From the fairy tale of Cinderella to the Freudian interpretations of fetishism through to the sumptuous creations that triumphantly tread today’s red carpet, the shoe has always “been something more” than a mere accessory. Perhaps because the arching of a foot over a high heel takes on the curvaceous sleekness of the whole female body. Or perhaps because the shoe, an open element that encloses the foot like a shell, has always alluded to the female sex. Or even because, given the extreme sensitivity of the sole to tickling, the whole foot is especially suited to love or irony. In essence, shoes equal exoticism. And few designer labels in the world are able to sublimate its function like Vicini and Zanotti. Heels that soar to dizzy heights, heels that are bejewelled, hollow, solid, multicoloured, total black to low-heeled sandals, ultra-flat ballet shoes and cuissarde boots…whatever the shape, form, model, style, each shoe features the unmistakable imprint of its creator and a brand that truly pay attention to the soul of women.
Creativity, innovation and authentic Made in Italy
Rewind to the 1980s. Not much more than 20, Giuseppe Zanotti abandons his DJ headset and the passion of his youth to make the ancient shoemaking tradition of his birthplace - San Mauro Pascoli - his own, embarking on his career as a footwear designer and working with internationally renowned brands. In the mid-1990s, he decided to give free reign to his desire to express his own ideas and launched the Vicini project. Together with Cinzia his wife he decided to buy a company equipped with the facilities that would enable him to produce the shoes of his dreams. A company that could be described as an “extended design office”, seeing that style, research and creativity would be its beating heart.
Thanks to product innovation, a rigorous development, production, quality control and delivery policy, an in-depth knowledge of the core markets and a carefully mapped out sales and communication strategy, Vicini SpA became the leader of the luxury footwear market, with sales showrooms all over the world and more than 50 own-brand stores. Annual sales of around Euro 70 million, generated thanks to the careful work of more than 300 employees, and a production volume of more than 400,000 pairs of shoes per year are the figures that sum up the success of this young San Mauro Pascoli-based company, whose growth has been strongly fuelled by exports, which account for around 80% of total sales.
A highly articulated process that becomes the secret ingredient, the magic, of these objects of desire, loved especially by showbiz celebrities and international jetsetters, who regularly pick out a pair of shoes by Vicini and Giuseppe Zanotti Design to walk down the red carpets of the most important ceremonies, to complete the look for a film or video clip or to attend high-profile public events.
Giuseppe Zanotti was born in San Mauro Pascoli, a small village on the Adriatic coast, not too far from Federico Fellini’s Rimini. In the early 1980s, the young Zanotti was a music-loving creature of the night, a regular face at the cultural clubs, trendsetting discos and free radios, the places that enabled him to cultivate his love of music, design and art. Strong passions that pushed him to enter the world of beauty applied to accessories.
Having grown up in a town with a grand tradition of luxury shoes, he began to sneak into the Milan and Paris prêt-a-porter shows attended by artists and designers who were the true icons of the time: Andy Warhol, Thierry Mugler, Keith Haring, Jean Paul Gaultier and Antonio López, as well as many others.
He started to work as a footwear designer with fashion companies, harnessing a lifelong passion to create shoes initially for Valentino, Thierry Mugler, Missoni, Dior and later for Roberto Cavalli, Ferré and Balmain.
A major turning point was 1994, when he and his wife Cinzia decided to acquire a small shoe factory where they could freely design and produce their own creations. Imagining a female world, he started to design jewels and heels, work silk, embroider velvet and experiment new techniques to extol this important accessory, to seek out the most sublime and hidden interpretations.
And this tiny workshop staffed by 15 people, including a jeweller, a heel and form expert and an embroiderer, was where the first collection took passionate and steadfast form to culminate in the New York launch of the Spring/Summer 2004 collection.
The buyers rewarded his work immediately. Since then Zanotti can boast the most prestigious clients in the world, from Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys to Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols to Lane Crowford and Holt Renfrew, who each season display the collections of Giuseppe Zanotti Design to their store customers.
Today, the collections are sold through the brand’s showrooms in New York, Tokyo, Milan and Moscow. The company now has an annual production of more than 400,000 pairs of luxury shoes designed for those women who see these dream accessories as an object of desire, beauty and seduction. Another reason why Giuseppe’s faithful fans, such as Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Ashanty, Mary J. Blige and many others, follow him everywhere.
Shoes for Stars
The shoes of Giuseppe Zanotti Design are no mere clothing complement, they speak to women by underscoring their character, sensuality, strength and sex appeal. Conquering the entire female universe thanks to their perfect balance of femininity and mettle.
So don’t be surprised to see the designer’s creations on stage or adorning the feet of the stars of the Golden Globe, Grammy, Oscar, MTV Music awards and the Rome and Venice Festivals. True followers are Beyoncé, Fergie, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz, Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker, to mention just a few.
“My philosophy, even when it’s fantasy, is true and also luxury is “lived”, assimilated, felt”, was the idea on which Giuseppe Zanotti wanted to build the new Spring/Summer 2010 collection. As elegant as ever, created by a game of subtle harmonies of volume, cuts and seams that flirt with the precious and sophisticated accessory. The ethnic element and the modern contrast of rich and poor flow through the collection like a common thread. One main colour – khaki – born from the expression of a transversal freedom, perfectly at ease with gold, bronze, silver and diamante. The ideal shoe for the woman of character: a Janis Joplin in Chelsea Antique Market or a Veruschka in the desert photographed by Franco Rubartelli.
For a list of Giuseppe Zanotti boutiques, click here.
Preview Giuseppe Zanotti's Spring Summer 2010 Collection