An Evening With Aquazzura’s Edgardo Osorio

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016Since launching in 2011, one shoe designer has — quite literally — taken the world by storm. His shoes are EVERYWHERE and every season his designs start one worldwide trend after another.

Edgardo Osorio. The man behind luxury footwear label Aquazzura.

Ever wondered who started the suede leather fringe sandal trend last summer? That would be Edgardo.

The cut-out suede bootie trend the summer before that? Edgardo.

The man who created what may be considered the world’s only sexy flat? Edgardo.

And I know we’re going to be seeing poms everywhere this summer thanks to these Edgardo sandals.

Despite launching Aquazzura when he was only 25 years old, Edgardo Osorio’s designs are known worldwide and found on just about every celebrity — even gracing the feet of European royalty. In 5 short years, he’s managed to entrance us all with his playful, elegant designs that focus on beautifully sourced materials and, in a shocking departure from most other luxury shoe designs, comfort.

Back in April I was honored to have the opportunity to interview the man behind the already legendary label at an event in support of the Service Club of Chicago at Barneys here in Chicago. In person, Mr. Osorio is even more charming, charismatic, and articulate than his designs and meeting him was quite honestly the biggest *pinch me* moment I’ve yet had on this blogging journey.

I couldn’t wait to find out what it was that made his shoes so approachable — they’re the sort of shoes women who’ve never bought luxury labels before buy. Each of his designs somehow manage to make luxury accessible and fun.

His designs are the sort of shoes all women WANT to wear.

The sort of shoes that are as comfortable as they are beautiful, as trendy as they are timeless.

Edgardo has proven that comfortable CAN be sexy.

And considering that each pair of Aquazzura shoes come with their own golden pineapple on the sole for good luck, they just might be the most magical designer shoes on the market.

An Interview with Edgardo Osorio

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

You launched Aquazzura in 2011 at 25 — that’s incredibly young and impressive — what inspired you to launch your own shoe collection?

Well actually that year I was invited to 12 weddings, 10 of which I went to, and I kept seeing girls complain about their shoes and I thought, you know somebody really needs to do a beautiful, comfortable shoe.

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

You really do make comfort and elegance a priority when you design your shoes, don’t you?

It really became kind of a different approach. You know honestly there are so many beautiful shoes out there but what makes ours different, apart from the design which is very distinctive, is that the shoes are actually quite comfortable. And they’re really designed around the woman’s foot. You wear a dress but the shoe wears you so the shoe really does need to become part of your body. You know with shoes like the ones you’re wearing (my Aquazzura Mayfair booties), they mould to your skin. To me that’s so important — the shoe NEEDS to fit.

And actually inside my shoe boxes it says “if the shoe fits, buy it in every color”. It’s as much about beauty as it is comfort. If you’re not comfortable you’re not going to feel beautiful. You’ll feel beautiful for 10 minutes but then afterwards… ha ha.

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

Where does the name Aquazzura come from?

Well actually Aquazzura is two words in Italian — ‘aqua’ and ‘zura’ which means “blue water”. I was actually in Capri when I came up with the name and I wanted a name that reminded me of the Italian holiday, of the dolce vita, of the summer, of the Italian summer and going on holiday. That was it — I wanted something positive! My favorite color is blue so my shoe boxes are blue — blue water, blue box.

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

Which of your designs is your absolute favorite?

It’s like asking your favorite child, it’s a bit difficult. There are many that I love, I mean right now I love the pom-pom sandals and the Wild Things and these very fun shoes that make you think of summer and make you think of something fun and make you want to have a cocktail and go dancing which I love. And so anything that makes you happy, I think that’s great. So for me, those are my favorites.

I mean, I love that we’ve been able to make flats into something different — we make flats that women can wear day-to-night and it really changed the way a lot of women thought of flats. A flat can be sexy! A flat can be dressier and fashionable! I have women who’ve never worn flats wearing them at fashion week because they’ve finally found the flat they COULD wear. It’s funny, I had a girl tell me “you flats are my date night flats — they’re the one flat my boyfriend likes”.

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

How do you see the Aquazzura brand evolving over the next five years?

Well there’s a lot, certainly, retail-wise. We’re opening a store in New York this month and then we’re opening in Miami in June/July and hopefully in LA soon as well. Maybe even some day in Chicago too. So definitely a retail expansion.

I love accessories so all different kinds of accessories in the future. I would love to do bags one day and other things. Next year I’m working on doing babies too! A lot of our clients have kids and so Aquazzura baby is certainly something very fun!

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016So if you were to do a bag in the near future, what sort of bags are you looking to design?

I’m looking to design bags that have the functionality and beauty my shoes have. I see my bag being soft, and easy, and light. Just like my shoes.

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

How would you define the Aquazzura woman?

I mean, I always tell people look at my clients on social media. I definitely think my woman is not to pigeon-holed, she’s very active, she loves life, she enjoys fashion. But it’s about having fun and not so much about the shoes only. It’s about enjoying yourself — it’s very general, there is no real specific. I think that we have so many ages and so many different types of women that are Aquazzura women that I never like to be so specific because I think it’s very limiting.

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016What does being a luxury brand mean to you? Your shoes are on EVERY celebrity right now and you’re starting so many major shoe trends each year, what does it mean to be at the forefront of fashion for you?

Being in luxury is creating beautiful things that make people dream. And taking the time to do things the way they were meant to be done so they’ll last.

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016And how important is sourcing your materials for your shoes?

It’s very important. If you see our materials and see what we do, it’s a big part of developing the shoes. Developing even just the suede on your booties — it’s a special suede made just for us we call “cashmere suede” because it’s so soft. So it’s a big part of the brand — good sourcing. If you notice a lot of the suedes are VERY soft because it’s very important to us.

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016And is that why you chose to have your home office in Florence?

Yes well all of the best shoes are made in Tuscany!

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016And where do you see Aquazzura evolving in the next five years? Do you hope to continue to be at the forefront of all these beautiful trends you have such a knack for starting?

I hope so. To me, I’m very lucky to do what I love to do so if I can keep on doing it for many years more, it’ll be my pleasure. I’m very lucky that I get to do what I love. It’s a privilege!

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016Is this your first time to Chicago?

Yes. It’s been too fast but it’s been very nice and I would love to come back and get to experience it a bit more.

Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016Would you tell me in your words what the golden pineapple means to you?

So the golden pineapple is a lucky charm in Asia so it brings good luck and good fortune and I love the idea that you’re wearing a lucky charm on the bottom of your foot everyday.

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

It was an absolute honor meeting Mr. Osorio — he was even kind enough to autograph my first pair of Aquazzura booties to commemorate the interview!Barneys Chicago Aquazzura April 2016The rest of the event was incredibly fun! Be sure to read gorgeous Janet of Fashionaholic’s interview with Edgardo here too! A huge thank you to the team at Barneys to hosting such a beautiful evening!

Barneys Chicago Edgardo Osorio Interview Aquazzura(Photo Credit: Barry Brecheisen)

And also thank you to Anna of Noir Friday for coming with me to my interview (and for buying me a glass of champagne before for courage!).

Aquazzura Mayfair BootiesWhich of Aquazzura’s designs are your favorites?

(All Uncredited Photos Are My Own)

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