Milan – Having created a signature shoe worn by Hollywood actresses and royal families, Aquazzura founder Edgardo Osorio is putting his feet under the table in home décor by launching a line of cutlery.
The opening line will be presented during Milan Design Week, part of the Aquazzura Casa project that first introduced Osorio in 2020, when he appointed designer Fiona Leahy as joint creative director of home business development.
If expanding into home furnishings at the time seemed like an extension of a brand rooted in luxury footwear, Osorio confirmed that the idea actually dates back to the company’s inception in 2012.
“When I started Aquazzura, I always wanted it to be a lifestyle brand and that’s why I named it that way,” said Osorio, who dreamed of that nickname while gazing at the crystal waters of Capri, his favorite island.
“So it was about Italy, summer, and no Dolce Vita, which can be seen in a modern way. That’s how I imagined it and always thought it would be more than just shoes. It only took me 10 years. [to do it]He added with a laugh. “The funny thing is that [home design] It is really a project of love and passion, not necessarily something that makes sense. It might have made sense to shoot bags first, or men’s shoes, but I’m so passionate about tableware and interiors that I really wanted to do it. And I felt it was such a good time that in the past two years, I had the time to dedicate myself more to it. “
Even if Osorio first approached the world of interior design in 2017 — when Aquazzura teamed up with British home décor company De Gournay to create a specialty wallpaper and limited-edition shoe pod — the idea of an organized launch materialized in concrete form just before the pandemic, as the designer wanted the project to be. Part of the brand’s 10th anniversary celebration initiatives this year. While the shutdowns may have slowed production, they have also increased market demand for this category.
“I think people have rediscovered the art of hosting and having guests at home. It’s a beautiful expression of love: you take the time to make something beautiful for your friends and family. It’s great to create an atmosphere and play music so that some people can relax and feel comfortable… It’s more personal and intimate.” Much compared to going to a restaurant,” he said.
In his case, he perfected his hosting skills thanks to Leahy, whom he met years ago. The founder of her namesake design line, Irish-born Leahy is well known in the industry for her relationships with celebrities and brands, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Stella McCartney and Aquazzura herself, for which she designs parties, events, dressed windows and dinner tables.
“She’s kind of the queen of tabletops. When we’ve been doing dinners and events, we’ve always put a lot of love on the tables and they’ve always been a hit, people really wanted to buy them or learn more, so [Aquazzura Casa] It was kind of a natural evolution for him,” Osorio said.
“For me, I have always considered myself a creative person who makes fashion but not a fashion person per se. I am more interested in interiors, design, and arts in various other fields,” continued Osorio, who enjoys going to antiques fairs, flea markets, and auctions for inspiration. “So this world has always been a part of me, and you can see it even when you enter my store. They are all different: I am very involved in design and I would describe them as my little living rooms in every city.”
For example, the shop he opened in Capri in 2020 was inspired by the vibrant spirit of the island, featuring seaside motifs, pastel colors, coral carvings, and a hand-painted ceiling depicting local symbolic items such as lemons, oranges, flowers, and ship ropes.
This week’s curved cutlery collection will include some of these motifs, as well as other signature symbols of the brand, such as the pineapple embellishment on the soles and boxes of Aquazzura shoes chosen by Osorio as a symbol of hospitality, beauty and luck.
The cutlery is divided into four themes, and includes “tutti frutti”, a theme directly related to Capri where Chinese cutlery and tablecloths are decorated with lemon and cherry; The ‘Jaipur’ font, defined by white china that blends graphic touches of cobalt blue, pink and burgundy with floral and fruity motifs, and the ‘cherry blossom’ range of delicate powdery pink and green celadon bowls, bowls and trays pay tribute to the Japanese sakura season.
Adding to the floral repertoire, the “Secret Garden” line brings a modern twist to 18th century china-inspired dinnerware and fabrics. As part of this theme, a limited edition kitchen made by the historic company Officine Gullo in Florence and hand-painted with the same floral motifs as Fuorisalone will be revealed. The exclusive furniture marks Osorio’s second collaboration with Officine Gullo, after the two collaborated to create the designer’s kitchen last year.
But to think that Osorio started his project in the interiors of the kitchen and cutlery to favor this area of the house would be a mistake. “I really started with the kitchen because I don’t like being in it. So when I was making it for my home, I wanted a space where I wanted to be in it, which made me happy and comfortable,” he said with a laugh.
The designer believes his experience speaks to a lot of people, noting that there is “a really big gap in the market for the kind of table top that makes you dream, that brings the Italian dream to your table.”
He said, “When I think of my favorite shoes, they are the ones that make you smile, and when you wear them you really feel like you’re on vacation or somewhere else…I feel the same can be applied to tableware.” “It’s great to see a beautiful dish or table setting when you have breakfast, it makes you smile and can change your day,” he continued, stressing that these products can last for decades compared to fleeting fashion trends.
The category is set to introduce Aquazzurra to a larger audience, which is one reason Osorio didn’t see breaking into household items as a side project, unlike other fashion competitors.
“We started a separate company, have four collections, and have over 400 storage units, including linens, china, murano glassware, and gifts. There is something for everyone and you can buy an entire table or just a cup, and there are so many ways to handle it.”
While the catalog is already set up for expansion with candles and ambiance scents, and starting next year, the designer views the category’s holistic approach as a major asset. Osorio noted that while many companies in this field specialize in specific products, offering truly well-rounded and curated tables makes presentation more accessible to inexperienced consumers and eases the shopping experience. To further assist customers, Aquazzura will create tutorials on how to set and decorate tables in different ways, and launch them on their online store along with the set.
The brand’s physical rollout will begin from the brand’s flagship in Florence, which will be revamped with the opening of an additional 2,153 square feet of space in September. As a result, it will manufacture the largest Aquazzura store worldwide and carry the home range, along with upcoming new fashion categories.
In addition, the cutlery line will be relocated to the brand’s store in New York, while the company is looking to develop a plan for international stores in the store as well as corners within the existing retail network to allocate to the project.
In general, Aquazzura sets are distributed in 300 doors in 58 countries. Besides boutiques in Capri, Florence and New York, the brand has stand-alone stores in Milan, London, Miami, Doha, Dubai and Sao Paulo, with units slated to launch in Madrid and Paris soon.