Founder Edgardo Osorio is basically the Prince Charming of luxury footwear
After meeting with Edgardo Osorio, founder of Aquazzura, I have a better understanding of what meeting with a prince must be like. The Colombia-born, Florence-based, trilingual Osorio has an old-world aristocratic elegance to him that makes me think he is either a) royalty or b) an undercover spy. Perhaps this is why Meghan Markle wore a pair of Aquazzura nude pumps the day her engagement to Prince Harry was announced?
Osorio is also a proverbial old soul, adept at speaking about colonial-era illustrators one minute, and mingling with guests at an intimate lunch inside the new Colette at Holt Renfrew, Yorkdale, the next. Osorio is a rare designer who doesn’t shy away from the pubic eye, or coming face-to-face with clients and, judging from his glam Instagram feed, (@edgardoprivate) he knows how to have a good time. Luckily, after studying at London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, Osorio also had the technical chops to justify starting a luxury shoe line in 2011 when he was only 25. In person, this international man of mystery, so adored by the Kardashian-Jenners and Meghan Markles of the world, easily wins us over while talking capsule collections, wallpaper, and the power of a good high heel.
FASHION: How many languages do you speak?
EDGARDO OSORIO: Three. Just three.
Just three! Have you been to Toronto before?
I haven’t been in a while so I wanted to be back and introduce the new summer collection and also the de Gournay collaboration.
Where did that textile come from?
The whole collaboration started because my house got shot for a magazine and the de Gournay family saw it. The entrance of my house has de Gournay wallpaper, which is actually in a colour quite similar to this one, and they’re famous for doing beautiful hand painted wallpaper in either silk or Japanese paper. It’s just one of the most beautiful wallpaper companies in the world. I love wallpaper. It gives personality to a room. So they call me and they say, ‘Why don’t we do something?’ It was very natural. So I designed a wallpaper for them called “Amazonia.” The Amazonia wallpaper is this imaginary jungle. I’m Colombian and we have the Amazon in Colombia. We have monkeys, and butterflies, and parrots, and cockatoos, and you have all these. I mean, if you see the wallpaper, I was looking at illustrations from the 18th century.
I’ve always been obsessed with Wunderkammer the Cabinet of Curiosities, and these kind of antique illustrations. I was thinking of all these things when I was designing this wallpaper, which I worked with the de Gournay family to create. Then I thought well I would love to somehow make that into shoes. And so we decided to print on silk crepe because it’s a beautiful material, it’s not satin. Silk crepe is somehow a little more durable.
This actually is silk crepe?
And it’s more durable and it’s more wearable. You can wear it in the winter, you can wear it in the summer and then we embroidered on the silk threads because it’s not hand painted, unfortunately, because they would get damaged too easily, the shoes. We had the wallpaper printed on fabric and then had it embroidered on top to give it life and it just looks so fresh. We did a first iteration of it in pink and it sold out in two days.
All over the world.
I know you do a flat in this collection. What do you think of the running shoe craze?
Right now it is a craze, I think there’s a moment for everything. There’s a moment for a sneaker, there’s a moment for a heel, there’s a moment for a flat, there’s a moment for a sandal. It’s part of a modern woman’s wardrobe. I think when they take over your wardrobe, it’s also nice to have some variety, it’s nice to be a little more dressed up sometimes.
You’re a big believer in ‘pretty.’
Yes and as much as I believe in comfort – my focus for the brand is on comfort – there’s so much more variety of options [in shoes] where you can wear a mid-heel, you can wear a flat, a ballerina, there’s so many other shoes that you can wear that are so much more beautiful than maybe wearing a sneaker. I do like sneakers and I have them in my collection. But I also think that it’s all about balance.
There is nothing like seeing a woman wearing a heel. You stand taller, you walk in a different way, your legs look like a million dollars and you can’t compare. Obviously when you’re going to the airport or running around the city that’s not the case. There is a moment to wear a heel because there is nothing quite like it.
Can we just talk about the Sexy Thing bootie. What was it like to make that style and then see it explode?
The whole idea behind this was like wearing a glove on your feet. I call them second skin shoes, they’re not lined, so they really adapt whether you have a wider foot, a thinner foot, it doesn’t matter. They really mold to your skin so they’re the most comfortable thing you can possibly wear. And it just looks beautiful and modern and nice. It’s a beautiful fit and I actually designed the shoe by the pool in Portugal. I was in a vineyard and I was just drawing and drawing. I just wanted something that was all about lines and a very pure line and no embellishment, no nothing, just a beautiful shape. It was a bootie but it had these peep openings to give it…
(nodding) To show some skin…