Just over a year and a half old, Aquazzura is poised to be the next big footwear brand--a point designer Edgardo Osorio made clear at his Pitti Uomo presentation in Florence this week. The word "presentation" doesn't really do it justice, though; it was an event, a true spectacle.
Held at the stunning Palazzo Corsini, guests were greeted by a woman seated in a red Ferrari parked in the courtyard; next they weaved through a handful of male models--wearing tuxes and pink stilettos--arranged on the staircase. On the upper level, there was a ballet performance featuring more heel-clad dancers (from the Prima of the Scala in Milan), a cycling room where models furiously pedaled in yet more high heels and turbans, and a tap-dancing act.
"The event was actually all about dance, all about movement with heels," Osorio told Fashionista at the presentation. "As a Colombian I love to dance. And I am very famous for doing very, very comfortable shoes. A lot of my shoes are like a second skin because they're in unlined cashmere suede, so it's like the woman is wearing nothing. I love to dance, and usually at weddings or in a club, when a shoe is very uncomfortable the girl has to take it off. I made it my mission to make shoes you can dance in and I wanted to prove it in a very beautiful way."
The cycling room was one of the highlights for me.
"It's the idea of a fashion gym," Osorio said. "It's actually inspired by Catherine Baba, the French stylist, because I always see her in Paris, riding her bicycle with her turban and her heels, looking gorgeous."
Osorio spent ten years working for Roberto Cavalli and clearly shares bits of the designer's aesthetic. Aquazzura's best-seller is a lace-up stiletto, and this season it was rendered in a sumptuous snakeskin. However his shoes are one-third of Cavalli's price, ringing in at about $600 to $700.
"I love that idea that you can even do day-to-day things in a beautiful glamorous way," Osorio said. "I wanted to show you can ride your bicycle and do your spinning, do all you want, while wearing heels--especially mine, because they're so comfortable."
The comfort factor helped when it was time to convince the male models to wear stilettos for the hours-long presentation.
"It was a little bit tricky [to get the male models to wear heels], but then they came onto it. As soon as they put them on they were all taking pictures and Instagraming them and Tweeting them, and they were having fun. At the end of the day, they were having a blast. I like fashion to be fun."
So does the designer ever step out in his own heels? "Not really, but, you know, I should."
As for what's next, Osorio says his team is working on increasing its U.S. presence--which the designer says is his biggest market. The label is already carried by Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Bergdorf Goodman, and is coming to Barneys in November. A standalone New York store is also in the works. And Osorio has plans to move into other categories: "Hopefully we'll be launching bags soon."
We can't wait.
Photos: Nonamephoto Studio for Pitti Immagine