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Giuseppe Zanotti

Music, muses and the best advice he's ever heard, shoe maestro Giuseppe Zanotti talks all things footwear and the future... 

What made you want to become a shoe designer and start your own label?

The process of shoe design has always sparked an innate and instinctive passion for me, though I can't tell you why! Perhaps the fact that I grew up in a region of Italy which is renowned for its manufacturing know-how made the step from passion to reality easier, but I honestly believe such a step would have been an inevitability nonetheless. At the start of my career I would never have imagined myself running my own company as I was aware that my passion and strength was in creating shoes and not in business management.

You used to be a DJ - how important is music to you and your design process?

Music is in my DNA. I spent my youth as a DJ and music has always been a part of my life and my collections. I feel very connected to musicians as their creative process is quite similar to mine. We both convey the same energy and passion through our work.

Music is in my DNA. I spent my youth as a DJ and music has always been a part of my life and my collections.

Did you have a shoe muse growing up?

One of my favourite designers is Thierry Mugler, he inspired me lots at the very beginning of my career. Now I'm currently working with other types of designers: rockstars, singers, movie stars...and each one of them has his/her personal taste and dreams as well, so the story continues.

Who is the Giuseppe Zanotti woman?

If I say there’s a woman who best interprets my style, all the others would hate me, so I'm not going to answer this question, ever. When you design a shoe you need to make sure women feel safe in high, sexy heels. Our goal has always been on fusing safety with beauty - if a woman can dance in a sexy heel it’s the ultimate achievement.

If a woman can dance in a sexy heel it’s the ultimate achievement.

Do you have a particular style or material you love designing with?

If you are a designer you have to love all materials. If you don’t like one of them, you have to mix it with new ideas. You could discover that it becomes surprising and irresistible.

Where do you see the brand in 20 years from now?

The future is now. I don’t know where I will be for the 40th anniversary. If someone tells me "I want the collection for 2023 now," I might need to spend an extra month but I would be able to imagine the future trend evolutions and where we'll be. Maybe there'll be less fashion but products will be more useful for life. We need to take stories and memories from the past and fly to the future every time.

What advice would you give to any young shoe designers?

First of all, it's fundamental to have a clear idea of the kind of woman you want to design for and of the type of product you want to create. Then, a strong, never-ending will which continuously aims at excellent results and quality without compromises. And last but not least, you have to keep on pursuing all of this season by season, year after year, with absolute coherence and passion for what you are creating.

What's the best advice anyone's ever given you?

First: Never give up.
Second: After a storm, the sun always comes out.

Written by Tara Gardner