Exclusive: Edgardo Osorio On Aquazurra's Inspiration, Success And The Trouble With Imitation

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Mar 23 2016 / 14:27 PM

We talk to the founder and creative director of the cult shoe brand

Exclusive: Edgardo Osorio On Aquazurra's Inspiration, Success And The Trouble With Imitation

Edgardo Osorio is responsible for creating some of the most memorable shoes of the past few years – so much so that his famous Christy flats have been given their own space in Harrods' Shoe Heaven.

Having been such a success, the lace-up pointed pumps now take centre-stage in a display within the luxury department store. This is not the first time an Aquazzura design has achieved such iconic status. Osorio has managed on more than one occasion to design a shoe with a cult following, so we asked him: does he know which ones are going to be a hit?

"No, you never know. I mean, sometimes you design a shoe and you think this one is a winner, but you never know when something will be such a crazy phenomenon," he says. "For me, I knew the Christy flat was a beautiful shoe, but I had no idea the incredible trend that would follow – I mean, it's the most copied thing ever!"

Of course, with such success inevitably comes imitation, and recently, Osorio publicly accused Ivanka Trump of "blatantly steal[ing]" his Wild Thing sandal design. Does he worry about this form of imitation?

"Being inspired is one thing, but completely knocking off a design is another. There is a big difference," Osorio explained. "When people take advantage of you and make a business out of it, that's not nice. It is damaging, because you don't want to see your shoes everywhere, but at the same time it's a huge compliment and I know that the women who wear my shoes – who know there is nothing like the real thing in terms of fit and comfort – would never go and buy the cheap, plastic version, so I am not really that worried."

Osorio's confidence in his customers' loyalty is clear to see, and this is partly because of how closely he relies upon his clients in the design process. Sometimes he even uses his own customers' Instagram imagery as a starting point for a collection. The designer explained how social media impacts his decisions:

"I can really see who she is, where she's going, what she's doing – it's incredible! You see your client and you think, 'OK she goes skiing. Do we have something she can wear après ski?' Women are so active nowadays, they wear so many hats and, for us, it's important to know that we are catering for each element of her life."

Having conquered the women's luxury shoe market, what's next on Osorio's list? "We are working on Aquazzura Baby." More success awaits, we can be sure of that.

The Aquazurra Christy pop-up is now open in Harrods' Shoe Heaven in the UK. Via Harper's Bazaar UK