Aquazzura launches its tableware collection at Milan Design Week – WWD
MILAN — After creating on-trend shoes worn by actresses and Hollywood royals, Aquazzura founder Edgardo Osorio is stepping foot under the interiors table with the launch of a tableware collection.
Shown during Milan Design Week, the inaugural line is part of the Aquazzura Casa project that Osorio first showcased in 2020, when he tapped designer Fiona Leahy as co-creative director to develop the design. home business.
While at the time expanding into home furnishings might seem like overkill for a brand rooted in luxury footwear, Osorio pointed out that the idea actually dates back to when the company was founded in 2012.
“When I started Aquazzura I always wanted it to be a lifestyle brand and that’s why I named it that,” said Osorio, who dreamed up the moniker while gazing at the crystal clear waters. of Capri, his favorite island.
“So it was about Italy, summer and the Dolce Vita, seen in a modern way. That’s how I imagined it and always thought it would have been more than just shoes. It just took me 10 years [to do it]”, he added, laughing. “What’s funny is that [home design] is really a project of love and passion, not necessarily something that makes a lot of sense. Maybe it would have made more sense to launch men’s bags or shoes first, but I’m so passionate about tableware and interiors that I really wanted to do that. And it was a good time in the last two years, I had time to devote myself to it more.
Even though Osorio first approached the interior world in 2017 – when Aquazzura teamed up with UK interior design label de Gournay to create a special wallpaper and limited-edition matching shoe capsule – the idea of a structured launch came to fruition just before the pandemic, as the designer wanted the project to be part of the initiatives marking the brand’s 10th anniversary this year. While waves of closures may have slowed down the production process, they also triggered the explosion in market demand for this category.
“I think people have rediscovered the art of entertaining and having guests at home. It’s a beautiful expression of love: you’re taking the time to do something beautiful for your friends and family. It’s so nice to create a mood and put some music on so some people can relax and feel comfortable… It’s a lot more personal and intimate than going to a restaurant,” he said. he declares.
In his case, he also honed his hosting skills thanks to Leahy, whom he met years ago. Founder of her eponymous design line, Irishwoman Leahy is well known in the industry thanks to her connections to celebrities and brands, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Stella McCartney and Aquazzura herself, for whom she has designed parties, events, dressed windows and dining tables.
“She’s sort of the queen of table settings. When we did dinners and events we always put so much love into the tables and they were always a big hit people really wanted to buy them or find out more so [Aquazzura Casa] was kind of a natural evolution of it,” Osorio said.
“As for me, I have always considered myself a creative person who does fashion, but I am not a fashion person per se. I’m so much more interested in interiors, design and the arts in different other areas,” continued Osorio, who enjoys going to antique fairs, flea markets and auctions for inspiration. “So this world has always been part of me, and you can see it even when you walk into my stores. All of them are different: I’m very involved in design and I like to describe them as my little living rooms in each city.
On the one hand, the store he opened in Capri in 2020 was inspired by the vibrant spirit of the island, with seaside designs, pastel colors, coral carvings and a painted ceiling. the hand representing local symbolic elements such as lemons, oranges, flowers and ship’s ropes. .
The tableware collection presented this week will include some of these motifs, in addition to other iconic codes of the brand, such as the pineapple decorating the soles of shoes and the Aquazzura boxes that Osorio has chosen as a symbol of hospitality, beauty and luck.
Divided into four themes, the tableware collection includes “Tutti Frutti”, a theme directly related to Capri, as the porcelain pieces and tablecloths are adorned with lemons and cherries; the “Jaipur” line, defined by white China mixing cobalt blue, pink and burgundy graphic accents with floral and fruity motifs, and the “Cherry Blossom” range of delicate celadon green and powder pink plates, soup tureens and trays paying homage to the Japan’s sakura season.
In addition to the floral reference, the “Secret Garden” line injects a modern twist into tableware and fabrics inspired by 18th century China. As part of this theme, a limited-edition kitchen made by historic Florentine company Officine Gullo and hand-painted with the same botanical designs will also be unveiled at Fuorisalone. The exclusive furnishings mark Osorio’s second collaboration with Officine Gullo, after the two parties teamed up to create the designer’s own kitchen last year.
But to think that Osorio started his adventure in kitchen and tableware interiors for a preference towards this area of the house would be a mistake. “Actually, I started with the kitchen because I don’t like being there. Never,” he said, bursting out laughing. “So when I did this for my home, I wanted a space where I wanted to be, that made me happy and comfortable.”
The designer thinks his experience speaks for a lot of people, as he noted that there is “a very big void in the market for the kinds of tablescapes that make people dream, that bring the Italian dream to your table.”
“When I think of my favorite shoes, they are the ones that make you smile, that when you wear them you already feel like you are on vacation or somewhere else…I feel like the same can apply to the dishes,” he said. “It’s so nice to see a beautiful plate or a beautiful table at breakfast, it makes you smile and can change your day,” he continued, noting that these products can last for decades compared to trends. fashion ephemera.
The category is meant to introduce Aquazzurra to a wider audience, which is one of the reasons Osorio doesn’t view its foray into homewares as a side project, unlike other fashion competitors.
“We have created a separate company, we have four collections, we have over 400 storage units, including linens, china, Murano glassware, gift items. There is something for everyone and you can buy a whole table or just a cup, there are so many ways to approach it.
While the catalog should already be expanded with candles, home fragrances and, from next year, cutlery, the holistic approach to the category is seen as a major asset by the designer. Osorio noted that while many companies in the field specialize in specific products, presenting well-rounded and already organized tables makes the offer more accessible to inexperienced consumers and facilitates the shopping experience. To further help customers, Aquazzura will create tutorials on how to set up tables and decorate them in different ways, launching them on its online store along with the collection.
The physical rollout will begin from the brand’s flagship in Florence, which will be refitted with an additional surface opening of 2,153 square feet in September. As a result, it will be the largest Aquazzura store in the world and will feature the in-house range, as well as new fashion categories to come.
In addition, the tableware line will be offered in the brand’s store in New York, while the company is considering a plan for international stores as well as corners within its existing distribution network to focus on the project.
Overall, Aquazzura collections are distributed in 300 doors across 58 countries. Along with boutiques in Capri, Florence and New York, the brand has standalone stores in Milan, London, Miami, Doha, Dubai and São Paulo, and is set to launch units in Madrid and Paris soon.