Fancy footwork: Meet Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura

The last few seasons have seen a departure from the paradigm of the “higher is better” platform heavy, over-adorned shoes that dominated all subsets of fashion for years. There’s been a shift towards simplicity, that goes beyond a penchant for the monochromatic or interest in Normcore; it’s a desire to get back to the basics.

An emphasis on classic, well made shoes rather than statement pieces is what today’s luxury customer is after, and it’s what a brand like women’s shoe line Aquazzura is offering.

The line created by Edgardo Osorio, has seen a tremendous growth in just three years. His shoes are well thought out, carefully researched and made to endure. Edgardo uses a soft, supple cashmere leather, which has been patented for Aquazzura. He focuses on clean lines and shapes, which flatter women of all ages. His design aesthetic revolves around the notion of a shoe which is sexy and sophisticated at the same time.

For Edgardo, it’s all about pleasing the women he dresses. He’s had a global upbringing, born in Colombia, with time spent in Miami, school in London and now living and working in Florence. His shoes are a reflection of the universal needs of all women: reliable shoes that look great and are bearable for more than just a dinner party.

Although only 28, Edgardo’s already had a lengthy tutelage under Italian accessory designers. He’s designed for Salvatore Ferragamo, René Caovilla and was the head of accessories for Roberto Cavalli. His own line, while very different from the aforementioned, has picked up the right cues from his previous mentors – good materials solely produced in Italy and a real sense of artisan, all signs of longevity.

We visited Edgardo at Holt Renfrew and viewed his F/W 14 collection, a mashup of classic shapes and colorful hues (crimson was our favorite). We watched him sketch for a while, and asked him to share with us how the freedom of his own line has opened him up creatively and he spoke to us about his lifelong love of shoes and why comfort is not a dirty word.

Aquazzura brings sophistication to comfort

Aquazzura is all about sensual sensibility.

The women’s shoe line was launched by Edgardo Osorio in 2011 and has already garnered a reputation for its sleek design and comfortable leathers.

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Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura

Giambattista Valli once said that the hardest thing in fashion is not to be known for a logo, but known for a silhouette. For Edgardo, his signature lays in the ergonomic factor of his shoes. He chooses to work with a special cashmere suede (specifically patented for Aquazzura). He’s studied how balance is split between the ball, sole and arch of the foot. Edgardo is more concerned with the feel and look of the shoe on the woman, versus having the shoe be a flashy, uncomfortable accoutrement.

Thunder Bootie

Thunder Bootie

His passion for both design and the comfort of his customer are telltale signs of the longevity for Aquazzura. The brand’s underlying philosophy seems to be suave but wearable.

We spent some time with Edgardo (and his shoes) when he visited Holt Renfrew and he summed it up best by telling us, “If you’re not comfortable, you’re not sexy.”

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Follow Me Bootie

Follow Me Bootie

Follow Me Bootie

Next we’ll be sharing with you our video interview, stay tuned.

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Sexy Fringe Bootie

 

 

New York Fashion Film Festival founders explore the genre of fashion films

Each year, the New York Fashion Film Festival gathers aficionados of fashion and film for an evening of exploration and discussion about this new genre of fashion film. The festival is a collaborative effort between Stephen Frailey, Bon Duke, Chris Labzda and Jimmy Moffat and is held at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

The festival highlights the best fashion films of the year, and doesn’t differentiate between films shot by novice filmmakers and those backed by big budgets and a Coppola. Showcasing emerging talent is important to the founders of the festival, as the genre of fashion film continues to mold and evolve. In the last decade the prominence of fashion films have grown exponentially. Easier access to equipment, and the ‘more-is-more’ work ethic we’ve adapted to as a society has lead creatives to explore their talents in many different fields . This kind of attitude is what has allowed fashion designers such as Tom Ford the opportunity to try their hand at directing. The festival echoes this attitude, as it offers a platform for directors who are able to work in different disciplines.

Fashion films demand a fine balance – they must be able to show the clothing without actually having the clothes overpower the narrative – to sell without being overt. Fashion films continue to grow and evolve each season as it becomes increasingly more popular for fashion houses to show a video alongside each collection. It’s been a fast turn around time, helped by the advent of social media and the global reach of these films. And they do not disappoint. From elaborate, sweeping productions to reviving hilarious sitcom characters, directors have blended so many genres to create the new genre of fashion film.

Because fashion films have become so integral to the business of fashion in such a short amount of time, it leads to many questions about its future in fashion. What other interactive opportunities could come from the merging of fashion and video? Will still images and fashion films live side by side?

We headed to Manhattan to interview three of the four partners of the New York Fashion Film Festival, and asked them to share with us their opinion on what makes a good fashion film, their first recollection of a fashion film and their plans for opening up the festival in other markets.

 

Check out our favorite films by Monica Menez, Danny Sangra and Gareth Pugh 

Fashion film director and photographer Bon Duke on the importance of communication

New rules. It’s the unspoken mantra that is moving the creatives of today. Everyone is looking for fresh ways to push ideas forward, to do things as they’ve never been done before. It’s an emboldening time to be an artist; you get to open all of your own doors, or maybe decide they aren’t doors at all. From Beyoncé dropping her album at midnight with no promotion, to the legions of street artists that are earning an income from “defacing” property, there is no form of conventionality when art and commerce are joined.

The outcome of a multitasking society is the multi-professional – someone who can cohesively manage several occupations in different fields. It’s a difficult balancing act, the key to longevity seems to be the ability to perform well in each sector, and there is no one doing it better than Bon Duke. He’s a Brooklyn (born and raised) based fashion photographer/director/co-founder of the New York Fashion Film Festival. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan with a masters in photography and film and since than has platooned forward shooting Alexa Chung for the cover of Time Out, celebrity portraits for Ciara and Eve for Block Magazine  and filmed with Nowness for Chloe . His videos are an enchanting mix of expression and emotion with a suggestion of something more sinister.

Bon toys with all of the perceptions of the fashion industry. He understands how to blend fashion seamlessly into his videos without it making it all about the clothing. His videos have a vision, a narrative, in a few minutes, you’re transported, made to feel something, beyond an admiration for the shoes.

He’s accomplished so much in a short period of time, yet his aspirations only climb higher. He’s looking into some entrepreneurial options and hopes to one day create a scholarship program at his alma matter. Beyond all of his accolades, Bon is an example that the ceiling is only as high as you set it.

We visited his Brooklyn studio mostly to hang out and watch him paint, but also asked him to share with us his thoughts on his love of photography, how he learned to communicate and why doing just one thing isn’t enough.

 

 

Simone Oliver on the visual journey of Street Style

When Instagram announced that it would be adding video in mid- 2013, the press immediately dismissed it as a calculated move for parent company Facebook to combat the popular, Twitter owned, Vine video app. Instagram’s change didn’t hurl Vine into the virtual purgatory that Hi5 and Friendster inhabit, as critics were sure it would. Instead, the growth of Instagram pushed Vine to define itself, and it’s done just that, reemerging as comedic community with six second skits and video memes.

The progression from photo to video on the internet has been gradual; YouTube’s arrival in 2005 completely changed the way that society shares information, by generating a video platform for anyone with access to a camera. In less than a decade, it’s spawned an entire enterprise of vloggers, gurus, and entertainers who sustain an income solely from creating videos for their YouTube channel. Video is now a preferred method of communication with the introduction of applications like FaceTime and Skype, and the question of how video and photography will coincide together is becoming a major topic of interest.

We, the people of the internet, now demand more social interaction than ever before. The popularity of video is understandable; it satiates human curiosity more than the pixels in a still image can. A video offers a way to humanize the message that you are delivering – whether from a person or a brand.

Simone Oliver, Online Fashion Editor at the New York Times has an eye for technological trends as much as style trends. She recognized the growing interest in alternative forms of media early on and in 2007 was instrumental in turning Bill Cunningham’s street style column into a fashion soundscape. Each piece has Bill’s voice narrating over his photographs, enthused as he sparks off facts and anecdotes in his signature sweet style. The combination has proven to work well; it offers a more intimate experience and the viewer can glean much about Bill by hearing why he chose to feature certain photos in his column that day.

Simone continued to innovate by adding Intersection, a selection of street style videos to the Style section of the Times. She was inspired by the unique, everyday fashion that New Yorkers are well known for. Using video rather than photography for street style presents the story of these ordinary people in such a different way. People we see in the streets aren’t usually models – what makes them interesting is their styling, and implied confidence more than any particular garment they have on. Intersection has expanded to include people in different epicentres around the world and some more obscure places.

It will be interesting to see what the next advancement in technology will be, but Simone is ready. Her aptitude for incorporating technology and savvy interest in social media is the kind of thing that keeps the Times at the forefront of digital journalism. We visited Simone at the Times headquarters in Manhattan and asked her to share with us what it was like working with Bill, starting intersection and about her fondness for social media.