It’s rare to see a shoe brand making the impact that Andrea Wazen has on a global level. Launched in 2014 by the brand’s namesake designer at the age of just 24, the eponymous brand has attained global recognition with the likes of Hollywood A-listers Hailey Beiber, Kylie Jenner, Olivia Culpo and Emily Ratajkowski being avid wearers. And why wouldn’t they be? Andrea’s unique approach to shoes is fresh, contemporary and incredibly flattering all at once. Everything about them screams originality, a difficult feat especially when it comes to one of the world’s oldest design crafts, but Andrea Wazen is determined to do things her way.
On the launch of her A/W19 collection, we sat down with the talented Beirut-based designer and former BAZAAR Bride cover star to talk all things shoes.
Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia: Tell us about your brand, how did it come to be?
Andrea Wazen: I always loved fashion and knew I wanted to study it, but it was during my time at Instituto Marangoni in Paris that I really discovered my passion for shoes. I went on to specialize in shoe design at Central Saint Martins in London and had the chance to work for Rupert Sanderson and Christian Louboutin where I learned everything about running a luxury shoe brand. Inspired by my experiences in Paris and London, I moved back to Beirut and started my own shoe brand.
HBA: When did you realise you wanted to specialise in shoe design?
AW: I was at Instituto Marangoni when a friend of mine happened to see my sketches and encouraged me to pursue shoe design – until that moment I had never even realized it was possible to specialise in shoes. After doing some research, I enrolled in an online shoe design course to further explore my interest and absolutely loved it! After that, I couldn’t wait to finish my Fashion Design degree in Paris to begin my journey.
HBA: Andrea Wazen shoes are designed and produced in Lebanon, was this a conscious decision?
AZ: YES! I cannot begin to tell you how many people discouraged me from producing in Lebanon. Almost everyone recommended that we produce in Italy or Spain instead, but, being Lebanese, I knew that producing in my home country would be an immense source of pride for me so I went ahead with it. It gives me so much pleasure to see how the factories I work with have evolved with my brand; I love that these talented Lebanese artisans get a chance to develop and showcase their incredible talents.
HBA: Who is the Andrea Wazen woman?
AZ: She is multifaceted – strong, elegant and independent yet romantic, on-trend and devoted.
HBA: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the A/W19 collection?
AZ: It's very personal to me. It is inspired by Le Théâtre du Merveilleux at the Musée des Arts Forains which is where I got married in Paris last year. The place is unbelievable, it’s a palace of illusions and it has a collection of unique theatrical decorations and artifacts from the 1920’s which the owner has been curating for the longest time.
Andrea Wazen autumn/winter 2019
HBA: Is there someone that you would love to see in your shoes that hasn't worn them yet?
AZ: Yes, Amal Clooney. Being of Lebanese origin, it would give me great pride to see her in my shoes. Not only does she have impeccable style, but what she represents and the active role she plays in human rights and philanthropy is inspiring.
HBA: What shoe is your favorite from the A/W19 collection?
AZ: The Franca!
HBA: What can we expect to see next from Andrea Wazen?
AZ: We have a lot of new and exciting things in the works – you will have to stay tuned!