For almost a quarter of a century, Giuseppe Zanotti has mesmerized the worlds of fashion, music and entertainment with his signature mix of Italian allure and contemporary glamour. What began with a collection of perfectly balanced, gorgeously embellished heels has grown into one of the premiere luxury houses, yet, at the center of it all, is Giuseppe's boundless creativity and enduring love affair with footwear. From the red carpet to the runway to the street, his shoes are coveted by women the world over for their modern femininity. One part sensual, one part rock and roll and all parts Giuseppe, his beautifully crafted heels are nothing short of iconic. Here, a look at the House icons.
"Pyramid" Sandal, SS 2013
The "Pyramid" Sandal has its origins in a metallic bodybelt, originally designed for Beyoncé and also worn by Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez (for the cover of her Dance Again album). Featuring the same pyramidal gold embellishments as this statement jewellery piece, the sandal combines bold, graphic power with a delicate, feminine sensibility.
"Cruel" Sandal, SS 2013
THE MIDAS TOUCH
When Kanye West first saw this design in the Giuseppe Zanotti showroom in New York, he fell in love, and asked Zanotti to make an all-white version to match the cover of his upcoming "Cruel Summer" compilation album. The shoe, combining classic elegance with a flamboyant, baroque, gold leaf design on the upper, was destined to become a recurring classic, continually reappearing on the red carpet and in future collections. "It's a very expressive sandal," says Giuseppe Zanotti. "It's hip-hop in a luxury shoe."
"Tattoo" Sandal, FW 2012/13
Named for the way its fringing and leather details create an ornate pattern on the foot, the "Tattoo" Sandal is described by Giuseppe Zanotti as "refined, delicately perforated, cutesy and light." With famous fans including Beyoncé Knowles (who wore a pair for her "Mirrors" video), Penelope Cruz, Elle MacPherson and Anja Rubik – to name just a few– it's a timeless design that exudes sleek elegance.
"Venere" Sandal, FW 2012/13
Sleek and sensuous, the "Venere" Sandal is described by Giuseppe Zanotti as "a fusion between the serpent and the woman's body." It's powerful, it's seductive, but it also retains the timeless elegance that characterizes every Giuseppe Zanotti Design creation, perfectly flattering the foot with its meticulously crafted gold coils. With its intimations of glamour and danger, it was naturally the style of choice for Lady Gaga when it came to celebrate her first perfume– she wore a custom-designed pair for the Fame launch party in 2012.
"Adele" wedge, SS 2012
Inspired by the elegant lines of Verner Panton's classic 1967 "Panton" chair, Giuseppe Zanotti created the rule-breaking form of the "Adele wedge while working with Lady Gaga on designs for her "Born this Way Ball" tour. The challenge, says the designer, was "to reach the perfect balance between suspension and stability, in total absence of the heel". The result? "A shoe that becomes a natural extension of the foot".
"Combat" Sandal, SS 2010
Giuseppe Zanotti's designs often arise from moments of poignant feeling, prompted by particular songs, sounds tastes, or spectacles of exquisite beauty. One such moment lies behind the silhouette of the bohemian "Combat" Sandal. The designer recalls: "One sunset that I see as a movie... In Marrakech, a troupe of photographers and models walk through the Medina. There was this wonderful model with a sandal on her shoulders... I have never forgotten this image."
"Bloc" Sandal, SS 2008
WALKING ON AIR
"Height" and "Transparency" are the key concepts at the heart of Giuseppe Zanotti's classic "Bloc" Sandal design. With its structural open heel, it reinvents a tried-and-tested silhouette, combining the comfort of a wedge with the lightness of a stiletto. It's a blend of ergonomic design and outstanding aesthetic – two factors which prompted Kylie Minogue to wear the style in the video for her 2008 single "All I see".
"Choker" Sandal, SS 2006
THE NEW EVENING
Sometimes you have to suffer for fashion: realizing the delicate, tactile design for the "Choker" Sandal gave Giuseppe Zanotti something of a headache. But the end result was worth it. Between the elegant jeweled strand that drapes naturally over the foot and the super-soft embroidered silk insole, this shoe redefined the idea of an evening shoe when it was first launched. Light, sensual, refined and precious it remains a symbol of tireless design innovation.
"Jimi" Sandal, SS 2005
Music is a vibrant force that runs through every Giuseppe Zanotti Design collection. But it's an inspiration that's particularly strong in the "Jimi" sandal, created in tribute to the exotic, post-hippy stage costumes of Jimi Hendrix. In this colorful, but understated shoe, the psychedelic energy of the 60s is focused in an elegant, jewel-like detail mounted on simple rawhide and covered with colored stones. With its simple, flat sole, it's easy and bohemian – but there's a refinement to the execution that is pure Giuseppe Zanotti.
"Deco" Pump, FW 2004/05
Giuseppe Zanotti is a master of combining different idioms to create genuinely new design propositions – the "Deco" pump is a case in point. He describes the shoe as "the first to find a new balance between two worlds unexplored: rock & roll and evening". It mixes the attitudinal with the elegant, combining tough crocodile embossed leather with a graceful Swarovski jewel on the toe.
"Slim" Sandal, SS 2004
A SIGN OF TASTE
The distinctive fishbone jewel of the "Slim" Sandal was imagined into existence by Giuseppe Zanotti during dinner at the restaurant of the same name. The shoe, which was drawn directly onto the tablecloth in a moment of inspiration, plays with notions of preciousness, turning a discarded object into a piece of jewellery that drapes sensuously over the arch of the foot. Though it made a particularly memorable appearance in Sex and the City, as Samantha Jones' footwear of choice for a nude sushi buffet, it's a truly timeless piece, reimagined by Giuseppe Zanotti season after season in different colors and materials.
"Ring" Sandal, SS 2004
In the 20 years since the foundation of Giuseppe Zanotti Design, the jeweled sandal has become one of the house's unmistakable trademarks. The "Ring" was the first of these designs, adorning the foot with a crystal-encrusted jewel at the toe – since its launch it's been worn by a host of stars including Charlize Theron. More than a mere shoe, it's a manifesto. As Giuseppe Zanotti himself puts it: "The foot needs to be celebrated with jewel. It shouldn't be hidden."