Aquazzura Opens a Permanent Home at Bal Harbour
By Jessica Mehalic Lucas
He’s been designing shoes since he was 14, making it impossible for Edgardo Osorio to play favorites. “I love them all. They’re my babies,” says the Aquazzura founder and creative director—a.k.a. the man responsible for such cult hits as the Wild Thing fringed sandals and the lace-up Christy flats.
After stints at Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli, the Colombian-born Osorio launched his Florence-based label five years ago. His goal: Create exceptional shoes to complement women’s hectic lives. “If you go to the office or an event and after 15 minutes you want to change your shoes, then your shoes are not okay,” he says. “It’s all about making a woman feel beautiful, comfortable and sexy.” To that end, the 30-year-old sketches his own designs and consults with footwear technicians to perfect the pitch of each shoe. Osorio favors luxuriously soft materials like suede that “caress the foot” and values feedback from real women via personal appearances and Instagram (he runs the brand’s account himself). “I need to know who my client is, where she goes, what she does,” he explains. “That way I can offer her something interesting and different, a shoe she doesn’t already have in her closet.”
It’s not a surprise then that Aquazzura has skyrocketed globally, including a brand-new store at Bal Harbour Shops on the heels of the pop-up shop’s success earlier this year. “Miami is a place that’s very close to my heart,” says Osorio, who grew up there and in London. The boutique’s design, like all the brand’s stores, is unique to the city, and 20 percent of the shoe selection will be exclusive.
Expect to find many styles from the opulent From Russia With Love Fall collection; the fur pom-pom sandals and velvet platforms were inspired by a trip to Saint Petersburg during the White Nights Festival when the sun barely sets. “I travel eight months a year,” says Osorio. “Everywhere I go, I make it a point to look at new things and colors, to go to exhibitions. This is something that really inspires me.”
But the designer cites his biggest inspiration as the women he meets all over the world. “They are the heart of Aquazzura,” he says. It’s working for Osorio, who delivers two collections a year, as well as a series of capsules—most recently he collaborated with Poppy Delevingne on a boho-chic Resort collection. A children’s line also will be rolled out later this year. “It’s a mini-me collection of the most iconic shoes,” says Osorio. “It’s a great way of bonding mother and daughter. And they’re just so darn cute.”