Edgardo Osorio is the kind of guy who always puts his best foot forward.
And why not? A rising star in the fashion world — he is both the Fashion Footwear Association of New York’s and Marie Claire’s “Designer of the Year” — Edgardo is as impeccably stylish as the sexy yet ladylike shoes, boots and booties he creates as co-founder (with partner Ricardo D’Almeida Figueiredo) and creative director of Aquazzura.
He slipped into the opening of The Saks Shops Greenwich’s intimate yet edgy 10022-SHOE Greenwich, nattily attired in a three-piece blue suit accented by a blue-and-white checked tie and pocket square, black patent loafers sans socks and a signature silver pineapple pin, symbol of good fortune. Like all true stars, his is a quiet charisma.
Though he is a citizen of the world — born in Cartagena, Colombia, nurtured in Miami and London and headquartered in his beloved Florence —the debut of Saks’ first standalone shoe store was Edgardo’s first foray into WAG country. But he had to be there, he told WAG, and not just for professional reasons. All the proceeds from the tickets sold to the opening party and 10 percent of sales at the event went to Sole Sisters, founded in 2005 as the Women’s Initiative for the Greenwich United Way to support everything from educational services to mental health.
“Saks has been a big supporter of mine since the beginning,” he said. “Whatever we can do to support the store, of course. But it’s so important to give back as well.”
When it comes to giving you a lift — literally and figuratively — “There’s something about shoes, isn’t there?” he mused. “It’s so emotional the connection.”
A pair of shoes may be your entrée to adventure. You might not want to wear a fuchsia dress, Edgardo said, but you can buy a pair of fuchsia shoes for a pop of color. (Note, for instance how British Prime Minister Theresa May uses leopard-print kitten heels to give her conservative suits a bit of playfulness.)
A pair of shoes can transport you without your leaving the sofa, dressing up a casual look and spicing up a prim one. Taking a nearby stiletto from its perch, Edgardo smiled as he noted how Marilyn Monroe would remove the heel cap from one of the pumps she was wearing to create the famed Marilyn jiggle.
You’ll have no trouble wiggling in Aquazzura’s Leather Pom-Pom Sandal or Fringed Sandal from the company’s Wild Things collection. But you can also stand securely and demurely in Aquazzura’s fabulous platform peep-toe pumps or chunk-heel pumps with their high back and thin strap at the ankle.
These are velvet, as are the thigh-high boots Edgardo is loving at the moment. He was inspired to create them by a visit to St. Petersburg — the cultural capital of Russia that is home to the Hermitage Museum and Mariinsky Theatre, among many other artistic sites — and by the city’s patroness, Empress Catherine the Great.
“The Russians were the first big art collectors in the world.”
Edgardo’s love of all things beautiful, especially shoes, began with his mother and her four sisters, his aunts. That’s a lot of feet to keep happy. After attending the London College of Fashion and Central St. Martins, Edgardo stepped into the footwear world, working for Salvatore Ferragamo, René Caovilla and Roberto Cavalli. In 2011, after a decade in the industry, Edgardo launched Aquazzura — at the ripe old age of 25.
Since then, business has tripled and the company has created three boutiques in addition to a strong brand presence in the top department stores. The flagship is in the 15th-century Palazzo Corsini overlooking the Arno River in Florence, where he also has a pied-à-terre. With its fresco ceilings, golden arabesques and emerald-green furnishings, the Aquazzura flagship is a shop fit for the Corsini Pope, Clement XII.
In contrast, the boutique located in a vintage townhouse on Albemarle Street in London’s Mayfair section is a mod affair with a blue palette, more of Edgardo’s signature stripes and neon over the focal point, an altar. (Edgardo has spoken in the past about his shops as “churches of shoes.”)
Perhaps best of all to date is the Madison Avenue boutique, which opened in May and was inspired by the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. It’s a pink, black and white affair, with a backlit altar, marble striped columns and pink suede couches marrying the classic to the modern. A Miami boutique will open by the end of this year. Other boutiques are planned for Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow and Paris.
No doubt they will be as aesthetic as every other aspect of his life. His Florentine apartment is eclectic and art-filled. For a Spanish-flavored party for Paris Fashion Week, he dressed as a glittering matador. And for his 30th birthday, he threw a party that featured bird masks.
Edgardo acknowledges that he wears shoes more for aesthetics than for comfort. (Isn’t that often the way, ladies?) But he wants his fans — who include Beyoncé, Nicole Kidman, Diane Kruger, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rihanna and Charlize Theron — to be able to dance in his dazzling designs. For spring, he’s set feet upon the jungles of Africa and South America, with flats and spiky- and chunk-heel sandals festooned with beads, feathers and coral.
The world of fashion is such that there is a variety of footwear so you can mix it up, pairing evening pumps with jeans or wearing flats for evening.
What matters is the individual, he said.
“If the shoe looks good on you,” he said, “wear it.”
For more, visit aquazzura.com.