I design flats like I design heels: They must be seductive, beautiful and comfortable.
Being inspired is one thing, but completely knocking off a design is another. There is a big difference.
Up until the 1960s, women would meet designers in their private ateliers, and together they would build a relationship and a wardrobe. Then, all of a sudden, designers disappeared into their own private bubble, and there was no communication.
People want fashion from us, whereas they might buy core styles from other designers.
I got a New York designer to build my dream store here, which is a little bit of Florence in New York. It's like the Duomo on Madison. I got inspired by Santa Maria Novella and all the Renaissance architecture.
Even though my shoes are different from Ferragamo's aesthetic, which is more classic, I learned the importance of fit and quality. We were making shoes like they used to, by hand, and I carried that with me.
I like the idea of sending my Aquazurra girls out with a lucky charm under their feet.
I started doing flats because women would always apologize for wearing them when they met me, as if they had to be in heels when meeting a shoe designer.
There's something special about shoes, they give you a high like nothing else.
What I always say to people is dress from the feet up. If you don't normally wear colour, try some colour on your feet; it's the place, I think you can have fun and update your outfit.
For me, I knew the Christy flat was a beautiful shoe, but I had no idea the incredible trend that would follow – I mean, it's the most copied thing ever!
My retail partners, they are my brand ambassadors. They're the ones who are selling the shoes to women.
America is our biggest market, and I really do believe if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
I wanted to create flats that are as chic as heels – flats you don't have to apologize for.
I have so much fun because I love to meet the women who wear my shoes and meet the clients. That, to me, is the best part – getting to know the faces of the people who actually wear my shoes and getting to have a conversation with them.
I went to department stores, and there was nothing that I really loved. All the shoes were too complicated, too crazy, too ridiculous, too extreme. The platforms were so high; the shoes were so ugly, covered in crystals and feathers and crap. I just thought, 'Maybe somebody wants a beautifully simple, sexy shoe that they can actually walk in.'
We have such a loyal following in London that we decided to open a shop, and I find Albemarle Street extremely charming and special.
For me, it's important that I can talk to my customers all over the world. They can comment on what they like, tell me what fits – we have a daily dialogue. I can also see what she looks like and how she wears my shoes, which is a huge advantage. Thank God for Instagram; it helps me keep connected.
I want to know who my client is. I see her on Instagram, but it's another thing to get to chat with her.
I want to make shoes that a woman can walk in. That's kind of what they're made for.
I got the same industry experience in five years that someone else might have had in 15.
Women dress very much according to their moods, so when you see their shoes, it really shows you the character and what they want to show to the world, and what they are feeling at that time.
We do high heels, and people know us for that, but the idea of wearing a flat from day to night feels special.
I was the first one to say that there could be comfortable, sexy shoes, and it's a big part of our brand.
I still work weekends because I like it; I enjoy it. I just don't care.
It's as if to be interesting, you had to be depressed and messy, but that's complete nonsense.
I love to see a woman in a sexy, strappy sandal no matter what. It just looks beautiful.
I think of my customer as a woman who wants to look beautiful and be able to walk.
For some reason, many designers are in fashion, but they don't love women. I love women, and I follow my clients on Instagram.
I think every celebrity that I love wears my shoes. I'm a particular fan of Julianne Moore, and I adore Jennifer Lawrence. There are so many beautiful women. I love Poppy Delevingne, of course; I even made a collection with her.
I was surrounded by women and all I would hear is of them complaining about their shoes. Back then, 'comfort' was a dirty word in fashion footwear. This was before fur loafers or sneakers. So, I wanted to create a shoe that was like slipping your foot into a glove – something beautiful, feminine, and sexy at the same time.
Shoes are very emotional. For women, they carry the message that you want to give to the world. One day you want to be sexy, or super powerful at your job – you wear a great pump. If you want to be on-the-go and running after your kids – you wear a great flat.
When people take advantage of you and make a business out of it, that's not nice.
Florence is charming, cozy, beautiful, inspiring – it has so many great places to go to and so many unique things to see that you won't find anywhere else!
I want you to be able to go to Aquazzura and find a shoe for every occasion, whether that's a red carpet ball or picking up your kids from school.
I was lucky that I started very young, since I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do. But my father is very conservative, and he never considered fashion to be a real career but something I could pursue as a hobby. He wanted me to be a doctor, and at one point, I thought of becoming a plastic surgeon.
I love art, being so close to the galleries, being by the water – and sunsets from the terrace.
I personally approve all the shoes that go into production, and I have a level of involvement with the factories that other people don't have.
Sometimes you design a shoe, and you think this one is a winner, but you never know when something will be such a crazy phenomenon.
You can wear a beautiful black dress that you've maybe had for years, but if you wear a fun shoe, you can completely change it. Wear something different, something sexy, something strappy, or something with pom poms.
Whenever I went to a wedding or a party, girls kept complaining about their shoes. I love to dance, and I wanted them to have shoes they could keep on all night.