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Giuseppe Zanotti: First Music, Second Shoes

(Fragments of an interview)

Giuseppe Zanotti: First Music, Second Shoes

(Fragments of an interview)

If he gives you a sign, indicating he’s on the phone, but will be right with you, you ask yourself who he’s talking to: Beyoncé? Malik? J-Lo? Kanye West or Ridley Scott?
Then, when he gets to you, he talks to you (Mrs Nobody), he does it in a simple way, as he would do with one of the celebrities he’s friends with. Giuseppe Zanotti kept his easy-going way that astonishes people, knowing you have in front you nothing but a star.

If he hasn’t changed through the years, most certainly his design did “What has happened, and will continue to happen, gradually and spontaneously, is as adding, with each season, a new chapter to a book, and so, updating in a certain way continuously your work. For sure, with respects to the first years, the products we launch to the market have become ways more: more categories, different types of heels and shapes with which you can express yourself and it’s more articulated. We study models for the day, for evenings e we differ for every occasion, with a focus also on Men and Kids, as well as on Women. Let’s simply say we have broadened our action field.”

This year you have designed two limited editions in collaboration with Zayn Malik and Jennifer Lopez. So, music is a fix point of your life, also for the creative part…?
When I design, I always start from a playlist with about 50 songs, the credo of my creative process could be “first music, then shoes”. I listen to any type of music, from Nirvana to A$ap Rocky. There is always a strict connection between the music I listen to and my collections. Rock, for instance, is a style that influences constantly what I’m doing. Music is fundamental, to me, it is one of the main emotions. Music gives me the energy to create my shoes, and not only for that!
I believe art in general is an extraordinary source as everyone has an artistic part, and exposing yourself to art, makes that part show up. Taking for example about cinema, Blade Runner, a masterpiece of my friend Ridley Scott, has been to me a great stylistic source in the eighties. At the time I was a freelance designer. Today, with every new collection, I send Ridley my shoes.

Have you ever designed a shoe inspired by a woman in particular?
Yes, for example the model we called “Ella” refers to Ella Fitzgerald. I wanted to enclose in these shoes her soul, jazz and blues together. It brought to life an evening shoe, very luxurous, with laces, swarovski and stiletto heels.

Is there a place that has “inspired” you?
Often the airplane, as I’m isolated there and I don’t use my phone….by consequence I can really relax and find the correct concentration and inspiration.

Do you need more instinct or more technique in the creative process?
Both are very important elements. Instinct and inspiration are the step towards a new discovery. Creativity is an element that has to always be sought for: there are new defeats and technologies that stimulate your creative part and your will to invest energy in something new and innovative. Technique, on the other hand, is fundamental, it is what has permitted me to start this work. If I wouldn’t have earned a technical experience, I would not have been able to realise myself in this business.

Have you developed a particular trend in the next Fall-Winter collection?
There is never anything I would actually call “trend”. It is more as in an album, or a playlist, where there are different songs, and so different stories that are connected and tell the same story. They is a “feeling” between them, even though they can also be in contrast, but in the overall presentation there is harmony, and that is the main challenge: propose different styles, in a harmonic way.

You often speak about the importance of team work. How is yours? How have you developed the team and what is your relationship with your crew?
It came a bit at the time, so with respect to 20 years ago, when it all started, the process is definitely larger. Once there was one person taking care of everything, today with the research of forms, volumes, heels, materials, finishings and jewels, the work is done by a team of people, managed in a direct way. We work very hard and close together in certain times, working also 7 days a week. In other moments, the workload is less intense, and you can even talk about friendship.

Your name in inevitably linked to shoes. You also produce a ready-to-wear collection however…
Ours is not really a collection, it is just a few pieces in leather thought as an accessory to combine with the shoes. Working on this for me is simply fun: I believe adding some accessories as bags, a few pieces of jewellery and ready-to-wear makes our collections more vivid and complete.

Your relationship with the concept of “sustainability”?
Conscious that some types of tissue can pollute the leather when it gets in contact, we invest in leather that is worked in an absolute natural way, without chemical products that can damage health, through controlled laboratories, both for the internal and the external parts. Our items are Made in Italy and our spinneret is completely controlled.

Fortune and talent, what else do you need in life?
You can be lucky, but you can’t count on that every time, ad un certain point, you need other aspects. Talent is of course important, also that is not sufficient, you have to add dedication and patience. The summit of the shoe designer is difficult to reach, it is tortuous, complex and with a lot of unexpected obstacles. So, it’d say, the right mix is a dose of fortune, one of talent and tons of work and time dedicated to the mission.

About the time passing by… Does it scare you?
Absolutely not, it’s an evolution: as the years go by, you become wiser and you can, from time to time, smile in front of what some time ago seemed insurmountable obstacles. In my case, you become more zen!