At the dawn of its second decade, Aquazzura gets serious about expansion
In 2012 Edgardo Osorio combined his fashion industry acumen with Florentine craftsmanship and designed an appealing and comfortable butter-soft suede high-heeled sandal called the Sexy Thing. Thus Aquazzura, the luxury shoe brand with the pineapple brand motif, was launched. Now Osorio plots the brand's expansion with the latest addition, bags, introduced at a swanky Paris Fashion Week fete in the brand's home away from home, the Hôtel d'Évreux in Place Vendome.
Hours before the event in which Osorio would introduce fashion professionals and glitterati such as Jessica Alba, Poppy Delevingne, a former brand collaborator, and influencer Caroline Daur to the new addition, the Colombian designer sat down with FashionNetwork.com at his Fall/Winter 2023 collection preview to speak about the latest brand extension.
"I always wanted to do a lifestyle brand for me. It made sense to do accessories because it was what I used to design when I was consulting before I opened Aquazzura," Osorio explained, adding, "It felt like a natural step as it was something the clients were asking for."
His business was also poised to do so with 13 flagship stores, several shop-in-shops, and almost 500 wholesale accounts, plus a new Aquazzura jewelry line as of 2020 and Aquazzura Home, which was introduced in 2021.
"It felt like the right time. After ten years, we consolidated our business worldwide, and we can present and showcase it in our own retail stores. We have the right teams to venture out into other categories," he continued.
The Fall/Winter 2023 collection was on display during the day at the preview. The Pre-Fall 2023 collection, launched exclusively at Saks and the flagship stores in February, heavily features two core styles, the 24/7 and the Twist bag, which come in various sizes and colors and what Osorio calls day-to-night styles that can be carried several different ways. "It's a bag that takes you from work to dinner; it's not a party bag, but it will take you to many places," said the designer.
Hardware is highlighted on the bags. The 24/7 features a gold mesh triangle with a leather fringe tassel on the flap. The Twist bag, which comes in several sizes, features a twisted metal bar inspired by 1970s design. "I am obsessed with it; designers like Gabriella Crespi—the softness of the bag combined with a chunky gold bar I find sexy and modern. The bags are not about logos but rather a design that becomes recognizable," he offered.
"You will see these bags during the cocktail, plus some of the novelty styles, such as the Kiss Me Bag, a rhinestone-encrusted pair of lips clutch style," Osorio explained, noting that the day bags are minimalist, and the evening bags are conversation starters. Upcoming will include The Love Me bag, Tequila Clutch, and Noodle bag inspired by Chinese takeout containers. "These are the funnier styles," he noted.
The rest of the bags roll-out on March 7 with a select group of wholesale accounts. "I wanted to launch with some of our key wholesale accounts, so it felt exclusive and the proper way to launch with proper representation," he said, referring to MyTheresa, Net-a-Porter, Brown's Matches, Harrod's, Galeries Lafayette and Lane Crawford among others who are carrying the bags.
The bags retail between €1,000 and €2,000 ($1,060 and $2,121), making Osorio's proposition unique as most designer bags don't retail under €2,000 or $2,121. It uniquely positions the brand to capture part of the global sales of designer handbags and small leather goods, which are forecast to reach $100 million by 2027, according to Euromonitor.
It was also wise to capitalize on the traction of PFW publicity and host a cocktail to kick off the new brand addition. In a nod to the 'Parisian Serveur' who proffers champagne as one enters a party, Osorio had his version of Robert Palmer girls offering the color croc-embossed 24/7 bags on trays. Guests also got an up-close look at the Twist and Kiss Me styles in the 17th century former private mansion.
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