In just four years, Italian shoe company Aquazzura has the luxury goods industry at its feet, all thanks to its sensual designs. The young company triples its output every season and has just opened a shop in London. It is not easy to find another brand that has undergone such extraordinary growth in such a short time. “With each collection that we put out, and we launch four a year, we double or even triple our output. There are four big firms milling around us, but we have no intention of talking to them. We are doing quite well by ourselves. We do not need them,” insists Ricardo Figueiredo, the joint founder of Aquazzura, along with Edgardo Osorio.
The Italian shoe firm has become the talk of the luxury goods industry. And it’s no wonder; it has taken the pair just four years (the brand was founded in Florence in 2011, with its first collection on sale for S/S12) to hit on the recipe for success and be on first name terms with giants such as Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik. “Events have surpassed my wildest dreams. You always hope your business will do well, but what we are going through is just amazing,” says Edgardo Osorio, Aquazzura’s creative director and public face. “Our plan was always to do things step by step, country by country. But times have changed. We live in a globalised world, where a shoe goes down just as well in China as it does in Italy.”
Accustomed as the fashion world is to fleeting success, it is comforting to come across a solid project built on talent, perseverance and ambition. “Edgardo knows what he wants and where he wants to go. From the very beginning we were clear about which shops and department stores we should be in,” Ricardo recalls. Along with big names such as Level Shoe District, Harvey Nichols, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, this year they have added their first standalone boutique located on the ground floor of their Florentine palazzo and the new London store.
“In December we will be opening in New York, and we have many more openings planned for 2016. I want to have shops in every capital city, and not just for shoes, but all sorts of accessories. To be a reference point for luxury and well-made things,” Edgardo points out. A childrenswear line, handbags and menswear will soon be joining this young empire; although he admits that what has taken up his time in the last few weeks has been the headline-grabbing capsule collection, which he has undertaken hand-in-hand with British model and socialite Poppy Delevingne. “Designing shoes has been a dream come true. Moreover, I have had the best possible dancing partner. Edgardo is talented and fun, it has been very easy to work with him,” says Poppy, who’s visited the region several times in the past few years. “When I think of Dubai, I get butterflies. I always have such an amazing time there. I love how clean the city is, how it gleams; I love the smell when you get off the plane, and the warmth. Plus, the food is incredible, it’s of such a high standard.” Her favourite places in town include Atlantis (“I love that hotel. It’s such a dream”) and S*uce boutique (“I bought a piece from there a few years ago. It was a navy blue dress with a coral sleeve that’s short at the front and longer at the back and I live in it all summer”), and she admits it’s a place not often far from her thoughts, “My husband and I are always longing to go back.”
Poppy wears: Dress, Blumarine. Ring, Swarovski. Shoes, Dhs2,666, Poppy Delevingne X Aquazzura at Matches Fashion
Her love for the Middle East and its symbolism is apparent in the crescent moon-bedecked capsule collection. “It all began with a pair of moon- and star-shaped earrings which Poppy brought to the studio. The outcome has been something quite mystic and bohemian,” Edgardo agrees. Available from next month exclusively at Level Shoe District in the region, as well as Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter online, prices range from Dhs2,130 for flat sandals to Dhs5,040 for boots and the collection follows hot on the heels of Aquazzura’s previous tie-up with Olivia Palermo. “We wanted to repeat this celebrity collaboration idea because the first one worked fabulously. We sold out in just one day. Furthermore, working with someone leads you to design things in such a way that otherwise you would never consider,” Edgardo says. Of the collection, Poppy explains, “We were actually quite inspired by my wedding in Morocco. We wanted to touch on something that was global, but exotic and luxurious at the same time. It’s very wearable.” The piece she predicts will be a hit with the Middle Eastern market also just so happens to be her favourite. “I think the gold heel will do really beautifully. It’s so gorgeous, especially with its moon details. It’s a standout.”
For the full article, see the November issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia. Words: Sara Hernando. Additional reporting: Maddison Glendinning. Photography: Marco Pietracupa