LONDON — Aquazzura founder and creative director Edgardo Osorio understands the power of a good accessory full well: His footwear business — largely based on fantasy, rainbow-hued shoes — has been going strong despite the dramatic overhaul of everyday life in the past year and the lack of occasions for high heels.
“Yes, women will buy the flat or the sneaker, but she still wants something special or fun. It’s a feel-good purchase and is not necessarily going to break the bank like a designer handbag, so women still want to do it even if it’s just to decorate their closet. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that, at least for us as a brand, shoes continued to be strong,” said Osorio, who against all odds also opened a boutique in Capri last summer.
Now he’s broadening his offer and touching on women’s second soft spot: jewelry.
“The two things that a woman probably gets very emotional about are jewelry and shoes. I’ve also always loved designing jewelry so it was a natural extension,” said Osorio, who was encouraged by the “phenomenal success” of past jewelry collaborations he worked on.
His approach was to channel the same exuberant spirit his shoes are known for and to bring the level of quality and hand craft that’s usually associated with high jewelry to the costume jewelry category.
“What I found was missing in the market was pieces that were really show-stopping pieces. Jewelry should be a very emotional purchase, but the market is full of more dainty, logo-oriented fashion jewelry. What I have always loved and wanted to bring to the table was jewelry that makes you dream and can be a conversation starter,” said the designer, who looked for inspiration to the flowers in his garden, the colors and nature of his native Colombia and the possibility of a more joyful summer ahead.
“In the kind of moment we’re living through today, other than offering you things you need for every day to feel cozy in, fashion should also offer pieces that make you dream, that make you want to go on holiday. That will be the biggest factor going forward, as we’ll start working toward getting past this terrible period. It’ll be a moment where people will want to enjoy life, and buy things that make them feel good and make them smile.”
Hence why he turned his focus to big statement earrings or decorative headbands with a “birds of paradise” theme.
“Like the shoes we do already, this is jewelry that makes you smile,” added Osorio.
The collection, debuting exclusively on Aquazzura.com, has a wide price range to cater to entry-level customers and more discerning shoppers. Hair clips or smaller earrings start at 195 euros, while more elaborate pieces, like the statement “birds of paradise” necklace, can go up to 2,900 euros.
Later in the year, Osorio plans to add an interiors range to the Aquazzura offer, building on the success of a past wallpaper collaboration with the likes of De Gournay and customers’ ongoing interest in the table decor at the events he used to host — which were usually filled with clashing prints and a riot of colors.
“I love interiors and I’ve been wanting to get into this sector for a while, but it just never felt like the right time,” said the designer.
Encouraged by the sustained interest in his label and the extra time on his hands while in lockdown, he decided to take the leap. “I knew I wanted a lifestyle brand and I was never going to stop at shoes. But instead of doing men’s shoes or bags first, it’s interesting we’re doing something a lot more far away to the shoes we’ve become known for. Now it’s jewelry and tabletop and other categories will follow.”