During his recent trip to Dubai, Edgardo Osorio shared with us his "a-ha!" moment when he came up with the vision for his renowned shoe line, his experiences working with the most famous names in shoe design, and what’s on the horizon for the Aquazzura brand.
The name of Edgardo Osorio's shoe label, Aquazzura, is the result of two Italian words that have been playfully strung together. 'Aqua' - no translation needed there - and 'azzura', which in Italian means 'blue'. And he's not just talking about any old blue water, but in fact one of the most beautiful places in the world.
You see, while on holiday on a sunny island off the coast of southern Italy, Osorio was struck with the notion that he could translate the warmth, beauty, and positivity he witnessed around him into a pair of shoes. Drawing largely from what he describes as the "Dolce Vita" lifestyle and architecture of the Italian seaside towns, he set out to do just that.
Today, one need not look further than the pineapple detailing on an Aquazzura shoebox, which in Italy is a well-known symbol of hospitality, to be drawn into Osorio’s dreamy holiday musings.
Here, we sit down with the self-proclaimed shoeaholic to debate whether function really should trump form after all, learn about his latest shoe splurge, and discuss what’s on the horizon for the Aquazzura brand.
When did you arrive to Dubai?
I got to Dubai yesterday morning and went straight to the pool.
Where are you staying?
I'm staying in The Palace Downtown Dubai. I’ve had a wonderful start to a beautiful day. It was sunny, so I’ve gotten to tan a little bit, relax, and enjoy the view of the incredible Burj Khalifa.
Is this your first time in Dubai?
It's my first time to Dubai. I mean, I've passed through the airport many times, but unfortunately didn't have a chance to explore the city. I’ve wanted to come to Dubai for a while. I’ve really wanted to see Level Shoe District. Level alone is reason enough for somebody to come to Dubai and go shopping. It is ridiculous, but it is amazing. There is nothing like this shoe store in the whole world; it's so special and beautifully done. I even had a pedicure here and it was fantastic. Anything you want for shoes. It's incredible. They need to open one in every major city.
Have you done any other sightseeing?
Not yet, but I will this weekend. I’m actually staying in Dubai until Monday. Yesterday I went to the Pier. We had sushi by the water, which was very nice. I haven't had a chance to really explore yet because I’ve been so busy with the event. On Friday, I am going to really explore Dubai.
Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to seeing?
I am just looking forward to everything. I want to go up and have a drink in the Burj Khalifa. I need to see the view. Everybody tells me it's amazing. I want to go to the beach. I'm such a beach person. I love the sunsets. Dubai is fantastic for it. Actually now that I have an excuse for work, I will be coming here a lot on business.
I know you’ve only been here a short while, but any observations so far about what the women wear here?
I think, you know, it's so diverse. At the same time it's more international than I expected it to be. I think people here really like to dress up, especially women. They really love fashion, which is really nice. I think in general I feel that women here are more feminine and more dressed up than in another places, which is really fun.
What is the story behind Aquazzura?
I always wanted to be in fashion. I don't know. It's the same for every designer. "When I was a little boy"... but it's true. It's one of those things that I kind of knew. I started working when I was 15 and I immediately focused on shoes. When I graduated from high school, I went to London and I studied. While I was there, I met somebody from Ferragamo and when I was 18 I got offered a job. When I was 19 I moved to Florence and I saw that my real career was in design. When I was 19 I was working for Ferragamo, then I moved to Sigerson Morrison, and then Cavalli for almost 3 years. That's a lot of shoes. Then I decided to launch my own label three years ago. You know, it was always something like an attraction. When I design, it just comes so easily, it's natural. I don't know why. In my case with designing shoes, I am a shoe buyer myself. I am a certified shoeaholic!
So what was your last big shoe purchase?
I made a personal order of 10 pairs of shoes at Neiman Marcus. I actually had a not-so- nice incident this Christmas; there was a burglary in my house. They stole my shoes and my clothes. It was like a perfect excuse to go shopping. I don't have anything! I have to buy. Santa Claus didn't bring me anything, he took everything! My closet was all gone.
Where does the name Aquazzura come from?
Aquazzura is blue water. It's two words in Italian put in one. It's actually the whole story. I wanted it to be about Italy and about eternal summer. I love the idea. I am very much a beach bum and even in the winter I try to escape to the sun and go somewhere sunny and nice. I wanted the brand to be about this. Also, when I created the brand it was not the most positive of times for me. So I wanted it to be something positive in every sense. Blue is my favorite color, electric blue. Every time you think of the brand I want you think about a nice vacation in Capri. That's how it happened.
What is on the horizon for the brand?
There is a big event in Pitti Uomo. There is a pre-collection of Pitti Uomo in June and I am one of the guest designers invited this year, which is a great honor. And we are going to do a beautiful event based on again movement. It's always movement and I always stay alive. My shoes are made to be walked in and danced in. It's all around the idea of movements and dance. We are going to show the pre-collection there. Then I am actually launching clutches. It's our first little step into bags, which is where we want to head eventually to have a full range of bags. We're probably going to open a shop in New York next year in the Upper-East Side. We also want to launch online. First in the US, and then hopefully internationally, step-by-step. Now we are starting to have projects and some collaborations that I can't name. We have great relationships with people. I think it's always fun to work with other creative people. We have the Aquazzura girls like Karolina Kurkova, Olivia Palermo, and all these girls that are big supporters and it's always fun when you do something with people who support you. We will see. There is something coming up soon.
interviewed by DYLAN ESSERTIER|photographed by: CAMILLE MACAWILI