed. Three more children were born, Fulvia, Leonardo and Massimo. The family grew, as did Salvatore’s business commitments and travel. Wanda experienced the life of the company through her husband’s stories and special occasions, such as when Audrey Hepburn came to Florence in 1954 to order a few pairs of shoes from the famous shoemaker.
In 1958, after returning home from a trip to Australia, Salvatore began showing symptoms of a serious illness. Fiamma, his eldest daughter, gave up her studies of the Classics to join him in the business, learning everything she needed to know about shoes by her father’s side. Giovanna also left high school to take a course in fashion at the Lucrezia Tornabuoni School in Florence. In 1959, she would design her first clothing collection and present it at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
Salvatore died in Forte dei Marmi on 7 August 1960. Wanda was devastated and worried about the future, although the workers at the funeral tried to reassure her, “We can do it, you’ll see. We’ll help you.” She had never worked outside the home, and years later people would ask her how she did it. “I don’t know,” she answered. “Women are, in a way, the keepers of the affection that sustains the relationship. Gradually I found the energy I needed to move forward. I had only ever taken care of my family and suddenly I had to see to everything. Management, restocking, technical issues, tracking expenditure. I believe that all of us women, or nearly all of us, could easily run a company if we’re already able to judiciously run a household.”
Salvatore left many ideas unfinished and they had to be developed, like adapting his production and fit systems, rigorously based on a handcrafting process, to meet growing market demand, which required the use of machines. Jerry, Salvatore’s nephew and the one Salvatore had taught all the technical aspects of shoemaking, was responsible for bringing Ferragamo shoes into the era of industrial production.