Claudia Schiffer For Aquazzura Launch© GettyImages

Edgardo Osorio On The Ideal Aquazzura Woman & More

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Nayare Ali

Edgardo Osorio, the Founder and Creative Director of Aquazzura, is the man who made women fall in love with shoes. He shares his passion for footwear and how craftspeople are the heart and ‘sole’ of his Italian atelier…

HELLO!: You worked as a consultant for many Italian luxury brands, including Ferragamo and Cavalli, before establishing Aquazzura. How did these experiences shape your professional personality?

Edgardo Osorio: “Each experience was different and enriching. With Ferragamo, I learnt the classic techniques of shoemaking and comfort. With Cavalli, I discovered the best embroiderers, laser cutters, weavers and many other incredible artisans around Italy.”

H!: You’ve led quite the global lifestyle — you were born in Colombia and raised between London and Miami. When did you discover your love for shoes?

EO: “During my childhood, which I spent surrounded by women who ignited my interest in fashion, my mum wore heels all the time. For her, the shoe was always the focal point of her outfits. Also, I’ve been sketching since I was a child. After a summer course at Saint Martins in London, I started interning with fashion houses at 15, and from there, my career in shoes really started. Shoes are a window to a woman’s soul. They are emotional and can immediately transform someone... Just look at fairy tales like Cinderella to understand the importance of shoes in a woman’s life through history. A shoe can change your posture, the way you move and behave... I find that incredibly interesting.”

H!: You studied at the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. Do you believe a formal education in fashion is imperative in your line of work?

EO: “Fashion schools serve as a great foundation, but I also think it’s good to complement it with business school or courses if you plan to venture out on your own.”

H!: You recently celebrated being in the business for a decade...

EO: “It’s been incredible celebrating 10 years! It seems like yesterday and yet like a lifetime ago. But it’s funny that a lot of people are surprised that Aquazzura is just a decade old. For me, an anniversary is not a moment to look back on but to look forward to. It pushes me to think, ‘What next…’”

H!: Do you remember the moment you decided to quit working for others?

EO: “I was tired of consulting for others as I couldn’t really express my own aesthetic vision. I left my job at Cavalli, and after attending 12 weddings one summer and listening to women complain about their shoes, it felt like the right time to launch Aquazzura (in 2012), with beautiful, sexy and comfortable shoes.”

H!: Your shoes aren’t just beautifully crafted but are extremely gentle on the feet. What do you think makes an ideal Aquazzura woman?

EO: “An Aquazzura woman is a dynamic, modern woman. She’s active and a multitasker. She has a family, goes to the office and attends parties. She loves to travel, has a taste for beautiful things and wants to enjoy life. It’s her who I have in mind when I design.”

H!: Why did you establish your studio in Florence, where you began your career?

EO: “When I moved to Italy many years ago for work and to finish my studies, I felt at home. The first time I visited Florence, I was enchanted. The city is an open-air museum, and I loved it right away. Walking through its alleys, one cannot help but breathe art and history. For me, all this is a constant source of inspiration. I’m surrounded by some of the best leather masters, shoemakers and artisans in the world. The models I design are made by master craftsmen who still work with traditional techniques and the highest quality materials. Direct dialogue with the artisans is a key element for the success of my creations.”

H!: What are the key factors that you think make your shoes and designs so special?

EO: “I firmly believe comfort should be intrinsic to beauty and luxury, while creating contemporary shoes through impeccable craftsmanship. This belief has driven Aquazzura’s success. When I started my brand, I wanted to do something different. So I hired technicians who had been studying the feet and working with shoes for over 40 years. We developed casts that fit better, ones that distributed the weight of the body not only on the ball of the foot, but also in the arch and the back. We also apply an extra padding with a memory foam on the soles to make them softer.”

H!: Was your recent visit to India your first?

EO: “I’ve been to India several times. It’s such a mesmerising, enchanting place. I love its colours, its energy, its architecture, culture, history... Everything about India leaves me breathless! Last year, I had the most incredible experience during Holi at City Palace in Jaipur. This year, I was invited to what was one of the most beautiful exhibitions to celebrate India’s cultural history in fashion — the opening of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Center. The costumes, performances and outstanding visual arts... It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

H!: Who are the designers you admire?

EO: “I’ve always admired Valentino, Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford. They created worlds and brands that made generations of people dream of beauty.”

H!: Define your personal sense of style.

EO: “Classic Italian with a twist.”

H!: What does luxury mean to you?

EO: “It’s the time to design something beautifully; create something from the best materials that can stand the test of time; travel and enjoy life, family, friends and the things you love the most.”

This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the July 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!