The footwear designer, who has worked in the past with musicians including Jennifer Lopez and Zayn Malik, asked Ora for pictures of her favorite shoes and then let his imagination take flight.
“I love working with artists because they’re very efficient,” he said, adding that Ora loves fashion and he loves music. “In both our lines of profession we need to research everything, everywhere and every day. She’s very multitasking, and I admire that.”
As a result of their close collaboration, Zanotti said he was able to work in the ‘old school’ way,” meaning that he made the initial creations by hand.
“I used to buy shoes at vintage markets, cut them up and Scotch tape parts together. It’s nice after 20 years to go back to the past to work in a very artisanal way. I was painting the shoes and changing lines with scissors,” he added during an interview on the shoot with Ora.
The Giuseppe for Rita Ora collection includes slides, stiletto sandals, pointed-toe mules and knee-high, peep-toe boots with a chunky Cuban Link chain on the heel. The chain is the showpiece of the collection and was a special request of Ora’s. She said it embodies both the Zanotti brand and her personality.
“One of my favorite styles of jewelry is the Cuban Link, which also happens to be Giuseppe’s key statement, so it made sense to include it in our collaboration,” said Ora, who was decked out in a gold chain link necklace and bracelet. “It’s just a mirror of my own personal jewelry collection.”
Zanotti said the chain represents “the punk rock generation. There’s a hard rock and grunge feel to it and I think the chain is a very aggressive element — but in a good way. Chains are also a timeless accessory and I think it’s the perfect seasonal accessory for spring and summer, perfect for the clubs.”
The exclusive line will launch on Jan. 24 across select Giuseppe Zanotti stores, online, and at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. The latter will host an event on Jan. 24 to mark the collaboration. Prices start at $795 for the flats and rise to $2,495 for the boot styles.
Ora said the collaboration came about after she met Zanotti in 2017. “We really clicked, so we decided to do something that embodied Giuseppe’s and my personality,” the singer said.
“I’ve always loved his slides, so I knew we had to do a pair, it was a shoe that I remember always wanting, then saving money for, and buying. I also really like the look of PVC so that definitely had to be included,” she said.
Ora added that she doesn’t like to wear crazy heels on stage. “I’ve never been the best at that. So if I was going to do a heel, it would be a boot-fit heel and very steady, so I don’t fall over,” she said. For every day, she favors a mix of flat shoes and heels. For the shoot, she was wearing a pair of black, pointed-toe shoes with a gold block heel.
“Zanotti shoes are so sexy, it’s really nice to be able to wear shoes and feel that way,” she said.
Zanotti pointed out that the color palette was a no-brainer. “She loves red, and I put in some fuchsia also. There’s black, which is very cool, especially for the evening, and the Cuban chain detail is made in gold only,” he said.
The soft-spoken designer cheekily added that he likes to dance. Lately, he’s been rocking out to Ora’s songs “Girls” and “For You” during his design breaks. “They’re very beautiful songs,” he said.
Asked about his design process, Zanotti described shoes as “fantastic wild animals. They need respect and love and every season you need to change the recipe and make it super contemporary,” he said.