Famed Colombian shoemaker teams up with Poppy Delevingne

Edgardo Osorio collaborates with British celebrity model on elegant footwear line rooted in bohemian glamour

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 January, 2016, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 January, 2016, 2:00pm

Fancy footwear’s latest wunderkind is 30-year-old Edgardo Osorio of Aquazzura. The dapper Colombian is sporting a perfectly tailored jacket and adjusting a pair of his creations on display in a suite at The Upper House in Pacific Place. It is pouring with rain outside and more ominous dark clouds loom, but the fashion editor favourite is in an upbeat mood. He is in Hong Kong to show off a new capsule collaboration.

Osorio has joined forces with British model and consummate It girl Poppy Delevingne for a collection he says was inspired by a treasured piece of Delevingne’s own jewellery and the celestial sphere. Read into it what you will, but people expected something good to happen when they heard that these two fashion stars had aligned. Together, in person, they are two of the prettiest, shiniest people you are ever likely to meet.

“I actually met Poppy in Paris and she was wearing my shoes. I just thought it was meant to be,” Osorio says.

Almost as if on cue, Delevingne, who was delayed, bursts into the room, all glamour puss blonde hair, sheer black minidress and a pair of strappy tied flats at the end of her long legs.

“Oh, doesn’t it just feel like a dream?” she announces to everyone in the room, and quips, “we brought you the rain as a gift.”

The pair hit it off instantly. And soon enough are planning design meetings to discuss their collaboration, after Osorio had been toying with the idea.

“I had this idea, I wanted to do something with an English girl and I thought ‘who is the coolest English girl I know?’, immediately my mind went to her,” he says. “Not only is she fun and an amazing girl, but she also has great taste.”

Osorio’s Aquazzura label has been riding the crest of a wave recently, even though he started the brand less than five years ago. As well as collecting a swathe of industry awards, his most recent coup was a collaboration with storied Italian label Salvatore Ferragamo – making fashion history as the only designer label to do a collection with the 89-year-old brand.

Celebrity and model Delevingne is older sister to another British supermodel, Cara Delevingne, and a permanent fixture on London’s social scene. The match could not have been better timed.

Poppy’s look is that of a globe-trotting glamour girl: where English rose meets liberated bohemian chic. It was a style that Osorio wanted to bring to Aquazzura. They looked at her recent wedding (to James Cook) in Morocco for inspiration and built a layered mood board.

“I always think of my style as quite eclectic, but it clearly isn’t because I seem to keep going back to bohemia ... that freedom, that vibe,” Delevingne says.

Osorio picks up the thread. “She got married in the desert and we loved the idea of being inspired by the moon and the stars and something mystical.” He turns to a spread of iconic pictures of Talitha Getty on a rooftop in Marrakesh from the late 1960s, “this very relaxed chic”, he adds.

The capsule is well edited, featuring navy blue with silver, nude with gold and accented details of coral and turquoise, earthy hues of brown, black and some tassels. The shoes are designed with the dedicated traveller in mind. There are pumps, booties, but also espadrilles, ballerina and party shoes.

Osorio says colourful destinations such as Morocco and India drove the palette and the whole look was “mashed up” with constellations and “translated into something unique”.

“One of my favourite things is digging for unique treasures that stand out,” says Poppy. “In Saint-Tropez, where I have been going all my life, I found these vintage earrings ... I just knew that I wanted to do something with them later. When Edgardo and I had our first design meeting, he told me to bring something that was precious to me to the next meeting.”

The earrings and the wedding, were all personal touches from Delevingne’s lifestyle that Osorio managed to translate into surprisingly relatable shoes for the everywoman: delicate pointy flats, to sturdy braided leather tassel boots, to the more glamorous silhouettes of sexy party shoes – a range that could take you from work to dinner and dancing.

“As a male designer, you always need a woman’s touch,” says Osorio, who works mostly with women and has been surrounded by them since childhood.

The collaboration “was surprisingly easy and fluid” and he says the pair enjoyed “a great dialogue”. They quickly agreed on a direction, then looked over fabrics, textures and colours. As they discussed options, Osorio would sketch.

“You kind of have to step back and let the artist do his work, he was just drawing and scribbling, and I can barely draw a stick person,” she says, before explaining that she discovered Aquazzura shoes when a good friend gave her a pair of his beloved Belgravia flats.

“I literally lived in that pair of shoes for a year, they died a death because I wore them every day ... I could wear them with everything, that was what was so clever.”

This versatility, and the drop dead glamour without sacrificing comfort, is what Osorio is often praised for. Having lived in London and Milan for years, the designer has an appreciation for footwear craft as well as that very British way of mixing and melding ideas and people together.

This charming collaboration has got the mix just right.